More than half of working parents are considering giving up their work due to child care issues amid the coronavirus epidemic, a survey showed Tuesday.
According to a survey of 283 workers in dual-income families conducted by the office of Rep. Jang Chul-min of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, 50.5 percent of respondents said they have considered hanging it up to provide care for their children and supervise online learning in the absence of alternative options.
As the virus outbreak continues, with a second wave of infections hitting the country in the past weeks, day care centers, schools and private care institutes were forced to stay closed and turn to remote learning.
The same survey also found that the parents were struggling to use special family care leave they are entitled to by law. Nearly 84 percent of respondents said they found it difficult to take family care leave days in reality, while close to 70 percent said using any ordinary leave was difficult in general.
The National Assembly earlier this month voted to extend family care leave days from the current 10 days per year to up to 25 days in case of national emergency. The legislative revision that took effect immediately was aimed at allowing working parents extra leave days to accommodate child care issues.
Days off exceeding the initial 10 days are unpaid.
According to the Labor Ministry, a total of 118,891 people have received state allowance of 50,000 per day given to family care leave takers until late August. Of them, 40 percent had used up all 10 days during the virus outbreak. Another 15.7 percent had spent between six and nine days.
Asked what is most needed to relieve their child care burden, respondents chose remote working and flexible working hours (40.6 percent), followed by expanded financial support for the use of family care leave (19 percent), reopening of child care facilities (16 percent) and the extension of family care leave days (11 percent).
“It is important for a workplace culture to be formed that supports workers to use their leave days when required to provide emergency care for their children,” Jang said.
“Working parents with children should be supported with flexible work hours and work-at-home options for them to safely pursue both work and child care.”
By Ko Jun-tae (email@example.com