5 K-pop agencies request to remove a clause from the new bill passed to protect minors from overworking

NewJeans, one of the minor-aged K-pop group in K-pop (Image via HYBE)

Five K-pop agencies have issued a new statement to alter a specific clause in the recently issued bill approved to protect underaged idols. A new revision was made to the "Pop Culture and Arts Industry Development Act," on April 23, 2023. The new revision was made in hopes of tackling multiple issues in the industry.

While all the changes and rules were fairly agreed upon by companies, five K-pop agencies released a joint statement to remove a particular clause. These five prominent associations have shown their disagreement with the working hours allotted to the idols in the new amendment. Stating the reasons behind their statement, the five agencies shared that underage celebrity work hours can hamper the advancement of the K-pop industry.

The five agencies that asked to remove a particular clause were The Korea Entertainment Producer’s Association, the Korea Entertainment Management Association, the Recording Industry Association of Korea, the Record Label Industry Association of Korea, and the Korea Music Content Association.

Top 5 K-pop agencies claim the new K-pop bill can hinder the Korean pop culture industry

A Twitter user named @asianjunkiecom shared the news on their platform and the tweet had 218 retweets since it was shared on Tuesday.

The "Lee Seung-gi Crisis Prevention Act" was issued as an amendment to the Popular Culture Art Industrial Development Act. The amendment was issued after the payment transparency issue between Lee Seung-gi and Hook Entertainment. According to the new act, companies are liable to showcase the income settlement of their artists to avoid unfair treatment.

While a lot of the major agencies entirely support the clause, some claim that the working hours decided for the artists might hinder the growth of the K-pop industry. In their statement, the aforementioned five companies said that the revision limits the working hours for teenage idols by "subdividing age limits." The statement added that this turns a "blind eye to reality," and that the bill will obstruct the K-pop industry from advancing.

The law previously allowed pop culture artists under the age of 15 to work for a maximum of 35 hours a week. Meanwhile, anyone above 15 can work up to 40 hours until they turn 19.

At the same time, according to the new changes, K-pop idols under the age of 12 are allowed to work 25 hours a week and six hours a day. Artists between the age of 12 and 15 can work up to 30 hours a week and seven hours a day. Finally, idols above the age of 15 can work for 35 hours a week and seven hours a day.

The statement by the five agencies said that the new regulations are "unnecessary." It stated that this would limit the activities of the idol groups that have members of various ages. The statement continued that it would "weaken" the competitiveness of the Korean pop culture industry.

These five agencies have always abided by the time schedule set for idols under 15. However, they said that the new regulations can cause issues. Similarly, they have requested the removal of the age limit clause from the act.

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