South Korean construction firm pays staff $75,000 each time they have a baby

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A construction firm in South Korea is offering 100 million Korean won ($75,000) for every child born to its employees, in a bid to address the nation’s declining birth rates.

About the incentive: Booyoung Group has pledged its employees a total commitment of 7 billion won ($5.25 million) for 70 babies born since 2021, reported the Chosun Daily. The initiative, which seeks to alleviate the financial strain associated with raising children, applies to both male and female employees.

Employees with three children or more are also offered a choice between 300 million won ($225,000) or permanent rental housing sized below 915 square feet (85 square meters), as long as the lot is provided by the government.

Why it matters: The initiative is a response to South Korea’s alarmingly low fertility rates, with projections of a population decline not witnessed since the 1970s. In 2022, the nation recorded the world’s lowest fertility rate at 78%, which is expected to plummet to 65% by 2025.

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Addressing the decline: In a statement delivered at the company’s New Year ceremony on Feb. 5, Booyoung Group Chairperson Lee Joong-keun expressed concerns over the country’s low birth rates and emphasized the urgency of addressing the trend.

“If Korea’s birth rate remains low, the country will face the crisis of extinction in 20 years,” the billionaire founder said, according to the Korea Times. “The low birth rate results from financial burdens and difficulties in balancing work and family life, so we decided to take such a drastic measure.”

How it’s going: An employee who recently gave birth reportedly expressed her gratitude for the financial assistance and shared her newfound openness to having another child.

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Experts believe Booyoung Group’s initiative can set a precedent for other companies to consider similar measures to mitigate the adverse effects of declining birth rates on the workforce. Booyoung Group urged the government to provide tax exemptions on donations aimed at promoting higher birth rates to encourage other firms to implement such an initiative.

 

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