SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Korea Bizwire) – The best way to increase the fertility rate is to offer maternity leave, a new report has found.
Female workers who are eligible for maternity leave are 3 percentage points more likely to give birth, the report on work-life balance released by the Korea Development Institute on Thursday said.
According to the report, up to 30 factors impact a woman’s decision to give birth, including maternity leave, support from parents, and the opinion of their husband.
Women who worked for companies offering maternity were 3 percentage points more likely to have a baby, while the figure rose 2.8 percentage points among women with a husband who didn’t want them to work.
Researcher Kim In-kyung, who conducted the study, says men who impose traditional gender roles on their partner at home are more likely to push women to have a baby.
“Husbands who want their partners to stay at home see raising children as a woman’s job, which is thought to encourage childbirth,” Kim explained.
Parents who had planned to have more than one child, those with supportive parents-in-law, and those with a flexible work schedule were all more likely to have a baby than others.
Although the likelihood of having a child rose slightly when husbands helped with housework, the report warned against reading into the figures.
The study also noted women were 4 percentage points more likely to be employed when maternity leave was provided in the workplace, while the figure rose 1.3 percentage points when parents helped with house chores.
When men took a more active role in housework, women were 3.25 percentage points more likely to go back to the workplace.
“Though having time off around the time that one give’s birth has a great impact, for women to continue their career, being able to use maternity leave freely is crucial. As maternity leave and childcare leave are provided only to those with employment insurance, (the government) needs to extend the insurance coverage to see the policy come to fruition,” the report said.
The study was conducted with a sample of 3,209 married female workers in South Korea between 2007 and 2015 who were aged between 20 and 45.