Korea’s Occupational Safety and Health Act Amendments for 2018 (OSHA Korea Updates)

Because of the perceived need, in Korea, to protect workers’ emotional and physical health in the service sector, the Occupational Safety & Health Act of Korea (“OSHA Korea”) was amended.  The major OSHA Korea amendments impose a:

  1. Duty on Employers to Protect the Emotional & Physical Health of Employees 
    The OSHA Korea Amendment mandates employers, in the service sector, to protect the emotional and physical health of employees from abusive acts of customers.  We do not, yet, have substantial details on the actions needed to be taken by employers to meet these legal obligations.  Enforcement actions against employees and an enforcement decree shall shed light on the specifics and we shall update the reader when more is known.We advise that employers in the service sector review policies in place in order for employers to not run afoul of the new OSHA law.  It seems like a proactive approach that includes counseling and reporting protocols for alleged abusive customers should assist in meeting the burden imposed by the law.
  2. Duty on Employers to Provide Adequate Relief for Health Issues caused by Abusive Behavior by Customers
    The OSHA Korean Amendment mandates that adequate measures must be taken for workers in the service industry that suffer physical or mental damage by the actions of customers.  Failure to adopt appropriate measures may lead to an administrative fine of up to KRW 10,000,000 per occurrence.

    We advise employers in the service and other sectors to review policies related to temporary leave and reassignment of workers in order to not run afoul of the law.

    Under the new administration in Korea numerous changes have occurred in Korean Labor & Employment Law.  We recommend, because of these changes, an audit by a proactive labor professional of your employment rules and practices.

    Sean Hayes

    Known for his street-smart advice & proactive advocacy. Sean works with senior retired Korean judges and leading attorneys in contentious and transactional matters. First non-Korean lawyer (NY) to work at Korean Courts and one of the first non-Korean law professors. Rated a top lawyer in Korea by major rating agencies.

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