Monday, September 14, 2015

A Discussion - Stopping Businesses from Firing Pregnant Women

According to this article from The Korea Times (I promise that it's not another troll column), 5,000 female employees have been fired every year while on maternity or childcare leave since 2010. The total number of women fired come down to 26,755 women.

This is in spite of the fact that the Equal Employment Act states that an employee, male or female, who has a child aged not more than 8 years or a child in the second or lower grade of an elementary school, is guaranteed childcare leave up to one year. The law also states that the employer should reinstate the employee after childcare leave to his/her previous position or other position with the same level of salary (source).

When the only tool that one has is a hammer, then every problem begins to look like a nail. Similarly, when people think that the government is the solution, they tend to think of problems through the lens of the law. However, it's quite clear that laws are already in place, but they are routinely ignored.

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For example, someone that I spoke to on Facebook suggested that a good way to solve the problem would be to create a watchdog group that would fine and jail business owners who engage in such behavior.

However, I find that unlikely to work because even if such a watchdog group were created, I am almost certain those fines would be quite small. If the financial benefit to the firm is greater to fire the female employees than the fines would cost the business, the net gain would still compel them to fire their female employees. So, for a watchdog group of this sort to work, the fines would have to be substantial and I am just not sure if that is politically possible.

When Rational Choice Meets Ethics
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Therefore, I offer two possible alternative solutions to the problem that might offer a win-win way out for everyone.

The first solution is to create an all-women union (seeing how the Ministry of Gender Equality can't seem to do anything right). It's true that I am not a big fan of unions (see here, here, and here), but that is mostly because many unions tend to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Provided that this union's goals remain focused on specific policies that seek judicial employment practices... oh who am I kidding? Eventually, all unions that grow in power will ask for more and more and more. But there is no need to fight tomorrow's battle today. That will come in due time. For now, there's a fire that needs to be put out.

The second solution is to incentivize businesses to hire and retain female workers via tax credits. In other words, a work opportunity tax credit for women.

However, those are just two of my ideas. So, I open the floor to you, readers. If you think you have a good idea that is practical and workable (no, calling for torches and pitchforks is NOT a good idea), feel free to drop a line in the comments section.

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1 comment:

  1. So there's no way to enforce the law. Everydody knows there's no enforcement. Sounds like a lack an actual case of "in name only". No will to enforce the law equals renering it useless.