Seoul to offer subsidies to family members who babysit

But, concerns have already mounted that the system could be abused.

According to the city government, Seoul will provide a monthly subsidy of 300,000 won to those who care for a parent’s child under the age of three for more than 40 hours per month. Combined household incomes must be below 150% of the standard median income to claim the grant, which can be awarded for up to 12 months. When non-custodial family members take care of two or three children, the subsidy can increase to 450,000 or 600,000 won respectively.

The city government plans to subsidize some 16,000 citizens next year and expand the program so that about 49,000 citizens can benefit by 2026.

Yet concerns have been raised that some people may be taking unfair advantage of the subsidy because it is difficult for the government to verify who the non-custodial family members are and how many hours they spend take care of children.

The city government said it would require a written commitment and work plan from people applying for the program while rescinding the grant if they were found to have broken the rules and made improper gains.

This 12-month grant is part of the city government’s five-year welfare program to support parents of children under 10. The government will inject a total of 14.7 trillion won over the five-year period.

As part of the program, the Seoul city government will also operate a service that takes sick and injured children to hospitals in the absence of their parents. The service will be available in five districts before being expanded later.

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