Maternity Protection Laws, which had been postponed for two years, may go into effect as early as July 1.
The bill does propose a lengthening of the maternity leave from 60 to 90 days. However, it fails to include paid leave for abortions and miscarriages, monthly one-day leave for obstetric check-ups, partial paid leave for child-care, and official leave for family members of nursing mothers. Women and labor groups are protesting vigorously.
"Withholding leave for obstetric check-ups is tantamount to neglecting the rights of the baby to health services," comments the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). It also defines leaves for abortions and miscarriages as "the minimum measure that ought to be taken to guarantee women workers' health rights." The KCTU called on the government to "legalize obstetric check-ups and abortion and miscarriage leaves as stated in the revision proposed by women and labor groups."
The Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) also lambasted the government's move, saying, "Refusing to guarantee paid child-care leave on the pretext of increased labor costs - despite the falling birthrate among women workers - is nothing less than telling women workers not to have children."
The Citizens' Alliance for the Revision of Women Labor Laws (the Alliance) has been conducting a relay statement release at the National Assembly since April 11. The Alliance is also planning to hold daily one-man demonstrations in front of the National Assembly building starting on the first day of the June National Assembly session.