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President Kim ``Five-Day Working Week Is Necessary``

Posted July. 25, 2001 19:26,   


President Kim Dae-Jung said yesterday, ``Since the five-day working week will be helpful to boost the economy by enhancing not only the quality of life but also productivity, it is a necessary system. A reasonable conclusion, which both labor circle and the management group agree, should be made.``

In the weekly Cabinet meeting, President Kim ordered the prompt implementation of a five-day working week through the discussions between the labor circle and the management group, saying that ``China introduced the shorter workweek on a trial basis in 1994 before expanding it to the government officials in 1995, and finally expanded it to the nationwide, as a result of being encouraged by its success.``

President Kim also said that ``if we take international standards as our guide, a consensus between the labor circle and the management group would not be difficult to reach. Since too many holidays may weaken the nation`s competitiveness, the labor-management committee will install the system according to the international standard.``

In relation to this, a high-ranking official in Cheong Wa Dae said, ``Most countries do not have annual vacation or monthly vacation, to which the cumulative system is applied in accordance with the work term. If the system of a five-day working week is introduced, it is unavoidable to adjust the annual-monthly vacation system.``

Kim Man-Jae, chairperson of the policy-making committee of the Grand National Party, said that ``the introduction of a five-week working week will produce negative side-effects if the government does not consider the burdens, which will be imposed on the small-and medium-sized companies due to the system of a five-day working week.`` ``It is desirable to begin the system gradually first with the government organizations and conglomerates,`` said Kim.

Yun Seung-Mo ysmo@donga.com