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Korea to issue housekeeping vouchers for working parents

The government said Monday that it will issue vouchers for housekeeping services to working parents starting in 2019, as part of efforts to ease the burden of child-rearing and housework.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday released a public notice for the new legislation, which envisions the voucher system along with measures to better protect housekeepers and improve housekeeping services. 


The ministry said it plans to encourage companies to adopt the voucher system for their workers through tax incentives.

“We expect it to improve the quality of jobs for women whose careers were disrupted due to childbirth and relieve the burden of homemaking and child-rearing of working women,” said Kim Kyung-seon, an official from the ministry.

The law also stipulates better protection of labor rights for those in the domestic service industry -- including babysitters, caregivers and housekeepers -- by making it mandatory for their employers to offer them social insurance coverage and paid holidays.

Housekeepers in South Korea have been excluded from the minimum social protection stipulated in the Labor Standards Act -- such as minimum wage, paid holidays and severance pay -- because they are hired on a person-to-person contract through recruitment agencies. There have been numerous reports of housekeepers falling victim to underpayment and long work hours.

The government seeks to allow recruitment agencies to directly hire housekeepers and guarantee protection for their employees, it said. It will also give licenses to the service providers through regular assessments.

After a 40-day period, the bill will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting and proposed to the National Assembly. The law is then expected to come into force in 2019.

“When the act comes into force, it will help improve the quality of housekeeping services and protect the labor rights of employees in the housekeeping industry,” the official said.

By Ock Hyun-ju (