July 22, 2014 11:01
Male civil servants will be able to take up to three years' paternity leave in a bid to bolster Korea's record-low birthrate.
If both husband and wife work for the government, they will be able to take up to six years' parental leave between them.
The Ministry of Security and Public Administration announced a revision of relevant laws on Monday, which it will submit to the National Assembly during its regular session in September.
So far only women can take childcare leave for up to three years and men just one year, but the policy came under fire for gender discrimination.
But few male civil servants have taken the opportunity, so it remains to be seen whether extending the period will make any difference.
The number of civil servants who applied for childcare leave doubled over the past four years from 20,945 in 2009 to 41,222 in 2013, but they were overwhelmingly women, with men accounting for just 512 or three percent five years ago and 1,798 or five percent last year.
"The new policy aims to help private companies as well as government offices give more of their male staff childcare leaves for a longer period," a ministry official claimed.
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