SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of men going on paternity leave jumped 23 percent last year from the previous year, reflecting cultural and policy changes, the labor ministry said Wednesday.
The total number of private sector workers requesting paternity leave stood at 27,423 last year, more than double the number in 2017 (12,042), the ministry said.
The increase can be attributed to more couples raising their children together and policies encouraging men to take leave, it said.
The coronavirus pandemic likely contributed by forcing schools to scale back in-person classes and leaving many children needing to be taken care of at home.
The total number of private sector workers taking child care leave rose 6.5 percent on-year to 112,040. About a quarter of them, or 24.5 percent, were men, up from 21.2 percent in 2019.
The average length of child care leave was 9.4 months. More than half of parents went on leave, or 56.9 percent, when their children were up to 6 months old, followed by when they were 7 or 8 years old (14.2 percent), around the time they start school.
Many parents took advantage of a policy that allows them to reduce working hours for up to a year while raising a child under the age of 9.
Their number totaled 14,698 last year, up 160 percent from 2019, the ministry said.