SMEs pick labor hour reform as National Assembly’s priority

2024.05.14 09:13:02 | 2024.05.14 09:13:27

[Courtesy of The Korea Federation of SMEs]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of The Korea Federation of SMEs]



South Korea’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector identified “improvement of labor hour regulations” as the top legislative priority for the upcoming session of the National Assembly. This means flexibility in implementing the 52-hour workweek system is key to assisting struggling enterprises. There were also calls to address the controversy of the Serious Accident Punishment Act that is currently under constitutional review.

The Korea Federation of SMEs held a symposium, titled “Expectations for the 22nd National Assembly,” on Monday to convey these results to lawmakers. The event, held at the SME Center in Yeouido, Seoul, marked the beginning of Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Week, which is celebrating its 36th edition in 2024, and its purpose was to deliberate key legislative agendas vital for SMEs to be addressed in the 22nd National Assembly.

During the symposium, results from a survey conducted among 660 SMEs regarding legislative priorities were revealed. Among the respondents, 38.9 percent identified “improvement of labor hour regulations such as flexibility in implementing the 52-hour workweek” as the most pressing legislative issue.

This was followed by calls for enhancements in the penalty system and clarification of obligations under the Serious Accident Punishment Act (18.3 percent), expansion of cooperative finance between SMEs and banks (12.9 percent), and reinforcement of support for SME globalization (12.7 percent).

“With 7.71 million SMEs currently facing challenges such as high interest rates, sluggish growth, and domestic market downturns, labor reform is paramount to resolving these issues,” according to Choo Moon-gap, head of the economic policy division of the Korea Federation of SMEs.

By Yang Yeon-ho and Minu Kim

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