Government unveils five-year cradle-to-grave welfare plan

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Government unveils five-year cradle-to-grave welfare plan

A master plan for the country’s welfare policies for the next five years was laid out yesterday in a cabinet meeting. The government aims to establish a safety net against the social risks Koreans face throughout their lifetimes. It wants to help people stand on their own two feet with policies that tie welfare and job opportunities amid a declining birth rate and an aging population.

Starting next year, the government will financially assist mothers with high-risk pregnancies who face additional medical fees while couples having a hard time becoming pregnant will be offered subsidies for external fertilization treatment.

State-run child care centers will increase annually by 150 starting this year and the portion of private corporations with child care facilities will increase from the current 39.1 percent to 70 percent in five years. Parents on maternity leave, who now total 70,000, will rise to 100,000 over the same period.

Other support will range from helping people reduce residence expenses to adding more jobs for the older generation and adopting preventive measures against school violence.

The government-led measures regarding the five-year basic plans will total 211 and will require a budget of 316 trillion won ($310 billion).

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