Bills for women's affairs that were passed by extraordinary sessions of the National Assembly in April mean a lot in terms of women's rights and interests. The Basic Act on Fertility and Aged Society, among others, is geared to cope with the world's lowest fertility rate of 1.19, and rapid aging in the Korean society.
According to the act, the minister of health and welfare is asked to draw up a basic plan for the low fertility and aged society every five years through consultations with heads of administrative agencies in the central government.
To deliberate key issues on such policies, the act also calls for establishment of a committee for low fertility and aged society under control of the president who would chair it. An agency will be installed within the Ministry of Health and Welfare to render working-level services to the panel.
With the approval of amendments to acts on Labor Standards, Employment Insurance and Equal Employment, a salary that a female worker gets during 90 days of her maternity leave would be entirely paid by the society. If a female worker who is four to seven months pregnant has an abortion or gives birth to a dead child, she is allowed to take a 45-day maternity leave beginning next year, regardless of the size of her workplace. The allowance for such a leave would be entirely covered by an employment insurance.
A revised bill to an act that supports female entrepreneurs now defines businesswoman not as female executives in companies managed by women but as those in all businesses. The act aims at providing female executives of ordinary businesses with equal opportunities for training, education and start-up supports. In the past, they have been discriminated against simply because the owners of their companies were men.