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Seoul to Prohibit Public Workers from Sending After Work Requests Through Mobile Apps

by YuGee / Oct 28, 2016 06:57 AM EDT
A woman uses the Kakao Corp. messaging app KakaoTalk on a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S4 smartphone in this arranged photograph taken in Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. Kakao is South Korea's biggest mobile messenger operator. Photograp

On Thursday, 15 Seoul City Council members are moving to prohibit city workers from sending work requests through mobile messenger apps after office hours, the Korea Herald reported.

A Seoul City Council member, Kim Gwang Su, stated that they proposed an amendment to the Ordinance of Seoul City Public Servants bill last week. Kim said, "Although public servants need to serve citizens 24/7, their fundamental rights to rest are often ignored due to excessive workload. The Seoul mayor should protect public servants and try not to disregard their constitutional rights to privacy and freedom."

The report also stated that once the amendment is approved, it will new rules such as "The Seoul Mayor should protect public servants' rights to rest and ban public officials from ordering work through phone calls, text messages, social networking services, and other communication channels after office hours."

In September, the results of the survey conducted among Seoul City public servants showed that getting work-related requests via Kakao Talk after office hours is one of the major office-related issues of the employees. South Korea has one of the longest work weeks of all the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries.

An official of Seoul city told the Korea Herald, "Although it depends on the character of the manager, many public servants here are stressed about receiving work at night or during the weekend. That is why I welcome systemically prohibiting ordering work during off-duty hours."

However, some expressed their worry that the proposed revision might "become a nuisance" to the performance of the city officials especially when they need to respond quickly to an urgent matter.

Shin Kyung Min, a Minjoo Party of Korea lawmaker, proposed in June to have a revision to the existing Labor Standard Act. He suggested banning ordering work via text messages and other possible communication channels. The proposition is still pending at the National Assembly. 

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