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Married Women’s Continued Participation in the Labor Market and Childbirth: Relevant Factors and Policy Implications


KDI Brief No.116 (February 01, 2018)

Married Women’s Continued Participation in the Labor Market and Childbirth: Relevant Factors and Policy Implications
Inkyung Kim
Fellow, Department of Human Resource Development Policy, KDI
This study analyzes the impact of work-family balance policies and men’s contribution in the home to women’s continued economic activities and the fertility rate, and explores policy measures that can lessen the burden incurred by women due to career breaks and having children.
Empirical analysis results show that the work-family balance policies and men’s participation in the home are strongly correlated to women’s continued career and plans for children.
 · In terms of the average marginal effect, the provision of maternity leave increases the probability of children by 3.0%p while that of parental leave increases the likelihood of women continuing to participate in the labor market by 4.0%p.
 · Compared to full-time workers, voluntary and non-voluntary part-time workers are 5.8%p and 4.9%p less likely to continue with their economic activities while only voluntary workers are 2.0%p more likely to have children.
 · A 50%p increase in the proportion of husband’s housework hours in the couple’s total raises the probability of women continuing their careers by 3.5%p.
To improve the accessibility of programs, the coverage rate of employment insurance must be expanded as well as ‘smart labor inspections’ and consultation services.
 · Currently, only insured workers are entitled to paid maternity/parental leave and reduced working hours for childcare.
 · The government should actively engage in promoting the available systems that can assist uninsured workers to obtain benefits. Also, more labor services should be provided that offer consultation services for possible problems and difficulties incurred during the use of the programs.
 · Smart labor inspections investigate workplaces suspected of failing to provide proper support to insured pregnant female employees and their families.
 · Employers should be provided with the knowhow on assigning specialized tasks to existing employees and finding replacements to handle the remaining duties.
In order to enhance men’s participation in the home, bonuses for men taking parental leave and increasing the income replacement ratio for shorter leaves should be considered.
 · At present, men cannot receive their bonuses even if they are taking parental leave instead of their spouses because they are uninsured or refused by their employers.
 · Another measure that is worth consideration is increasing the income replacement ratio for men taking shorter parental leave based on the fact that men expect higher income security during leave and usually take shorter parental leave than women.
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