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Paternity leave takers jump 53%

From news reports

The number of fathers taking time off work to take care of their children has increased by more than 50 percent in South Korea, which Seoul officials say is a hopeful sign that the country’s rigid work culture is becoming more family friendly.

According to data released by the Labor Ministry on Tuesday, 5,398 male workers took child care leave in the first nine months of this year, up 53.2 percent from the corresponding period in 2015.

In the January-September period, the entire number of child care leave takers grew by 3.8 percent, the ministry’s data showed.

stock image(123rf)

stock image(123rf)
Men now account for 7.9 percent of the total. This represents a 2.3 percentage point increase from a year ago, when they took up 5.4 percent.

“More dads taking out child care leave is a positive development for women’s prospects at workplaces, who often face interruptions in their career due to childbirth and child-raising,” Na Young-don, a ministry official said.

“It, of course, should help change our work culture toward one that is friendlier to families, working moms and dads,” he said.

The increased usage of leave by men is mainly attributable to the introduction of a new measure that entitles dads to paternity leave pay of up to 150 million won ($133,026) a month for the first three months.

To further promote working dads to use the leave, the government plans to raise the ceiling on the pay to 2 million won for those choosing to take the leave for their second or subsequent child, from as early as the second half of next year.