(Bloomberg) -- South Korea is looking to allow a day off on Monday if holidays for Christmas or Buddha’s birthday fall on a weekend, in a bid to boost the economy and give people more time off in the country where workers log some of the longest hours in the developed world.

The proposal announced Wednesday comes after President Yoon Suk Yeol’s government appeared to back down from a plan to raise the cap on the maximum number of hours in the workweek to 69 after facing complaints the move goes against global trends to reduce hours and could damage a healthy work-life balance.

Read: South Korea Rethinks 69-Hour Workweek After Ire of ‘MZ’ Youth

The Dec. 25 holiday for Christmas and Buddha’s birthday, which depends on the lunar calendar and falls on Saturday, May 27 this year, are already national holidays in South Korea and the move would ensure a weekday off if the holidays fall on the weekend. With the two days included as days off, South Korea has 16 national holidays, more than the 10 celebrated in the US.

South Korea is already the most overworked country in Asia with employees logging an average of 1,915 hours in 2021. This is 199 hours more than the average among members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and about 33% more than in Germany.

While South Korea has been examining work hours, countries including Australia and the UK are considering a four-day workweek aimed at giving workers more time away from the office.


©2023 Bloomberg L.P.