Starting in July, the maximum parental leave subsidy for a second child will rise to 2 million won ($1,753) a month for the first three months, the Welfare Ministry said Sunday.
In November 2014, the government started to provide a 1.5 million won monthly financial incentive when a second parent takes parental leave to care for their second child. The move was an effort to encourage more fathers to participate in child care and help couples to have a second child.
The government will raise the amount to 2 million won per month, which is about 70 percent of the monthly average income of employees in Korea, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Employment and Labor.
The maximum financial aid for those taking time off to care for the first child, however, will remain the same, at a maximum of 1.5 million won per month, which accounts for some 40 percent of the monthly average income.
The total number of fathers who are currently on paid parental leave reached 2,129 in the first quarter, increasing by 54.2 percent from 1,381 a year earlier. Of the total 20,935 parents on parental leave, fathers accounted for 10.2 percent as of the end of March, exceeding the 10 percent level for the first time in history.
Both fathers and mothers, who have worked at a company for a year or longer and have children aged under 9, are eligible for up to a year of paid time off. The first parent to use the leave receives up to 40 percent of their monthly income, which is capped at 1 million won. The second parent receives the higher amount given above.
In 2016, parents who were on leave received a monthly average of 696,000 won from the government.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org