'The most serious problem'

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'The most serious problem'

Starting next year, parents with infants under the age of two will receive a higher monthly check from the government.
Under the subsidy titled “parent payment,” households with a child under the age of one will receive 700,000 won ($535) every month and 350,000 won for a child aged between 12 and 23 months. In other words, a household with an infant will be given 8.4 million won for the first year with their baby, and another 4.2 million won the next year.
Beginning in 2024, the amount of money offered to parents per month will be again increased to 1 million won for an infant under the age of one and 500,000 won for babies aged between 12 and 23 months.
The policy is aimed at raising the nation’s dropping birth rate. As of 2021, it hit a new low at 0.81.
This differs from the existing childcare payment as the parent payment policy was designed to support household income as well.
“The payment intends to thoroughly complement the income of the households with infants for the first two years after the birth and offers parents the rights to choose their own way of parenting,” explained an official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
According to the ministry, it benchmarked the Swedish parental benefits with an aim to provide parents with infants a universal allowance regardless of their income.
The government has integrated two different payments: household caring payments of 300,000 won in cash and vouchers worth 500,000 won that can be used to pay for childcare fees at daycare centers.
With this, parents with an infant under the age of one will be receiving 700,000 won in cash per month with 200,000 given if they use services at childcare centers, starting from January.
The amount of money given to households with an infant aged between 12 and 23 months is 350,000 a month. If they send their child to a daycare center, 500,000 won will be given to them every month.
“I hope this policy can encourage couples to get married and give birth to a child.”
“In order for a nation to promote childbirth, it needs to take responsibility for child care and education first.”
“The policy seems to be ineffective. It will be a waste of money.”
“As children grow, parents need more money to raise them. People won’t have babies to receive such temporary subsidies.”
“The most serious problem is that related to housing. The government doesn’t even try to handle housing issues.”
“We don’t have the money we need to give birth to a child because of house loans. Do they really think that couples would have a child with only 700,000 won?”

BY LEE SI-EUN, HAN HYE-RIM [han.hyerim1@joongang.co.kr]
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