Korean Nurses Forced to Adopt “Pregnancy Order System”

When women get pregnant, many companies in Korea seem to force them to quit their jobs. Nurses at hospitals are even asked to set an order of pregnancies so that they do not become pregnant at the same time. Even though the Korean government keeps presenting plans to promote childbirth, the amount of unfair treatment toward pregnant women has been increasing.

Article from SBS:

“Since you’re pregnant, get out.” Companies force pregnant women to quit.


There are many women who have experienced a lot unfair treatment due to pregnancy and childbirth. It is common to see a company persuade a woman to quit because of her pregnancy. The government has workplace-related policies in place to promote childbirth, but for an overwhelming amount of working women, these government policies are far from being the reality.


A professional in her late 20’s has been working at a small trading company for 4 years.

A half year ago, she was happy to find out that she was pregnant, but the happiness didn’t last long. After executives found out about her pregnancy, they told her to quit her job.”>

[A pregnant worker: They said they would be honest. As it was a burden to keep a pregnant women for such a small company like this, they said they wanted me to stop working.]

The Korean Women Workers Association analyzed the reported cases from this year and found that 25 women were fired due to pregnancy and/or childbirth.

There are still many women who can’t properly use maternity leave or parental leave.

[Eun-jeong Song / Direct of labor policy at the Korean Women Workers Association: There are many situations in which pregnant women give up taking legal action or fighting against the company. Therefore, these women are far more likely to become victims than ones from the found cases.]

According to current law, a company should give a pregnant woman 90 days holiday, and should not be allowed to fire her during the maternity leave or 30 days after the maternity leave.

Any business owner violating the law is supposed to be punished.

However, there are only a few owners who are actually punished for this.

[A representative from the Ministry of Employment and Labor: The situation is like this because we often ask them take corrective measures. If someone reports a company, first we ask for corrective measures.]

There’s no disadvantage for being told to take corrective measures and even if a company goes to trial, a company’s owner usually thinks everything is okay if the fine is paid. Therefore, lots of business owners don’t follow the law.

[Seung-ah Hong /Researcher at the Korean Women’s Development Institute: A company should understand it as their natural responsibility to offer maternity or parental leave to workers, and not to think of it only in terms of money.]

Most of all, experts emphasize that supervision of management and punishment for business owners should be strengthened.

Also, they advise that for small companies, additional supportive measures including raising a support fund for substitute workers, should be put in place at the same time.

Comments from Daum:


This is what the Ministry of Gender should manage. They are doing stupid things like making female-only parking spaces and libraries, or the military point system. So far what have they done with our blood taxes? They only support voluntary sex workers.


This is why people don’t have babies. A law without compulsion, psht.


Korea, the country that makes living suffocating.


If a woman is pregnant, can’t she work?


I knew there were no measures that would go down well.


These people are uncomfortable seeing the female colleagues use maternity leave, but they want their own wives to have a baby and work at the same time. So greedy.

facebook 최시연:

The Korean government asks people to raise the birth rate over 2.1, but in reality women get fired when they get pregnant.


Don’t have a baby in Korea. It is a bad decision and Korea isn’t a good environment for raising them. How about the chaebol have 20 kids each.


So is it all over if women don’t have a baby and keep working? If she is working hard without babies for her career, she is considered selfish. If she has a baby and becomes the best at her job, but she can’t take care of her child due to working at night, she is labeled an unqualified mother. If she works not too hard while taking good care of her child, she is forced to quit. So then, isn’t a marriage a woman’s grave?


Women working at companies to make extra money for their family are criticized that their pregnancy is causing harm at work. If they are at home and not working, people say they are taking advantage of men. Poor Korean women.yoo yoo.


This is why many people want to work at big companies and public institutions after all. Damn assholes, is it a crime to have a baby?


Don’t force women to have babies then.


Bad people. Companies drive female workers too hard when they are pretty and young and don’t pay them a lot. These companies have no conscience!


It is for them natural to think pregnant women shouldn’t work, however, women who are not working are considered insensible women.


However hard you try to write this kind of article, there are so many assholes who blame only women for the low birthrate. If we blame the Korean government, they will laugh at us for blame-shifting, too.


Who even wants to have a baby in this situation?


The Korean government promotes childbirth, but what does it do for women after they give birth?


Now you know why moms kept asking you to go to a university of education.

Article from SBS:

“Is it your turn?” The “pregnant order system” causes heartbreak for nurses.


Have you heard about the “pregnancy order system’? It means a hospital sets a pregnant order among nurses to prevent pregnancies occurring all at the same time, which negatively effects the hospital. Despite government policies to promote childbirth, in reality this kind of unethical practice continues. Mr. Lee reports.


3 years ago, 4 nurses became pregnant within a month of each other in the same hospital.

However, the first comment to one of the nurses, who became pregnant with much difficulty, was to ask, “Was it your turn?”

[Nurse who experienced the pregnancy order system: Though having a baby is something to be celebrated, the department head or other executives said things like, “Is it your turn?”, “Do you really have to have a baby this time? Haven’t you thought about causing trouble for others?”]

During her entire pregnancy, she kept being scolded by the head nurse. She was told she was causing trouble at work by mixing up the order.

[Another nurse who experienced a pregnancy order system: The head nurse kept hassling me saying, “Give me an alternative,” up until the day I gave birth to my child. This is a huge ethical issue for pregnant women and the protection of motherhood.]

The so-called “pregnancy order system” is an open secret among nurses.

If high rank officials at a hospital give a tacit order such as, “The head nurse must set up a pregnancy order system so as not to make any trouble,” nurses who are planning to have a baby must decide on the order of their pregnancies amongst themselves.

One nurse even had a secret abortion for fear of being held responsible when she became pregnant out of turn.

[Nurse who terminated her pregnancy: It’s a sad story. How can the head nurse put up with a nurse who is having morning sickness? I had an abortion after 12 weeks.]

Results of a survey from the National Health and Medical Treatment Labor Union show that 1 out of 5 nurses has experienced this pregnancy order system.

Nurses work an average of 10 hours a day, and 22% of pregnant nurses said they had worked overtime.

The rate of miscarriage or abortion has reached 18.7%.

Shortages in the labor force and irregular working hours such as working 3 shifts in a row, leading to overnight work, has led to the immoral practice of using a pregnancy order system.

[Ji-hyun, Yoo/Chairperson of the National Health and Medical Treatment Labor Union: What is needed are practical, dynamic policies for the protection of motherhood and more recruitment.

Though supporting childbirth has become a national goal, hospitals are risking violating human rights by limiting the right to pregnancy and childbirth.

Comments from Daum:


This is so inhumane. I’m shocked to know this kind of thing is happening.


Saenuri Party is killing children and then supporting multiculturalism.


Korea is an uncivilized country without hope where the value of life is ignored.


This country is full of insane people. This is why there is a shortage of nurses. Who wants to work in that environment? They should stop saying “have a baby” and make an environment good for having a baby,eo-hyu.


This news comes out regularly from few years ago. But there’s nothing about change or alternatives. It’s just the same story as always.


Korea is the most underdeveloped of countries, caring only about appearances.


If someone is pregnant, she is legally not allowed to work overtime or at night. Instead of hiring a substitutive worker, hospitals let other workers do [the extra work] themselves, which has caused this situation.


Is this the reality Korean hospitals meant to treat people?


This is all because there are only idiots at the Ministry of Health and Welfare. If a hospital can’t meet the standard of hiring workers, the National Health Insurance Corporation and Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service is supposed to cut the budget of the hospital. Even when a hospital can’t meet the hiring standard due to pregnancy and childbirth of its doctors and nurses, these two corporations don’t regard those cases as exceptions. That’s why hospital owners give shit to female doctors and nurses when they get pregnant or give birth. If someone from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, National Health Insurance Corporation and Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service gets pregnant, I hope she will be treated the same way they treat others.


Women are their own worst enemies.


This is when temporary workers are needed. This shit country only hires temporary workers when it wants to spend less on hiring. I heard temporary workers in other countries get paid more than in Korea.


Many high school students choose the Department of Nursing Science at university after finishing their [Korean] SAT. It’s easy for them to get a job in a big hospital in Seoul or the nearest big city even if they graduated from a non-Seoul university or a professional college. Why do they choose to be nurses? They ignore the fact that when it is easy to get a job, it means the turnover rate is high!


It said this is a tacit order from high ranking officials at hospitals. Read the article before writing a comment. It isn’t a problem of only women or nurses. The basic problem is that high ranking officials shift their own responsibility onto the weak for their own benefit.


I know it hardly happens but let’s say there are 10 female workers in a company where at least 8 people are needed for the business. But if 5 out of 10 women get pregnant, who is supposed to work? If you’ve ever had an office job, you know that when one or two workers have a day off, it is a hard week for the others. If workers have a holiday for months, the people left in the office are really struggling. I understand the situation is unethical but I don’t think we can blame workers. Instead, higher ranking officials who don’t improve this situation should be blamed.


A pregnancy order system? I think Korea is the only country in the entire world that has this system. I’m speechless. How could this sort of thing happen? Nurses must have followed the rules because they were afraid of losing their jobs. Even if treatment towards women workers in Korea is better than before, it’s got a long way to go. If they want to be treated well, women need professinal jobs. Any other job won’t be respected.

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»