Possibly the most important working condition, apart from wages, concerns working hours; however, little attention has been paid to this topic in Korea by the government, the general public, firms, or unions. In advanced economies, meanwhile, legislation to reduce working hours was introduced well before national income per capita reached the US$ 20,000 mark and even amidst some dire economic conditions. Moreover, guidelines for working hours were adopted in 1919 as the first of the ILO’s core conventions.1 In Korea, however, social norms and customary practices in support of the long working hours that had been institutionalized during the years of Korea’s industrialization have remained intact, leading to the very loose regulation and management of working hours and to compensation for overtime being based on these loose measurements and calculations (Bae et al., 2011).
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