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Social and welfare issues

Rejuvenating Korea: Policies for a Changing Society

Published on October 28, 2019

book
Korean families are changing fast. While birth rates remain low, Koreans are marrying and starting a family later than ever before, if at all. Couple-with-children households, the dominant household type in Korea until recently, will soon make up fewer than one quarter of all households. These changes will have a profound effect on Korea’s future. Among other things, the Korean labour force is set to decline by about 2.5 million workers by 2040, with potential major implications for economic performance and the sustainability of public finances. Since the early 2000s, public policy has changed to help parents reconcile work and family commitments: Korea has developed a comprehensive formal day-care and kindergarten system with enrolment rates that are now on par with the Nordic countries. Korea also has one year of paid parental leave for both parents, but only about 25% of mothers and 5% of fathers use it, as workplace cultures are often not conducive to parents, especially fathers, taking leave. Cultural change will take time, but this review suggests there also is a need for additional labour market, education and social policy reform to help Koreans achieve both work and family aspirations, and contribute to the rejuvenation of Korean society.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
Executive summary
Rejuvenating Korea: Policies for a Changing Society
Families, family life and family policy in flux
The work/family balance in Korean workplaces
A care and education policy fit for parents and children
Falling birth rates, key factors and pathways to overcome barriers to parenthood
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ON-LINE MATERIAL

Key findings: Launch presentation (.pdf)

Key tweets - share via Twitter:

    • Korea’s fertility rate is the lowest in the OECD. What can Korea do to boost birth rates and rejuvenate its society? [@OECD_Social]
    • Did you know? Koreans work some of the longest hours in the OECD. This makes it hard for parents to juggle work and family life [OECD_Social]
    • South Korea needs flexible working hours to address low birthrate [@stescarpetta

 

FURTHER INFORMATION