South Korean Pregnant Workers To Get Shorter Hours with Pay

John Kim, March 25, 2016, 7:50 a.m.

All female workers who are within the first 12 weeks or beyond the 36th week of their pregnancies can reduce their working hours by two hours a day with no reduction in pay. The Ministry of Employment and Labor on Thursday said the plan, which previously applied only to companies with more than 300 employees, will be expanded to cover all businesses starting Friday.

Pregnant workers can reduce working hours in various ways. They can go to work two hours later, leave work two hours earlier or add two hours to their break time each day. To receive the benefit, workers must submit a medical certificate confirming the period of pregnancy, the time they want to arrive at or leave work, and the period of reduced working hours, to their employer at least three days prior to the date on which they plan to begin the revised schedule. 

Employers who refuse to grant the reduction in working hours will face a fine of up to W5 million (US$1=W1,170). "Those who cut employees' salaries for working fewer hours during pregnancy could be subject to criminal penalties," a ministry official said. 

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