The new paternity leave program in Japan


The new paternity leave program in Japan

Although Japan is known for having one of the most generous paternity-leave packages in the world, which is a full year, it is still uncommon for male employees in Japan to take paternity leave here, and the percentage of male employees taking paternity leave is quite low in Japan, which is only around 6 to 7%.

To solve this social issue, the Labor Ministry of Japan considers making it mandatory for companies to recommend employees take paternity leave, as many male employees in Japan remain reluctant to take leave under the current system. The main purpose of this measure is to boost the birthrate by making it easier for families to balance their work life and parenting.


So, why Japanese males don’t take paternity leave? 

Policy and cultural norms play big roles when it comes to who takes parental leave, and in Japan, culture has the more powerful force and plays the biggest part. Many Japanese males remain reluctant to take leave under the current system, because taking paternity leave is more likely to reduce promotion possibilities in the future.


Taking paternity leave shows that a man values his private life more than his work, and those who get promoted usually put work as a priority and work for long hours. Also, they would likely to get unfair treatment when they return to the office after taking paternity leave.


What kind of unfair treatment did they get?


Several male employees have filed lawsuits against their employers for receiving unfair treatment. One of them mentioned that he was moved from a sales-and-marketing position into a warehouse job, where he had to do manual tasks, and after he got a shoulder injury, he was assigned to a different desk job he has no expertise in.


How will this new program work?


The Labor Ministry of Japan plans to submit a bill to amend related laws to introduce the proposed paternity leave program. The new program will make it easier for men to take leave for child raising and parenting, because the companies would be obliged to inform and encourage their employees that men can take paternity leave if they wish to.


Why you should  take paternity leave if you can? 

Raising a newborn baby is not easy, and many women tend to have postpartum blues after giving a birth. It is very common for women to experience this, and it usually begins shortly after childbirth.


If you care about your wife and your family, it would be better for you to take paternity leave to make sure that the child is well-raised, and the mother is also mentally stable.


What to do if your company will not let you take the paternity leave

You should consider changing your job if your employer won’t let you take the paternity leave, because even before the new program was proposed, male employees are already privileged to take paternity leave up to one year to focus on parenting.