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South Koreans battle for civilised working hours

Published on Feb 13, 2013 2:20 PM

SEOUL (AFP) - A growing number of South Korean corporations are turning their backs on a workaholic culture once seen as indispensable but increasingly viewed as unhealthy, unproductive and inefficient.

Long working hours, often followed by intense late-night drinking sessions with the boss, have long been a feature of the Korea Inc. that transformed a war-ravaged nation into Asia's fourth-biggest economy in a matter of decades.

Rapid development has brought new values and new priorities, with employees demanding a better work-life balance than the previous generations who were told their patriotic duty lay in pulling the country out of poverty.

For more than two decades, Mr Yie Jong-Man, a 53-year-old bank manager in Seoul, could only dream of sitting down at home to a family dinner after work.

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