Research in Brief
Mental Health Promotion Policies on Customer Service Workers in Korea and the Implications of International Organizations’ Guidelines and Selected Countries’ Policies
Kim, Soo Kyoung
Customer service workers experience various mental health issues due to their emotional labor. Since 2018, a law known as the Customer Service Worker Protection Act has been in effect to safeguard these workers. However, policies that are in place for customer service workers, focused exclusively on post-facto interventions such as counseling, have done little to prompt efforts and participation from employers and, with the monitoring of compliance with the Customer Service Worker Protection Act lacking, have been rendered less than effective in promoting workers’ mental health. The guidelines of international organizations emphasize the need for workers’ mental health promotion, the importance of early intervention, and the role of employers in that effort. Advanced countries have in place a collaborative mechanism whereby, when it comes to policies on workplace mental health promotion, the government, labor unions, and employers work together in the whole process, from making to implementing them. They also mandate regular checkups on workers’ stress levels. Therefore, Korea should consider implementing regular mental health checkups, providing workplace visiting health services, strengthening the monitoring of compliance with the Customer Service Worker Protection Law, encouraging tripartite engagement, and facilitating employer participation and efforts.