[Newsmaker] Govt to approve extended work hours amid Japan trade feud

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Jul 22, 2019 - 15:55
  • Updated : Jul 22, 2019 - 16:28

SEJONG -- Extended work hours will be approved for businesses that need hi-tech materials to replace those regulated by Tokyo, as part of efforts to cope with Japan’s stricter trade export control, the government said Monday.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor mapped out a plan to allow work hours longer than the 52 hours a week stipulated by the law to facilitate the process of import substitution of three materials -- fluorinated polyimide, resist and etching gas -- imported from Japan.

“Although damage incurred as a result of Japan’s trade restriction is not a disaster or a catastrophe, it can be perceived as ‘an accident equivalent to social catastrophe,’” said Labor Minister Lee Jae-gap during a press briefing at the Sejong City.

“This (trade curb) requires pan-government action as it has significant impact on our economy, involving property damage,” Lee added.

Labor Minister Lee Jae-gap speaks during a press briefing at the Ministry of Labor and Employment in Sejong on Monday. (Yonhap)

According to Article 53, Clause 4, of the Labor Standards Act, a special extended work hour can be ratified under three circumstances: natural disasters; environmental and social catastrophes; and incidents equivalent to the above mentioned.

Companies with employees in R&D and testing, among other fields, related to finding alternative hi-tech materials, and require working longer-than-legal hours can sign up with the Trade Ministry.

Japan removed Korea from the list of countries that receive preferential treatment in importing three materials used in the production of memory chips and smartphones earlier in the month.

By Kim Bo-gyung (