The Federation of Korean Industries, a big business lobby, said in a statement that it welcomed the decision to grant Lee parole. "If the investment clock, currently at standstill, is not wound up quickly, we could lag behind global companies such as Intel and TSMC and lose the Korean economy's bread and butter at a moment's notice."
Lee still needs the Justice Minister to approve his return to work as the law bars persons with certain convictions from working for companies related to those convictions for five years.
He is likely to get that, legal experts say, due to circumstances such as the amount deemed embezzled having been repaid.
Samsung Electronics declined to comment.
South Korea's biggest conglomerates are still owned and controlled by their founding families and there is little precedence for handing over the reins to outsiders even when a senior family member has been jailed.
While polls showed high public support of around 70% for Lee's parole, many civic groups have been opposed, accusing the administration of President Moon Jae-In of hypocrisy after it came to power on a wave of anger at corruption among South Korea's political and business elite.
"If the administration that benefited grants preferential parole for a chaebol owner, we must reconsider the very existence of the Moon Jae-in administration," said Kim Ju-ho, official at activist group People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, using the local term for large family-owned businesses.
Lee's legal woes have not been confined to the bribery conviction. He is also on trial accused of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation connected to a 2015 merger of two Samsung companies.
A South Korean court also decided in June that he should be tried in separate case in which he has been accused of unlawfully using a sedative.
Lee has denied the accusations in both cases.