WSJ.com – More Play, Less Toil Is a Stressful Shift For Some Koreans
Her husband’s employer just started giving him two Saturdays off a month. The 36-year-old wrestling teacher’s new schedule, though, means Ms. Jun has to spend more of her time cooking and doing extra housework. Plus, she grumbles, after staying out late with his buddies on Friday nights, her husband sleeps a lot on Saturdays — cramping their two children’s indoor playtime.
“Home is supposed to be women’s space and I don’t like it when he spends more time in my space,” says Ms. Jun, also 36. “It’s like an invasion.”
Ms. Jun isn’t the only one here with weekend woes. South Korea began phasing in the five-day workweek two years ago. And even though they are paid the same wages to work fewer hours, many Koreans are still unsettled by the prospect of having more free time.
To help ease the free-time burden, the Korea Culture & Tourism Policy Institute is making available yeoga kwallisa, or leisure counselors, “to teach people to seize their time,” says Yoon So Young, a chief researcher at the institute. “It is something that needs to be learned.”
The five-day workweek is spreading across Asia as many countries grow more prosperous, allowing them to pay more attention to social development