More Korean company executives asked to work six days a week


A six-day workweek has returned to Korea nearly two decades after workers here began to take the entire weekend off, as more companies have ordered their executives to come to the office on Saturdays to discuss strategies to overcome the recession, according to industry officials, Friday.

Such a trend is expected to put the brakes on the recent dialogue between the government, labor and management over the introduction of a four-day workweek.

HD Hyundai Oilbank decided to ask its executives to start working on Saturdays from July, as the business environment has become more uncertain after a decline in refining margins.

Amid wild fluctuations in international crude oil prices last year, the refiner’s profitability was even worse than its three other competitors, all of which posted over 1 trillion won ($724 million) in annual operating profits.

“We are quite serious these days as refining margins are important for our profits,” an HD Hyundai Oilbank official said.

The HD Hyundai subsidiary’s decision came a few months after Samsung and SK asked their executives earlier this year to work six days a week.

All of Samsung’s affiliates ordered their executives in April to work an extra day either on Saturday or Sunday to step up risk management 추천 amid increasing global economic uncertainties. In February, SK Group also resumed a biweekly executive meeting on Saturday for the first time in 24 years since it adopted a five-day workweek back in 2000.

Their move even affected smaller Korean companies facing deteriorated earnings.

Executives of Samyang Group, a local chemical firm, recently started working on Saturdays twice a month to brace for the industry downturn and geopolitical risks. Some of them reportedly decided to work on Saturdays every week.

SsangYong C&E asked its executives and non-executive employees, who serve as team leaders, to attend business meetings on Saturdays, as the nation’s largest cement firm fell behind Hanil Cement in terms of the first-quarter sales and operating profits.

Seegene founder and CEO Chun Jong-yoon is also said to have asked executives in April to work six days a week, as the diagnostic kit maker made a loss after the government began managing COVID-19 as an endemic.

NongHyup Bank resumed a weekly executive meeting on Sunday for the first time in eight years, becoming the first Korean financial services firm whose executives have returned to a six-day workweek.

LS also reportedly considered asking its executives to work six days a week to tighten discipline, although the proposal was rejected after facing a strong backlash.

POSCO asked its executives to return to a five-day workweek as before, a couple of months after the steelmaker allowed its non-shift employees, 대표하는 who are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours a week, to take a Friday off every two weeks if they have worked at least 80 hours during the previous nine weekdays.

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