SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — Under an amendment to current labor laws, going forward public servants in South Korea will be permitted to work fewer hours while pregnant.
According to a proposal unveiled by the Ministry of Personnel Management on Wednesday, female public servants will work two hours less during pregnancy, while those with children younger than five years of age will enjoy the same benefit for as long as 24 months.
The legislation, which comes as a follow-up move to the government’s plan to ensure a healthy work-life balance, is set to be passed today and expected to enter effect by late April after a vote during a Cabinet meeting.
Previously, public officials in South Korea only had their working hours slashed by two hours in the first 12 weeks or after 36 weeks into pregnancy.
Parents in the public sector will also benefit from the new legislation, as workers with children younger than five years of age will be permitted to work shorter shifts for up to two years.
Paternity leave will be extended from five days to 10 days, while workers with more than three children will be eligible for three days off every year for family time.
During the special days off, parents can attend school events or take their children to the hospital for regular checkups or vaccinations, for instance.
With the aim of encouraging workers to use all of their off days and cutting down overtime work by 40 percent by 2022, workers in the public sector will be able to accumulate overtime hours for as long as ten years, which they will be able to use to take time off.
After a trial period, the government is expected to adopt the ‘time compensation’ policy at other central government branches from later this year.
“Just as the five-day work week is the norm now, we will work closely with government branches such as the Ministry of Labor to make sure that the reforms in the public sector expand to the private sector,” the Ministry of Personnel Management said.