Graduate Students Rest and Recharge Policy Enacted
Graduate Students Rest and Recharge Policy Enacted
  • Reporter Park Eu-gene
  • 승인 2021.10.12 05:22
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▲POSTECH’s Graduate Students Rest and Recharge policy
▲POSTECH’s Graduate Students Rest and Recharge policy


The POSTECH Graduate Students Rest and Recharge policy, enacted on Sept. 6, recommends at least 10 vacation days per year to all graduate students of POSTECH. The policy is the first among South Korean universities to systematically guarantee the right to rest for all graduate students. The vacation days can be freely used as long as disruption of course or experiment schedules is minimized.
Some foreign universities already have vacation policies for graduate students. For example, Caltech guarantees 21 vacation days (including institute holidays). Yet currently, graduate students are not legally guaranteed leave in South Korea since they are not defined as “employees” under the Labor Standards Act but as “students”. Hence, the policy is named “Rest and Recharge Policy” instead of “Leave Policy”. According to a survey of 1330 South Korean students by the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology (PACST) last year, 29% did not have any formal vacation, and 15% were forced to work on holidays.
The POSTECH Graduate Student Association (GSA) has been conducting the Research Environment Survey at the end of each year since 2018, and found that many graduate students are having difficulties due to insufficient rest. The 2020 survey showed that graduate students took leave eight days per year on average. Furthermore, while some students had no limits on vacation days, 7% of students could not rest for even one day the whole year. The GSA had been recommending the introduction of a Rest and Recharge policy to the university.
President Moo Hwan Kim explained the reason for the policy in his letter to school members, “Message from the President” (Sept. 6): “I have expressed numerous times that the paramount principle that POSTECH should follow (...) is to strive for the happiness of our members. What kind of educational and research results can we expect from a campus where its members are unhappy?” In addition, stressing the importance of rest in research performance, President Kim encouraged students to take advantage of the policy to recharge and grow as a researcher. He also asked for the cooperation of professors and staff in establishing the policy.
The Rest and Recharge application can be made on POVIS by referring to the application manual, published on the GSA noticeboard. The policy does not apply to technical research personnel working for military duty exemption. Because the rest policy only applies to research activities, graduate students should still attend classes on their Rest and Recharge day. The 10-day quota is replenished every two semesters from the enacted date (Sept. 6), or every two semesters from the admission date for newly enrolled students. Each day of rest applies to the entire day—half-days off are not allowed. Sick leave or leave for other such inevitable situations does not deduct from the 10-day quota. After using the entire 10-day quota, students applying for additional days should follow lab guidelines or consult with their supervisor in advance.
Rest application statistics will act as a powerful motivator for professors to uphold the minimum 10 day recommendation. As part of the BK21 graduate school innovation project, the statistics may be used in various evaluations. The university will continue to reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of the policy using these statistics. Any further inquiries about the policy can be mailed to the GSA ( or the Team of Student Affairs (