Asia - Pacific

South Korea announces incentives for more births

Government to dole out cash bonus to expecting parents

Islamuddin Sajid   | 15.12.2020
South Korea announces incentives for more births

ANKARA

South Korea on Tuesday announced more incentives for families to encourage more births amid falling figures, local media reported.

Under the new policy, the government will provide 300,000 won ($275) as a bonus every month to all infants in the first year after their birth starting in 2022, while the monthly cash allowance will be gradually expanded to 500,000 won ($457) by 2025, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The package prepared by the Presidential Committee on Aging Society and Population Policy is part of South Korea's government initiatives to boost the low birthrate that has plagued Asia's fourth-largest economy for more than a decade.

According to officials, the new incentives and cash bonus are separate from the government's earlier monthly allowance of 100,000 won ($91) for each child under the age of 7.

Also, the government will dole out a 2 million-won ($1,827) cash bonus to expectant parents to help cover their prenatal expenses starting in 2022, according to the agency.

The government also plans to increase the current 600,000-won ($550) congratulatory allowance for each pregnant woman to 1 million won ($916), while also including extra perks for working parents.

Under the new package, couples with a child less than 12 months old can each receive up to 3 million won ($2,741) in monthly salary when both take a 3-month leave from work.

The government will also provide university tuition fees to families in the low-income bracket with more than three children.

Despite the government efforts, the country's total fertility rate, which refers to the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, hit an all-time low of 0.92 in 2019, down from 0.98 a year earlier, the agency reported.

The committee expected the figure to fall to 0.8 during the first half of next year.

Due to the lack of decent job opportunities, high home prices, heavy private education fees young South Koreans are opting to distance themselves from life's three major milestones, dating, marriage, and having children.

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