Women groups are vigorously criticizing the ruling party’s decision to postpone revision of maternity protection laws for another two years.
The Citizens’ Alliance for the Revision of Women Labor Laws, made up of 8 civic groups, released a statement on April 25 saying, “Postponing the enactment of maternity protection laws for another two years is a breach of campaign pledges, and a dirty trick played by political and business circles at the expense of women’s health rights.” The Alliance also held a protest rally in front of the Millennium Democratic Party headquarters in Youido.
The Alliance also took issue with the economists who claimed that passing of the maternity protection law would mean an additional economic burden of up to 850 billion won annually. The Alliance accused the business circle of “manipulating bad statistics to distort the truth and create confusion,” and refuted the economists’ statistical evidence item by item.
Another claim that came under the Alliance’s attack was the claim that maternity and miscarriage leaves are not stipulated in the ILO Convention. The Alliance refuted this claim, saying, “The ILO’s Convention on Maternity Protection of 1952 (no. 103) acknowledges additional leaves for illnesses attributable to pregnancy and childbirth. In the same year, the ILO adopted a supplement to the Convention in the form of a recommendation, saying that the relevant authorities shall, at their discretion, extend the maternity leave for cases of complications arising from miscarriages or childbirth.”
Regarding the rhetoric that most of the advanced countries have yet to legalize the extension of maternity leave to 14 weeks, the Alliance gave evidence to the contrary, saying, “According to studies conducted by the Ministry of Labor, there are some 57 countries that have legalized 14 weeks of maternity leave. And a many as 64 countries guarantee 100% paid maternity leave.”