Josephine Teo on week-long trip to South Korea, Denmark

Mrs Teo, who oversees population matters, will study how each country encourages marriage and parenthood. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo begins a week-long trip to South Korea and Denmark on Monday to study how each country encourages marriage and parenthood.

Mrs Teo, who oversees population matters, will meet with government officials in charge of population, employment and family issues.

In South Korea, her first stop, she will meet South Korean Minister of Health and Welfare Chung Chin Youb and Minister of Employment and Labour Lee Ki-kweon.

In Denmark, she will meet the Danish Minister for Finance Claus Hjort Frederiksen and State Secretary for Foreign Policy Lone Dencker Wisborg.

During her trip, she will also visit childcare centres and businesses with family-friendly practices.

Like Singapore, both Denmark and South Korea have developed economies and low birth rates.

Singapore introduced paternity leave in 2013 and has since expanded the scheme to give new dads two weeks of paid paternity leave. However, not many make use of it, and the Government is on a push to encourage take-up of paternity leave, especially in the private sector.

In Singapore, about four in 10 fathers take paternity leave, and about 5 per cent take some shared parental leave.

Last week, Ms Teo wrote in a Facebook post that while both Denmark and South Korea have generous leave provisions for fathers, the take-up rates differ immensely.

In Denmark, almost two in three fathers take some form of paternity leave and one in four take shared parental leave. But less than 1 per cent of South Korean fathers take either of these types of leave.

She said this was due to the different social norms of each country.

She added: "We will do more in Singapore to support daddies who wish to play an active role in raising their children. It may be one of the best gifts to working mums."

Mrs Teo will be accompanied by a delegation from the National Population and Talent Division and the National Trades Union Congress on her trip.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.