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More men in S. Korea taking paternity leave; parental leave payments to increase from 2022 Updated: 2021-03-04 03:59:49 KST

"I built a strong emotional connection with my daughter. That's what I liked best."

This father of a 23-month-old baby says that he was glad to build intimacy with his child during his parental leave from work.
He recommends that other dads take paternity leave too, but acknowledges that it's not always that simple.

"Taking parental leave would mean a career break, and thus a financial hit. It could also lead to reputation loss"

Men in South Korea have long feared stepping out of the office to look after their children.
They worry that it could damage their career opportunities.
But this is now gradually changing as more dads are taking time off for parental leave.

"Since my wife and I both work, there's no one who can take care of the baby. She's too young to go to nursery school, that's why I decided to take a year off."

"The number of men taking child care leave in the private sector last year stood at 27,423, up 23 percent from a year earlier. This figure is more than double the amount seen in 2017."

Out of the 112-thousand people taking parental leave in the private sector last year, men accounted for almost a quarter Meaning one in every four people of them were dads.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor says this was due to more couples wanting to raise their children together and partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic as schools nationwide had to temporarily close and switch to remote learning.

While caring for children is a big challenge for dads some say the costs have been an even greater challenge.

"Money was the hardest part for me. I received about two,200 U.S. dollars for the first three months, which was fine. But for the remaining nine months, I only get 800 dollars"

In response to such calls, plans are underway to raise the parental leave for those with children under 12 months old.
Starting in 2022, both parents will receive up to two,600 dollars for the first three months of their leave.
For the remaining nine months, rather than receiving 50 percent of their pay, they will get 80 percent, up to a maximum of one,300 dollars.
Min Suk-hyen, Arirang News.
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