There are still numerous women employees deprived of their right to motherhood: Some are fired for being pregnant, while others who applied to take child care leave are forced to resign.
Observing Gender Equality Week, the Korean Women Workers Association’s Equality Helpline examined 929 counseling requests submitted between January and April. With 412 cases or 43.8%, the right to motherhood represented the most. Among 412 cases, pregnancy discrimination took up 12.2%.
A female employee at a hospital in Seoul said “When I applied for child care leave, the hospital forced me to sign an interim settlement of severance pay under which I agreed not to claim additional retirement benefits for the number of working days after reinstatement. The National Health Insurance Service bill I recently received stated that I was covered by a self-employed health insurance plan, rather than an employer-provided policy. Later, I found out that the hospital intentionally reported that I resigned due to child care.”
According to the survey, leave before or after giving birth and child care leave accounted for 34.7% (143 cases) and 43.2% (178 cases), respectively. The clients asked for tips for how to use maternity and child care leave.
The Korean Women Workers Association staff said “The percentage of female laborers who suffer from pregnancy discrimination would be much higher than the statistics suggest. While the majority of women in metropolitan areas or big cities seek counseling about working conditions, an increasing number of women in remote areas get counseling about the right to motherhood, with growing public awareness of the right.”