Go to contents

After the Abolition of the One-Hour Wintertime Working Hour Reduction

After the Abolition of the One-Hour Wintertime Working Hour Reduction

Posted November. 02, 2004 23:20,   


In defiance of the Public Service Act, which was implemented as of last Monday, stipulating the abolition of wintertime working hour reduction in public organizations, public servants who are members of the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU), are suspending lunchtime duty that is making service users suffer from serious inconveniences.

Responding to it, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs ordered yesterday that servants, who are in charge of civic affairs, work in shifts or keep their services. If they defy this order, ministry demands that self-governing organizations, with which they are involved, punish them.

However, the KGEU is sticking to its position, saying that since the revision of the Public Service Act increased annual working hours, it will continue the suspension of lunchtime service until working hours return to the previous level.

In the case of Seoul, among a total of 26 organizations including Seoul City Hall, 16 stopped lunchtime service yesterday

At a Jongno-gu office on the same day, after positing notes on information desks saying, “From October 18, according to the Public Service Regulation, we do not work from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.,” servants left the office during lunchtime.

In Gwangju, except Gwangju City Hall and the Nam-gu office, servants in the other four offices did not work during lunchtime.

Reporters visited Dong-gu office, Gwangju, where they met Yang (61), who said, “I came here to get a copy of a family register, an abstract of the census register, a land registration map, and other things. But I have been waiting for about 40 minutes here because there is no one who can take care of me.”

Organizations in which servants stopped working during lunchtime are where working hours have been extended due to the revision of the Public Service Act. As of now, among 250 self-governing organizations throughout the nation, 203 organizations have revised the act. However, all of them have not stopped working during lunchtime.

Article 9 and 10 of the Public Service Regulation, which is subject to presidential decree, stipulate that “lunchtime is from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.” and that the “chief of central administrative organizations may change working days and working hours in consultation with the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs when it is necessary due to the nature of duties and the particularities of regions or organizations.”

Even though self-governing organizations regulate working hours including lunchtime through the Public Service Act, there is little difference from Public Service Regulation.

According to the ministry, among organizations which have not revised the act, 22 plan to do it early this month, and the remaining 25 have no plans for revision.

Because most servants, except the managing staff, of Nam-gu office, Busan had no plans for the extension of working hours left the office, those who visited the office after 5:00 p.m. without knowing its policy suffered inconvenience. Servants of seven self-governing organizations including Yeosu, located in Cheonnam, 12 organizations including Changwon, located in Gyeonnam, and seven organizations including Jecheon, located in Chungbuk, also worked until 5:00 p.m.

The one-hour reduction of wintertime service, which is available from November to February, was introduced in 1959 with the purpose of saving energy to help the economy and helping local servants with long commuting times use public transportation. The reduction was abolished for the improvement of administrative service for civilians in 1982, and it was revived in 1985 for the sake of energy saving.

“We decided to abolish the reduction of wintertime working hours because since, in addition to biweekly Saturday duty-off which was implemented in last July, we plan to start a five-day work week from July of next year, working hours are expected to fall to as low as 35 hours per week,” said sources from the ministry.