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(LEAD) Gov't to encourage more men to take paternity leave in 2016

All News 15:08 June 10, 2016

(ATTN: RECAST headline, lead, ADDS details throughout)

SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said Friday the government will do more to expand the rights of women and children, adding it also seeks to have more men take paternity leave this year.

"The government will promote gender equality at all levels of society and make a determined effort to achieve this vision," Hwang said.

Among government goals, Hwang said Seoul will push up the percentage of men taking paternity leave this year to 6.7 percent of workers taking childcare-related leave. This will mark a gain from 5.6 percent tallied in 2015.

The government will also provide subsidies on 5,000 temporary replacement workers for employees taking paternity leave, up sharply from around 1,000 reported a year earlier. The figure will rise to 10,000 temporary employees in 2017, it said.

The prime minister said the efforts to be pushed forward include adopting a flexible work-hour system so that women can focus both on childcare and their careers. The government, in addition, will promote female-led startups in line with the so-called creative economy policy.

The creative economy refers to President Park Geun-hye's flagship policy that aims to merge innovation with different industrial sectors, mainly in such areas as information and communications technologies, to generate new business opportunities and foster more economic growth.

"The public sector will take the lead in bolstering females' social positions and expand the portion of women executives, and induce private firms to follow the trend," the premier said, adding the country must break discriminatory customs.

"We can achieve development and prosper only when men and women can equally contribute to social development," Hwang stressed.

colin@yna.co.kr
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