The Cabinet approved a proposal Tuesday to designate Oct. 2 as a one-off holiday to bridge the weekend and long Chuseok holiday so as to make it possible for workers to take 10 consecutive days off.
The designation would link the Sept. 30 weekend to the three-day Chuseok holiday, and then to the Oct. 6 alternative holiday for National Foundation Day and up to the Oct. 9 holiday commemorating the invention of the Korean writing system Hangeul.
Rep. Kim Jin-pyo, head of a presidential advisory panel, said in July that the government was considering designating Oct. 2 a temporary holiday to give workers a long break. On Wednesday, the chief of the ruling Democratic Party, Rep. Choo Mi-ae, also asked the government to make the designation.
President Moon Jae-in has stressed the importance of rest, and urged people to use up all of their vacation days in a hard-working nation known for long working hours and short vacations. Moon himself has already taken some days off to set an example, unlike his predecessor who usually took summer vacations only.
Moon said the long break will help boost domestic demand and spur the economy.
"If Oct. 2 is designated a temporary holiday, people will be able to spend an unprecedentedly long 10-day holiday, including Chuseok," he said during the Cabinet meeting. "We have to make sure that it will serve as a time for rest and comfort as well as an opportunity to boost domestic demand and energize the economy."
Moon said it "may sound laidback to talk about a temporary holiday in this grave security situation" in the wake of North Korea's sixth nuclear test. Still, he said it's important to make the designation early to give people more time to plan on how to spend the holiday.
He also instructed the Cabinet to put together measures to minimize any negative effects, expressing concern that small business owners may have difficulty making payments, and financial aid for disaster-hit regions could be delayed due to the long holiday.