Korea to shorten working hours for pregnant women

PHOTO: Korea to shorten working hours for pregnant women

SEOUL - The South Korean government will shorten working hours for women in their early and late stages of pregnancy, according to the Labor Ministry on Monday.

The changes to the labour laws will cut two hours from the workday for women who are less than 12 weeks or over 36 weeks pregnant, according to the Ministry of Employment and Labor. The changes come as a preventative measure, as women in their first trimester are more likely to miscarry and the chances of premature birth increase after the 36th week of pregnancy.

The changes are set to take effect on Sept. 25 in businesses with over 300 employees, and then expanded to smaller companies starting March 2016.

According to the proposed changes, the employer must allow the two-hour cut at the employee's request without a reduction in pay. Violators of the law will be fined up to 5 million won (US$4,620).