S. Korean gov’t asks Kakao to add scheduled messaging function

2017.09.15 15:07:52 | 2017.09.15 15:08:23

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South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) has requested the country’s leading mobile chat app operator Kakao Corp. to add a scheduled messaging function to Kakao Talk to end out-of-hours messaging from employers blamed for increasing burnout among workers.

According to sources from the MOEL and IT industry Thursday, the employment ministry last week visited Kakao’s headquarters and asked for cooperation from the company to conduct a joint campaign for improving work practices. At the meeting, the two parties were reported to discuss various measures to reduce overtime work caused by out-of-hours messaging to workers.

In particular, MOEL was said to have asked the company to add a scheduled messaging function to its chat app that can delay the delivery of after-hours work messages until the next morning.

In response to MOEL’s request for cooperation, Kakao said it has not decided whether to work with the ministry to revise Kakao Talk features. The company welcomes the call for the so-called “Right to Disconnect”, but creating better work environment that can guarantee private life should not be done by amending Kakao Talk services but through social consensus, the company added.

Kakao has already been providing similar features including notice setting per chat room, keyword notice, blocking friend and disturb mode setting, according the company.

The labor ministry plans to commission a research to a third party next week to study various measures adopted by other countries to regulate after-hours work orders in seeking for measures to prevent out-of-hours messaging from employers through Kakao Talk.

Currently, four bills aimed to ban work-related messaging in off-hours are waiting for review at the National Assembly in Korea.

By Na Hyun-joon and Oh Chan-jong

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