Get a bang, take a day off – or three

Medical personnel vaccinate a citizen in central Seoul on Thursday. [YONHAP]

Some of the biggest Korean companies, including Samsung and LG, have decided to give employees paid time off when they get their Covid-19 vaccine – up to three days.

Samsung Electronics, Korea’s largest company by market capitalization, announced internally on Wednesday that every employee will be guaranteed paid time off on the day they get vaccinated. If the employee develops side effects as a result of the injection, they can also take paid leave of up to two days without submitting a doctor’s note.

On Tuesday, the company’s union filed a formal demand asking for three days of paid leave for each employee vaccinated. According to the company, discussions for a “vaccination leave” had been underway for about a month.

SK hynix told employees on Wednesday they would get a day off with pay and two more days if they showed symptoms.

LG Group has decided to be a little more generous, guaranteeing two days of paid leave regardless of whether the employee experiences side effects or not.

Compared to traditional conglomerates, IT companies have been even faster to provide staff with inoculation benefits.

On May 5, Naver said all of its 7,500 employees as of July would be entitled to paid leave the day after their vaccination. Gaming company NHN has given staff two days of leave.

The announcements came a month after the government recommended private companies introduce paid leave for those vaccinated.

At the end of March, the government announced it would introduce “vaccine sheets” for anyone reporting side effects. They were to be granted paid leave of up to two days, depending on their conditions. A doctor’s note or medical documents were not required.

In Korea, inoculations started with AstraZeneca vaccines at the end of February. The idea of ​​a “vaccine leave” was raised soon after, as some people complained of difficulty returning to work immediately.

According to a government survey published at the end of March, 32.8% of the 18,000 people vaccinated said they had suffered some inconvenience in their daily life. About 3% had to go to a medical institute due to unexpected side effects.

The most frequently reported side effects were pain at the injection site (28.3 percent), muscle pain (25.4 percent), fatigue (23.8 percent), headache (21.3 percent) percent) and fever (18.1 percent). Several responses were allowed. The possibility of experiencing side effects was higher in young people.

The granting of up to three days of leave was based on the idea that side effects would normally occur within 10 to 12 hours of the injection and go away within two days.

While the leave was compulsory for public sector workers, the government did not make it compulsory for private companies, but suggested they follow suit.

Some lawmakers have proposed bills to make private sector vaccine holidays mandatory and provide financial support to the companies that have proposed it. But according to local reports, the idea is met with opposition from the Ministry of Finance and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, citing excessive costs.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [[email protected]]

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