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More men taking parental leave than ever before

(123rf)
(123rf)

The number of dads taking child care leave from work exceeded 20,000 for the first time last year, according to the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Wednesday.

The number of men working in the private sector who took parental leave last year was 22,297, up 26.2 percent from the previous year. This is the first time that the tally surpassed the 20,000 mark. Men accounted for 21.2 percent of all parents taking child care leave, with this figure exceeding 20 percent for the first time. 

Civil servants and teachers, who are not covered by employment insurance, were excluded from the government data on parental leave.

According to the data, employees of large businesses with more than 300 workers were more likely to take paternity leave. A total of 12,503 men who took paternity leave last year, or 56.1 percent, worked for large companies.

However, smaller companies saw faster growth in the number of men choosing to take paternity leave.

Paternity leave at companies with more than 300 employees increased by 19.1 percent from the previous year, whereas at companies with less than 300 workers the rate surged by 36.6 percent.

At companies with fewer than 10 employees, the number of men taking parental leave grew 47.5 percent.

“Men’s use of parental leave is spreading rapidly in small-scale workplaces. The proportion of male parental leave in SMEs will continue to increase,” the ministry said.

The total number of parents who took parental leave increased to 105,165 last year from 99,198 in 2018, a 6.0 percent jump.

One factor that has encouraged fathers to use their parental leave is a so-called “fathers’ parental leave bonus,” a policy in which the second person to take parental leave for the same child -- usually the father -- is paid 100 percent of his normal wages for the first three months.

Last year 9,796 workers made use of this policy, up 48.2 percent from the previous year.

Starting next month, both parents will be able to use their parental leave at the same time to take care of one child together, and will also be able to reduce their working hours at the same time to care for one child.

Within the first half of the year, the government is planning to increase the parental leave allowance for single parents raising children alone.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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