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South Korea's Ministry Of Employment And Labor Says All Pregnant Workers Can Work Shorter Hours Daily

By March 25, 2016 at 10:30 pm
South Korea’s Ministry Of Employment and Labor says all pregnant workers can work shorter hours daily. (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images Korea)

South Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labor said Thursday the plan to reduce the working hours of pregnant women workers previously applied to firms with over 300 employees, will cover all business starting Friday. Thus, all pregnant workers who are within their first 12 weeks or beyond the 36th week of pregnancy can reduce their working hours daily by two hours sans pay reduction, reported The Chosun Ilbo.

Those who are pregnant can avail the privilege in many ways. They either can go home from work two hours earlier, go to work two hours later or even add two hours to their daily break time.

South Korea's pregnant workers need to submit a medical certificate that indicates the period of pregnancy, the time they want to report or leave work and the period of the availment of the reduced working hours to their employer at least three days before they plan to start with their revised schedule.

If the employers do not grant the pregnant workers the reduced working hours, they will be fined up to 5 million, or about $4,200. A ministry official also said: "Those who cut employees' salaries for working fewer hours during pregnancy could be subject to criminal penalties."

South Korea's labor laws likewise forbid employers to require pregnant workers work night shifts. Late last year, The Korea Herald featured workplace bullying in the country, disclosing workplace harassment that gets more rampant, cruel and complex. The Korea Women's Development Institute reported to the National Assembly last year that 16.5 percent of 4,589 surveyed workers said they have experienced workplace harassment once in their lives.

One of the most high-profile harassment in the workplace in Korea is the "nut rage" incident when former Korean Air VP Cho Hyun Ah ordered one of the airline's crew to disembark and the departing jet to return to the John F. Kenney International Airport terminal gate after being dissatisfied with the way she was served nuts in the plane.

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