April 22, 2016 12:42
Some 68 percent of working mothers are willing to hire foreign housekeepers as long as they can speak some Korean, a survey suggests.
Prof. Mo Jong-ryn at Yonsei University asked 500 working mothers in Seoul late last year whether they would hire full-time foreign housekeepers who speak Korean at a relatively low W700,000 a month (US$1=W1,144). Some 67.8 percent said yes.
Some 40.6 percent said they would hire them even if they could not speak Korean.
It is currently illegal to employ foreign domestic staff. Foreign workers are only allowed in the manufacturing, construction and farming industries but not in the service sector, except ethnic Koreans from China.
But there is growing consensus that the lifting the ban would free up mothers for work and boost Korea's record-low birthrate.
Mo said the reason why the economically active female population in Korea is at 58.2 percent much lower than the economically-active male population of 78.8 percent, and behind the OECD average of 62.8 percent, is the burden of childcare here.
"By allowing foreigners to work as housekeepers, we should see a more than 10 percentage-point increase in economically active women."
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