Korean salaried workers work 20 hours fewer than 10 years ago, spend extra time alone

2019.08.12 15:38:32

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Notoriously long working hours have significantly eased for Koreans who now work about 20 fewer hours per month compared with 10 years ago, data suggested.

Regular salaried workers in Seoul spent 169.7 hours on average at work per month last year, down 10.5 percent or 19.9 hours from 2008, according to a study by the Hana Institute of Finance on Monday.

They spent an average three hours for leisure and hobby activities a day, up 48 minutes or 24 hours on monthly basis, when compared with 10 years ago.

After-work activities also became diverse, with singles enjoying budget training or beauty care at home or caring pets.

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More than half of the respondents – 62 percent – answered they prefer to spend their free time alone, doubled from a ratio of 35 percent a decade earlier. About 28 percent spent the non-working time with family, 8 percent with friends, 1 percent with colleagues and 1 percent with hobby group members.

Leisure time was spent for personal joy by 32.6 percent, rest by 17.8 percent, stress management by 16.3 percent, better health by 8.3 percent, and personal satisfaction by 8.6 percent.

Watching TV was the dominant favorite pastime, with a ratio of 85 percent, while 54.1 percent named online or mobile engagement in the multiple questionnaire.

The majority of 88.2 percent of workers in Seoul were aware of the 52-hour workweek rule and 56.3 percent happy with the new arrangement. The other 29.3 percent was not happy with the reduced income from shorter work hours.

Statutory workweek hours have been cut to 52 hours from 68 last year. The act has been deferred for selective sectors and worksites employing less than 300.

By Choi Seung-jin and Lee Ha-yeon

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