Credit: Public domain.
Despite infamously having the world’s lowest birth rate, South Korea persists in a work culture that tacitly discourages childcare leave, even among government employees who enjoy more job security than private-sector employees. Although government employees with children younger than 8 years old are eligible for up to three years of parental leave (including one year of paid parental leave) per child, relatively few workers take advantage of the benefits they officially enjoy.
According to Assembly Member Yong Hye-in 용혜인, only 16% of eligible government employees took parental leave in 2022. Those who did were overwhelmingly women: 37% of eligible female employees took parental leave in 2022, compared to only 10.6% of eligible male employees.