South Korea has spent 210 trillion won ($181 billion) over the last decade to promote birth, yet fertility rate remains at the world’s bottom and below 1. With the government efforts so far helping little to prevent population cliff, companies have gone their own to encourage employees to start and sustain family.
Posco for one gives female employees to choose a full-year child care leave or two-year program where they only have to spend half-a-day in office. The program can be extended to allow a mother of one child to balance work and family care for maximum four years and up to six years for two children.
Companies are devising support measures for all stage in life cycle that could help resolve the country’s low birthrate such as by providing congratulatory money to employees tying the knot and giving birth and receiving fertility treatment. They are also offering more parental leaves for fathers, expanding childcare facilities, providing scholarships to children, and supporting housing-related funds.
Korea’s leading construction management company HanmiGlobal Co. has added inventive incentives. It gives out 3 million to 5 million won in incentives for third or fourth child birth. Mothers must take full six months off after birth. It pays tuition from kindergarten to university regardless of the number of child.
Fashion company Shinsegae International Inc. with 80 percent of its employees being female offers various schemes that support work-family balance. In 2016, the company introduced an infertile leave, allowing up to six months of absence from work. A 35-year-old employee that entered into leave early this year is 28 weeks into her pregnancy. A total 9 employees applied for the leave and currently four of them successfully got pregnant.
Hyundai Department Store Group promotes fathers as well. An employee that goes on a year parental leave is guaranteed full ordinary wage for three months. Lotte Department Store allows employees to take up to 100 days off to support their children reading for college entry exam.
Experts noted that companies are making their own moves as more efforts are needed to overcome the country’s low birthrate than simply creating jobs.
By Special reporting team
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]