In tune with the government’s recent plan to tackle the nation’s record-low birthrate, business leaders said Tuesday that they would help firms create a family-friendly culture for their employees.
“We share the view that the problem of marriage and births no longer belongs to individuals only, but is an urgent task that needs to be solved together with the government, businesses and individuals,” said representatives from South Korea’s five major business lobby groups in a declaration read during a breakfast meeting in Seoul. The five include the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of Korean Industries and the Korea International Trade Association.
“We will make efforts to spread the idea of family-friendly corporate culture by expanding jobs for youth and improving (the existing) culture that values long work hours.”
For quality work-home balance, the business lobby groups also said they would encourage firms to expand positions that allow working parents to choose their work hours and take maternity leave. Opening child care centers at workplaces and encouraging fathers to take paternity leave are also part of the plans.
Representatives of the five business groups also called for the swift passage of labor reform bills to make the nation’s rigid job market more flexible.
“The reason why (the people) postpone their marriage or don’t have kids even if they get married is because there are no proper jobs,” said Kim In-ho, chairman of the Korea International Trade Association. “The most important thing is to (devise plans) to create proper jobs and revitalize (operations of) firms.”
The remarks came after President Park Geun-hye last week stressed the need for labor reforms ― bills for which remain pending at the National Assembly ― by linking the nation’s inflexible labor market with the falling birthrate.
The lack of jobs has resulted in delays in marriages, and labor reforms are a prerequisite to encourage the young people to have more children, she noted.