South Korea

The Korean government recently approved a bill expanding the substitute public holiday system (which substitutes a holiday falling on a weekend to the next workday following the weekend) to all holidays that fall on weekends. This change will provide employees with four additional days of substituted holidays in 2021 and additional days off each year.

The bill is expected to enter into effect in July 2021.


The new bill amends the Substitute Holiday Act which previously allowed only three public holidays (Lunar New Year, Chuseok and Children’s Day) to substitute the holidays that fall on a weekend with the next working weekday. 

The change aims to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and increase employees’ overall well-being and productivity.  

Key details

The bill applies only to employers with five employees or more. In 2021, the four national holidays that can be substituted on the next working day when they fall on a weekend are:

  • Korea National Liberation Day
  • National Foundation Day
  • Hangeul Day
  • Christmas Day

Next steps

Employers should monitor the implementation timeline of the bill and comply accordingly.