The effects of parental leave on career interruption of female workers in Korea – University of Copenhagen

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The effects of parental leave on career interruption of female workers in Korea

Public NIAS-ADI talk by Prof. Chan-Ung Park from the Department of Sociology, Yonsei University

Childbirth and parenting have long been considered key factors for career interruption of female workers. Recent social policies have worked hard to increase female employment through various care policies. Two key policies have been maternity leave and parental leave. Existing studies on these policies tend to focus on the determinants of their introduction at firm or country level, where few studies have examined the actual effects of the policies on career interruption of female employees. Results of these studies are not consistent: some argue that the policies reduce career interruption; others argue that they increase it.

Prof. Park’s study examines the effects of maternity and parental leave on career interruption of female employees in Korea by a panel data of female workers between 2007 and 2016. It also compares the effects of these policies across female workers with varying wage levels. The key findings are, first, the two programs reduce career interruption, controlling for other factors. Second, the effects of these programs increase as the wage levels increase.

The findings suggest that it is important to put pressure on firms to offer these programs to their employees, since a large number of female employees report that these programs are not implemented in their organizations. The results also show that there can be important differences among female workers, and the findings demonstrate that an important direction for maternity and parental leave policies is to deal with the problems of female workers with a lower level of wages to maintain a career.


Chan-ung Park is a full Professor in Sociology at Yonsei University. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University (2009-10). Prof. Park has graduated from Yonsei University (1987) and the University of Chicago (M.A., 1991, PhD 1997). His research interests include Economic Sociology, Social Policy and Social Network Analysis.


This event is part of the ongoing research collaboration between Yonsei University and the University of Copenhagen