South Korea has announced an emergency family care subsidy for employees taking leave to care for children during COVID-19 school and day-care closures

While Korean employees are entitled to 90 days of unpaid family leave each year, surviving the now months-long school closures without salary has deterred many from using that option.

The Emergency Family Care Leave Subsidy is designed to encourage employees to use their family care leave entitlements.

Family Care Leave

Under the Equal Employment Opportunity and Work-Family Balance Assistance Act, an employee is entitled to 90 days of unpaid family care leave annually. Employees may use up to 10 days each year on a single-day basis (i.e. one day at a time) while the remainder of the leave is taken in a single block. Family care leave can only be used to take care of parents, spouses, children or in-laws due to illness, accidents or aging. An employer must grant leave upon the employee's request unless granting the leave would result in serious disruption to the employer's operations. An employer may not disadvantage an employee for taking family care leave. However, as the leave is unpaid, its utilisation rate is low.

Emergency Family Care Leave Subsidy

Employees who apply for family care leave due to school closures during the COVID-19 outbreak will receive a daily subsidy of KRW50,000 for up to 10 days. This means dual-income households can receive up to KRW100,000 per day and a total of KRW1 million for 10 days. The employer applies on behalf of the employee, and will require a family relationship certificate to complete the application.