The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced three steps to balance work and life as part of efforts to encourage SMG officials to take maternity leave and a parental leave.
They are designed to ease roadblocks SMG officials hit, hesitating to take such time off work. SMG aims to spread awareness of the maturity leave and parental leave programs.
SMG plans to spearhead such a campaign among SMG officials from June, and counterparts from SMG-invested entities form September.
SMG said, “A low-birth rate issue cannot be solved unless the environment hindering a work-life balance is improved, so SMG has come out with three steps to balance work and life from June to help moms and dads use their maternity and paternity rights without hesitation.”
SMG has made it mandatory for officials to take a 10-day leave for their spouse’s birth of a baby.
Secondly, SMG will create an environment in which officials can take maternity leave and parental leave freely without interference.
Officials will be encouraged to have their working hours shorted for a period once per year so they can rear their baby.
SMG launched the initiative on June 1. Entities, invested by GMG, will follow suit from Sept. 1 and the program will be spread to the private sector to encourage it to follow SMG’s initiative.
It is the first time in Korea that SMG has made it mandatory for officials to take a 10-day leave for their spouse’s birth of a baby.
Employers are required to allow SMG officials to take a 10-day leave for their spouse’ birth of a baby regardless of application, a step to spur men’s participation in rearing babies.
The Gender Equal Employment Act stipulates that employers are required to grant a 10-day leave if employees apply within 90 days from their spouse’ birth of a baby.
It was 2008 that a three-day unpaid leave was introduced for their spouse’s birth of a baby.
In 2013, the benefit changed to a five-day leave — a three-day paid leave and a two-day unpaid leave. It was expanded 10 days of paid leave in 2019.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor has financed at least five days of paid leave to ease employers’ burden.
SMG said, “Despite these policy extensions, employees find it not easy to get the most out of the 10-day leave policy, and if SME employees do not apply, employers are required to automatically grand holidays equivalent to a leave for their spouse’s birth of a baby within the given period.”
Secondly, SMG will spearhead efforts to create an environment in which officials can take parental leave freely and with no worry over disadvantages.
Employers recommend the use of parental leave on paper and on a regular basis and monitor personnel disadvantages related to parental leaves.
An educational program is offered for employees’ rehabilitating their work after they take a parental leave.
Third, employers are asked to recommend on paper that moms and dads whose children are aged less than 8 have their working hours shortened.
SMG plans to make the three steps boost the guaranteed regimes and continue to explore new regimes to balance work and life.
An image of a campaign in which the Seoul Metropolitan government encourages SMG officials to take maternity leave and a parental leave as part of efforts to balance work and life.
The metropolitan government plans to set “Seoul-style” standards to balance work and life by combining related laws and regulations that have been diverged in the second half of this year.
SMG will offer free consulting services to companies wanting to join its initiative of balancing work and life.
Kim Sun-soon, head of Women & Family Policy Affairs Office at SMG said, “One of the underlying solutions to overcome a low-birth rate is improving office work culture and SMG has come up with the three package steps to solve grievances and complaint working couples experience.”
SMG and its investment entities will take the lead to introduce the steps and SMG will do its utmost to spread the initiative to the private sector a balance of work and life can take root in the Korean society, she said.
SMG Launches ‘Seoul-Type Housekeeping Service’ for Low-Income Pregnant Women
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it was launching a “Seoul-type housekeeping service targeting pregnant women and working couples with several children.
About 1,300 low-income families will benefit from the housekeeping service.
Hong Woo-jung, head of the Seoul City Family Center said the center has improved access to citizens’ information toward SMG’s family policies and it will make efforts to provide diverse information through the portal site “Family Seoul” down the road.