North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday announced the revision of its law on maternity leave, complete with a 90-day extension.
Under the revisions, maternity leave will be expanded from 150 days to 240 days, including 60 days before childbirth and 180 days after.
The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK made the decision, and North Korean experts quoted by the KCNA said it will improve women’s social benefits.
A 240-day leave may be considered quite long; maternity leave in South Korea is 90 days, for example.
One expert said North Korea is trying to improve its external image by improving social benefits, regardless of its effectiveness.
“As lots of North Korean women are working in the private sector, including the jangmadang (black market), this won’t damage the output from government-owned factories,” Han Dong-ho, research fellow at the Center for North Korean Human Rights Studies under the Korea Institute for National Unification told NK News.
In addition to strengthening the North’s argument against human rights criticisms from international society, this policy may strengthen the domestic leadership of Kim Jong Un.
“North Korea has been highlighting social minorities’ rights, including women, seniors and disabled people these days, which would be helpful for constructing a generous image of the leader,” Han said.
North Korea’s state-owned Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported disabled people’s concerts in United Kingdom and France on March 20.
Another article from the paper reported on a girl who is a deaf, focusing on her story as a painter.
“A happy life in the home that the country provided for free, a warm heart from a thankful neighborhood,” the article reads.
Kim Jong Un visited a childcare facility on June 1, praising the socialism system as superior in taking care of abandoned children from the government.
Han said protecting social minorities rights does not threaten the regime’s stability, unlike some sensitive issues like political prison camps.
“I don’t think the North Korean government is exaggerating or lying, but it is quite the strategic response,” Han told NK News.
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Featured Image: Mansu hill Pyongyang North Korea by Eric Lafforgue on 2008-09-08 13:43:26