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Pharma sector embraces work-life balance
  • By So Jae-hyeon
  • Published 2018.04.19 14:25
  • Updated 2018.04.19 14:25
  • comments 0

Some companies in the pharmaceutical industry are changing their corporate culture to help employees balance work with personal life.

Samjin Pharm CEO Lee Sung-woo recently spoked to all employees that the company would not force them to work for extra hours. Extra work included “hoesik,” or after-work drinking session, hiking, and traveling, but voluntary club activities within the company would continue, Lee reportedly said.

Some of Samjin employees welcomed the company’s move, saying they could allocate more time to their families and they did not have to make excuses to avoid hoesik.

However, others complained that banning hoesik was an excessive restriction because they have been enjoying the drinking with coworkers. One department under Samjin canceled a night out after Lee’s announcement.

Samjin is not the only company promoting work-life balance.

Dong-A Socio Holdings decided to give 132 days off to employees in 2018, as the first step to separate work from personal life. Workers at Dong-A Socio will be able to enjoy consecutive holidays if a weekday is sandwiched between two holidays. For the first time since foundation, the company has adopted an eight-day winter holiday.

The company also introduced “Family & Casual Day,” allowing workers to leave early and dress casually.

At Hanwha Pharma, employees leave office at 3 p.m. on every third Friday.

The “Happy Friday” is given to every worker, regardless of division and position. The drugmaker allows a year-end holiday, a nine-day summer vacation, a sandwiched day off between holidays, and additional holidays to the national holidays.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical, Huons, and GC Pharma operate in-house daycare centers to share the burden of childcare with employees.

Biotech firm Medipost has a flexible work hour system, shorter work hours for pregnant employees and working moms, and seven-days to two-months sabbatical leave given to those with more than five consecutive years of work at the company.

However, some other pharmaceutical firms still force intensive work.

A drug company should get to the headquarters by 7 a.m. for meetings, and another has a policy of leaving office on time, but workers turn off the lights for a moment and back on to continue to work.

“I hear some news reports that work-life balance policies are being introduced. But there are only a few companies that brought actual change in reality. At pharmaceutical firms, employees’ time is taken for weekend work, night duty, hoesik, and marketing dinner,” said a salesperson at a drugmaker. “Whatever the result, I’m envious of Samjin Pharm’s policy on work-life balance. I hope other firms can have similar policies to allow appropriate rest and personal life.”


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