Maternity Protection Laws (bill for the revision of the Labor Standard Act, Equal Employment Act and Employment Insurance Act) - the one-year-old top agenda of women workers' groups - were finally passed in the National Assembly on June 26, and are now waiting to take effect.
Through the resolution of the National Assembly's Environment and Labor Committee, post-childbirth maternity leaves will be increased from 60 days to 90, and both parents of children less than a year old will be able to take paid child care leave of less than one year. However, leaves after miscarriages or stillbirth, one-day paid leaves for obstetric check-ups and leaves taken by other family members to care for nursing mothers will not be introduced.
The Citizens' Alliance for the Revision of Women Labor Laws, which has been at the forefront of the campaign to introduce Maternity Protection Laws, released a statement, saying, "Although the omission of important parts leaves much to be desired, the laws should become effective as soon as possible, as they symbolize a new turning point; in the future, women workers' policies will transfer some of the burden of maternity protection to society, a long-cherished dream of women labor groups."
In contrast, the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions and the Seoul Women's Union criticized the new laws, pointing out, "It is a trade-off between maternity protection and women protection; maternity leaves have been lengthened to 90 days, but the government has lifted the ban on making women work at night, on holidays and for long hours."
The three bills related to maternity protection resolved by standing committee of the National Assembly will be reviewed by the Assembly's Legislation and Judiciary Committee and during its plenary session. The laws are scheduled to take effect from November 1.