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S. Korea to spend extra US$ 800 mil. to raise birth ratres Updated: 2018-07-05 18:34:00 KST


With South Korea's birth rate in freefall, the government has decided to increase benefits for parents to improve their quality of life and encourage people to start families.

The Presidential Committee on Ageing Society and Population Policy announced on Thursday that the government will try to give parents a better work-life balance by making more of them eligible for benefits and by providing greater financial support.

(Korean - )
"First and foremost, the new policies aim to make life easier for people who decide to have children. We also made sure to come up with policies that can be implemented as soon as next year."

The government plans to add 800 million U.S. dollars to next year's budget to pay for baby bonuses, medical care, parental leave and other support.

In the past, parents who didn't have employment insurance couldn't get certain benefits, but that requirement will be scrapped. If any couple has a new child, they'll get about 13-hundred U.S. dollars over a three-month period.

Single parents will also get more support. Monthly financial aid for each child will go up by 30 percent, and the benefits will continue until the child is 18, up from the current limit of 14.

Experts say, though, that it'll take some time for these measures to have an effect on the birth rate.

(Korean - / )
"As of right now, it would be unrealistic to expect the low birth rate problem to be solved in a short period. Issues like this require a long-term perspective."

Last year, South Korea recorded its lowest ever birth rate of one.zero-five births per woman.
And in 2016, it had the lowest fertility rate in the OECD.
They country has tried for years to reverse this trend but to no avail.

The government's proposals will now be passed to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance for approval and then to the National Assembly.
Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News.
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