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Men on paternity leave only fraction of women on maternity leave

All Headlines 16:22 December 13, 2016

SEJONG, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- A growing number of South Korean men took paternity leave over the past decade, but it still pales in comparison to the number of women on maternity leave, data showed Tuesday.

The data compiled by Statistics Korea said that the number of male employees getting paternity leave came to 4,874 in 2015, up from 208 in 2005.

In comparison, the number of female workers that took time off to care for children stood at 82,498 in 2015, up from 10,492 in 2005.

The move illustrated a widespread perception in South Korea that women should take care of children, though the number of men who take time off to raise their children has been gradually increasing.

South Korea has been encouraging paternity leave, including by turning unpaid leave into paid leave in 2001, as part of efforts to boost South Korea's low birthrate and ease the burden of childcare.

In 2015, 438,000 babies were born, up 2,985 from a year earlier.

Still, South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- stood at 1.24 in 2015, lower than the replacement rate that would keep its population stable.

The statistics office said the ratio of employees who work in the same companies after either paternity or maternity leave came to 76.4 percent in 2014, up from 74.6 percent in 2013.

The ratio has been on the rise amid South Korea's efforts to bring stay-at-home moms back to work in recent years.

The statistics office said 46.4 percent of more than 5.58 women quit their jobs in 2016 due mainly to marriages, pregnancy and childbirth.

South Korea's female labor participation is among the lowest in the world as many women with children quit their jobs.

The statistics office also said among those who worked in 2015, 61.7 percent of men placed priority on their work, while only 9.4 percent said family is important than work.

In comparison, 42.3 percent of women placed priority on work over family while only 15.6 percent said family is more important than work.

Men on paternity leave only fraction of women on maternity leave - 1

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