Fewer work­ing moms re­main in work­force

The Korea Times - - FINANCE - By Jhoo Dong-chan [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

A 31-year-old for­mer movie dis­tri­bu­tion com­pany worker who re­cently quit her job to raise her child said there is still a bar­rier for work­ing women in Korea.

“I was go­ing to ap­ply for ma­ter­nity leave at the firm. It was de­fined by law, but the firm in­di­rectly asked me to quit,” she said.

“The firm is a small one so it might not have been able to af­ford to pay me the man­dated child­birth sub­si­dies while I was on ma­ter­nity leave. Laws for work­ing moms are al­ready in ef­fect, but I be­lieve the men­tal­ity has yet to fol­low, es­pe­cially in small- and mid-size firms.”

More and more work­ing moth­ers are strug­gling to keep their jobs amid wors­en­ing la­bor mar­ket con­di­tions. Many women in­vol­un­tar­ily quit when they get mar­ried or give birth, a dis­turb­ing trend still preva­lent in small do­mes­tic com­pa­nies.

Ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics Korea, Fri­day, the num­ber of the na­tion’s fe­male work­ers who raise chil­dren un­der the age of 18 stood at 2.87 mil­lion as of the first half of this year, down 0.9 per­cent from 2.89 mil­lion from the same pe­riod last year.

The fig­ure has slid two years in a row since the agency started re­leas­ing the data in 2016. The num­ber of fe­male work­ers rais­ing chil­dren was 2.91 mil­lion in the first half of 2016, and then slid to 2.89 mil­lion a year later.

“The de­cline is at­trib­uted to the fall in the na­tion’s pop­u­la­tion of women of child-bear­ing age, ac­com­pa­nied with its slug­gish econ­omy,” said Sta­tis­tics Korea in a press re­lease.

The num­ber of women be­tween ages 15 and 54 stood at 14.39 mil­lion as of June, down 185,000, or 1.3 per­cent, from a year ago.

Ac­cord­ingly, the num­ber of fe­male work­ers who raise chil­dren was also down 101,000, or 1.9 per­cent, in the pe­riod.

The em­ploy­ment rate of the na­tion’s fe­male work­ers was, howev- er, up by 0.6 per­cent­age point to 56.7 per­cent in the pe­riod.

“The em­ploy­ment rate of the na­tion’s work­ing moth­ers was de­ter­mined by the num­ber and age of their chil­dren,” it said.

The rate of work­ing moth­ers who raise only one child aged un­der 18 was 57.9 per­cent as of June while the fig­ure of those who raise more than three chil­dren was 52.1 per­cent. The mar­gin was 5.8 per­cent­age points be­tween the groups.

The data also in­di­cates the job rate of work­ing moth­ers who raise a child less than six years old was only 48.1 per­cent.

“This shows the na­tion’s work­ing women are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in main­tain­ing their ca­reers when their chil­dren are young and need to be taken care more of­ten,” the data said.

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