Photo shows an empty classroom at a high school in Yongsan, central Seoul district. (Yonhap)
With school closures set to drag on into April, a growing number of working parents are turning to the new family care leave -- short-term, paid time off introduced for those with children, aged parents or a sick spouse to care for.
The Labor Ministry reported Wednesday an influx of 5,861 applications in two days this week from workers seeking to make use of the new support scheme, which entails a daily allowance of 50,000 won ($40) per person for up to five days. Monday was the first day for the agency to receive applications.
Introduced on Jan. 1, the caretaker’s leave was originally nonpaid, but the government decided to add cash benefits to promote its usage and help relieve working parents’ burdens amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak has prompted nationwide closure of schools, kindergartens and day care centers, which the government announced Tuesday will last until April 5.
Separately, 15,324 employers applied for government subsidies provided to each employee put on paid leave due to a sharp downturn in business. The program is designed to give financial support to employers who retain workforce during the virus outbreak.
Meanwhile, 389 workplaces applied to be exempt from the 52-hour workweek, citing a surge in workload due to the virus outbreak. Some 159 of the firms were in the field of disinfection and quarantine.