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Ministry of Employment and Labor’s Compliance Check Regarding Rest Facilities

2022.09.20

Special Inspection From August 18, 2022 to Focus on Businesses with 50 or More Employees
 

Background
 

There has been a continuing societal concern with rest facilities, as highlighted by news media coverage over problems relating to inadequate rest facilities (e.g., 2019 fatality case occurring in a resting room on a college campus and the lack of adequate rest facilities at construction sites and in the distribution industry leading to the use of inappropriate spaces, such as stairs or restrooms, as rest areas).

In response to such concern, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the “OSHA”) was amended on August 17, 2021, to make the obligation to establish rest facilities a duty under the OSHA and to  introduce penalties for non-compliance.  The amended OSHA went into effect on August 18, 2022, following a one-year grace period in light of the time needed by businesses to prepare the rest facilities.

Please note that the Ministry of Employment and Labor (the “MOEL”) has prepared a written guide (the “Rest Facilities Guide”) interpreting the key requirements for the rest facilities under the amended OSHA.  The Korean version of the same can be found using the following hyperlink: (link)
 

Special Guidance Period in Effect until October 2022
 

The MOEL has announced that it will engage in a “special guidance period” from August to October 2022, and mentioned plans for checking compliance with respect to the installation and implementation of rest facilities.  The MOEL’s special guidance will focus on construction sites with substandard rest facilities and industries with job categories exposed to relevant risk factors, such as cleaning and security.
 

Overview of the Key Regulatory Requirements
 

The following table provides key details set forth in the OSHA and the Rest Facilities Guideline concerning (i) businesses subject to the obligation to install rest facilities, (ii) required facilities and (iii) consequence of non-compliance.

Item Details Remark
1. Businesses subject to the obligation to install rest facilities
  • All business places
Equally applicable to business place with only office workers 

If a recess period cannot be enjoyed separate from work, an employer must provide for a separate rest facility
     Effective date: 
     From August 18, 2022
  • Business place with 50 or more employees (including subcontracted workers)
     
  • Business place with a construction project having project value of KRW 5 billion or more 
 
     Effective date: 
     From August 18, 2023
  • Business place with 20 or more employees (including subcontracted workers)
     
  • Business place with construction project having project value of KRW 2 billion or more 
     
  • Business place with 10 or more and fewer than 20 employees, where there are at least two employees exposed to relevant risk factors (seven types) 
A grace period of one year is be granted for small businesses

Employee categories exposed to risk factors (seven types):
(1) telephone counselor, (2) caregiver, (3) telemarketer, (4) delivery person, (5) cleaner and street cleaner, (6) apartment security guard, and (7) building security guard
2. Administrative fines
  • Failure to install rest facilities: Administrative fine not exceeding KRW 15 million
     
  • Failure to comply with the standards for installation and management of rest facilities: Administrative fine not exceeding KRW 10 million
 
3. Standards for installation and management of rest facilities
  • Standards set forth in Article 194-2 and Annex 21-2 of the Enforcement Rule of the OSHA
 
     1) Size
  • Area of at least 6 m2 and height of at least 2.1 m
     
  • In light of the rest period, gender of the worker, or the maximum number of persons that can be accommodated, businesses may create a rest facility larger than the minimum size upon consultation with the employee representative
Not applicable if the total area used exclusively by the business place is smaller than 300 m2
     2) Location
  • Rest facilities shall be installed in a place that is convenient and close to the workers
     
  • Hazardous places that have risk of fire and explosion, or places that cause dust or noise or handle hazardous substances shall be isolated from rest facilities
 
     3) Temperature, humidity, lighting and environment
  • Maintain temperatures between 18-28°C (must be equipped with air-conditioning and heating facilities)
     
  • Maintain appropriate humidity levels (50-55%) and lighting levels (100-200 Lux), and ventilation must be provided
Not applicable if it is difficult to install indoor rest facilities (such as at construction sites)
     4) Fixtures and equipment, etc.
  • Provision of chairs and drinking water (or equipment that provides such functions)
     
  • Attachment of a sign indicating rest facilities
     
  • Designation of a person in charge of rest facilities
     
  • Prohibition of use of resting facilities for other purposes 
     5) Joint installation
  • Two or more business places may jointly establish a rest facility
The area of a joint rest facility shall not be less than the minimum area multiplied by the number of places of businesses

 

Relevant Considerations
 

  • What happens if the MOEL detects non-compliance during the special guidance period taking place between August and October 2022?
    - Businesses will be required to submit improvement plan and will be given cure period during which they can install rest facilities 
    - After the end of the special guidance period, the MOEL will promptly impose administrative fines and issue corrective orders for non-compliance

  • What perspective should businesses adopt when addressing compliance in relation to rest facilities?
    - Strict compliance with the regulatory requirements of the OSHA is necessary but not sufficient condition
    - Businesses should seek to pay attention on fulfilling workers’ rights to health and rest and addressing their physical fatigue and mental stress

  • What actions can businesses take during the special guidance period?
    - In light of the more robust enforcement standards that will be put into place after the end of the special guidance period in October 2022, businesses should consider proactively conducting compliance checks regarding rest facilities and carry out remediation measures as applicable


[Korean version]

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