WATCH: Korean construction company offers R1.4 million baby bonus

Published Feb 27, 2024


Amid South Korea's ongoing struggle with one of the world's lowest fertility rates, a Korean construction company has taken a bold step to tackle the issue head-on.

Booyoung Group, led by founder Joong-keun Lee, has implemented a groundbreaking initiative to encourage its employees to have children by offering substantial cash bonuses upon childbirth.

The company's innovative scheme has already made waves, with employees receiving 100 million Korean Won (R1.45 million) per birth each time they welcome a new addition to their family.

According to a Korean Times report, the company has paid out a staggering R100 million since 2021, with two families recently receiving R2.8 million each for having two children.

“If Korea’s birth rate remains low, the country will face the crisis of extinction in 20 years,” Booyoung Group Chairman Lee Joong-keun said at the company’s New Year ceremony on Monday, February 5.

“The low birthrate results from financial burdens and difficulties in balancing work and family life, so we decided to take such a drastic measure.”

South Korea currently faces the world's lowest fertility rate, with only 0.7 births per fertile woman.

Korean experts attribute the nation's declining birth rate to various factors, including shifting societal norms, the high cost of raising children and limited involvement of men in childcare.

Insill Yi, President of the Korean Peninsula Population Institute for Future, emphasised the challenges of planning for the future amidst a competitive and uncertain environment.

Booyoung Group's initiative represents a significant departure from conventional approaches to addressing population decline, with experts predicting that more companies will follow suit in the future.

The incentives provided by the construction firm have already had a profound impact on employees' family planning decisions, with many reconsidering the prospect of having children.

“I was worried about financial difficulties from raising a child, but thanks to the company’s support, I’ve been able to consider having another baby,” said a Booyoung employee who gave birth last month.

While the initiative has garnered praise for its innovative approach, experts caution that a one-off bonus will not solve the underlying issues driving the low birth rate.

They stress the importance of addressing systemic challenges such as work culture and gender equality in childcare responsibilities.