Credit: Public domain.
South Korea’s labor laws mandate 15 to 25 paid vacation days a year, depending on employee seniority. But a survey conducted by Embrain Public 엠브레인 퍼블릭 from March 3 to 10 found that only 19.4% of eligible workers had used at least 15 days of paid vacation time over the past year - in other words, that 80.6% of South Korean workers could not take all of the legal minimum number of vacation days.
In fact, 41.5% of respondents said they had only used six paid vacation days or fewer over the preceding year. Within this group, commonly cited reasons for being unable to take time off were the burden on fellow workers (28.2%), organizational cultures that discourage taking days off (16.2%), too much work (15.1%) and pressure from supervisors (12.0%).
Employees in positions of comparative weakness in their workplaces, such as those in their 20s (55.1%), irregular workers (61.0%), workers at companies with fewer than five employees (62.1%), entry-level employees (59.0%) and those earning less than KRW 1.5m (USD 1.2k) per month (68.8%), are more likely to take fewer than six vacation days a year.