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More firms increase benefits for unmarried workers

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By Park Jae-hyuk

A growing number of Koreans who choose to remain single has prompted more companies to offer additional welfare benefits for their unmarried employees.

Starting next year, LG Uplus will provide bonuses equivalent to a month's base wage and five days of paid leave to its employees who decide to stay single, if they are aged 38 or more and have worked for the company for at least five years.

The telecommunication firm's workers can receive the benefits after they make a pledge on the company's intranet to remain single.

If the beneficiaries marry later, however, they will not be able to receive a bonus and paid leave for newlyweds. In addition, they have to return their bonuses if they leave the company within two years after receiving the benefits.

"We decided to support the diverse lifestyles of our employees," an LG Uplus official said.

Lotte Department Store has also provided bonuses and five days of paid leave since September to unmarried employees aged over 40. The company also gives them plants instead of wedding wreaths. Its employees are also unable to receive cash bonuses and paid leave for newlyweds if they marry after receiving the benefits for unmarried workers.

Shinhan Bank has paid 100,000 won ($77) every year to unmarried employees since 2020. The amount is equivalent to the bonus given to married employees on their wedding anniversaries every year.

Lush Korea has offered bonuses and 10 days of paid leave since 2017 to employees who choose to remain single. Viewing pets as family members, the U.K. cosmetics firm's Korean operation has also paid 50,000 won every month to unmarried employees with pets, as it gives the same amount of money to its married employees who have children.

According to Statistics Korea, the proportion of Koreans who think marriage is necessary fell 1.2 percentage points from two years ago to 50 percent this year, while 43.2 percent believe it is okay to remain single.


Park Jae-hyuk pjh@koreatimes.co.kr


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