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Japan considers making promotion of paternity leave mandatory for companies: Nikkei

31 Comments

Japan is considering making it mandatory for companies to recommend employees take paternity leave, the Nikkei said on Thursday, as the government looks to boost the birthrate by making it easier for families to balance work and child-rearing.

Although Japan has one of the most generous parental leave policies in the world, just 7% of eligible fathers take childcare leave, according to government data, far short of a national target of 30% by 2025.

Under the plan, companies would be obliged to inform their employees that men can take paternity leave if they wish to, the Nikkei said. Managers would confirm in person whether employees want to, it said.

The changes will be included in a bill to change the current law on childcare, which is set to be debated in parliament next year.

Companies are already obliged to let employees take leave if they wish to do so, but the new proposal would put a larger duty on the company to encourage workers to take time off, the Nikkei said.

A labour ministry official told Reuters that there were ongoing discussions on how to raise the number of fathers who take paternity leave, without elaborating further.

The government is trying to end the stigma around men taking paternity leave. In January Shinjiro Koizumi, the environment minister, made headlines when he said he would take two weeks of leave over three months.

Looking to boost the low birthrate in a country with one of the world's most elderly populations, new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has already pushed to make infertility treatments covered under health insurance.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

31 Comments
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These are all empty promises. They're not even worth writing an article about them (what happened to "Premium Friday"?). Even taking a week off is frowned upon in Japanese companies. They may not disapprove your application, but you will see the hate in your coworkers eyes and you will be ostracized. They will make you learn the lesson silently. Now imagine taking paternity leave for a couple of months!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Japan is considering making it mandatory for companies to recommend 

But not actually mandatory to take it:

"Suzuki-kun, legally we have to recommend you take time off for your wife and new child, but what about our customers?"

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Dont' do it, more war on businesses.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Even if people would take it they just take the minimum due to pressure from their superior and their coworker. Other way if it happened, it will just becoming another teleworking which not really a leave, things that already normal in today environment after pandemic.

If those employee really insist to take there will be consequence, like happened before

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/11/02/national/social-issues/tokyo-single-father-takes-paternity-harassment-case-mitsubishi-ufj-morgan-stanley-securities-co/

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Dont' do it, more war on businesses.

What are you talking about? You can’t seriously be claiming the Japanese government is trying to harm business given taxes are how the government funds its initiatives.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

With no penalty, as above Premium Friday's social training that will never let a birth of a child upset the office environment or God forbid upsetting a customer. Never happen, good luck with that plummeting birth rate.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Another article about another misguided plan to make life easier for the parents. I have yet to see one idea from the government to try to make life better for the children. This is the reason, from talking to many friends and colleagues, why people aren't having children - they don't want to raise children in Japan. Many Japanese people I know did not particularly enjoy their childhood and don't have many fond memories (going to over-crowded run-down schools, rigidity and forced conformity, bullying, overloaded with schoolwork, clubs and naraigoto, hardly seeing their fathers...). Some of them boarder on PTSD from childhood. Nobody wants to bring a child into a system and culture that has not changed for 75 years and probably will not change for 75 more. Find ways to make life better for children and people will want to bring them in to this world.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Great initiative, should it actually go ahead and not be another idea that never gets implemented.

Japan needs these initiatives to increase birth rate as, without it, Japan risks to not even be on the top 10 economies... sooner than we might think.

Along with this, embracing immigration is also needed, whether you like it or not.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

recommend

That word. Recommend. The issue has never been companies recommending paternity leave or a lack of knowledge about paternity leave. The major issue has always been the repercussions of taking paternity leave.

For men that take it, it tends to take them off the track for future promotions. It can lead to getting demoted. All your previously stellar employee reviews suddenly become less than adequate.

Solutions need to be found and changes need to be made that directly deal with those unfair repercussions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

mandatory for companies to “recommend”. Maybe they should urge companies....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Urge, makes me hot, but not do anything else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is mandatory to stop at yellow traffic lights too, in Japan yet nobody does...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The problem is if they do they take the leave, they will be overloaded with work as they return and possibly get bonus cut.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan is considering making it mandatory for companies to recommend employees take paternity leave

companies have to just recommend?Not force?

If companies just recommend it, it’ll be hard for business men to easily take the leave

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Looking to boost the low birthrate

as if Japan companies comply with the law....

you mean the concern is to increase tax payers! suicides and depressions are all over the place here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The problem is if they do they take the leave, they will be overloaded with work as they return and possibly get bonus cut.

I've had a staff person on leave for months. Impossible to leave the post unoccupied while this person was away. I suspect this is true of most businesses.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is mandatory to stop at yellow traffic lights too, in Japan yet nobody does...

It's even mandatory to stop at red lights too in Japan, but the first 2 or 3 cars never do.

To quote myself: I'll believe it when I see it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If the government ever gets around to making companies promote paternity leave, most companies’ HR departments will send out a memo saying paternity leave is available.

There it will end.

Unless they do it the Koizumi way: one day or half a day off every other week until he uses up ten days. And even then telework on the full days he has ‘off.’

Also, a couple of men at a company I’m familiar with have said their wives and their mothers-in-law don’t want them underfoot while they are busy taking care of the new baby.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oh this will work,,,,,Great for your future at that job.

See you guys, Thanks for doing my work for the next 3 months.......Comes backs to work, by the way everyone, my wife is pregnant again :))

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is considering making it mandatory for companies to recommend employees take paternity leave, the Nikkei said on Thursday, as the government looks to boost the birthrate by making it easier for families to balance work and child-rearing.

and then this

Under the plan, companies would be obliged to inform their employees that men can take paternity leave if they wish to, the Nikkei said. Managers would confirm in person whether employees want to, it said.

There is a big difference between recommending paternity leave, and a boss tapping the someone on the shoulder and telling them begrudgingly that they are eligible to take it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Also, a couple of men at a company I’m familiar with have said their wives and their mothers-in-law don’t want them underfoot while they are busy taking care of the new baby.

Japanese men can be really good salaryman but where they are in home, will they be really useful or just becoming other burden for their wife.

So their wife not only taking care of baby but also taking care of husband, when husband is at home.

After some years after marriage those couple already becoming different people, just wait until retirement age where finally they need to be stay again in home as actual husband and wife, will they get along? Especially now wife really need to take care husband all the time during retirement age.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/kuchikomi/divorce-among-elderly-couples-surging

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan is considering making it mandatory.

Hopefully there will be 6 meetings to decide this first.

No need for immediate actions on something that should have been done about 30 years ago.

What's another 6- to 9 months?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A woman recently told me that she was looking to have her first child.

Then she found out how much hospitals charge for such procedures. Which was an absurd cost.

Maybe the government should look into hospital fees and work with insurance companies first. There may be one of the bigger issues with low childbirth.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many Japanese people I know did not particularly enjoy their childhood

....... but it was a veritable Disneyland compared to what was in store down the track.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It still doesn't mean that companies will have to mandate it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Like all laws, it depends on how everyone interprets it, but it is a step in the right direction. Basically, it forces companies to be positive about the granting of paternity leave. Bosses may not utter phrases like "but what about our customers?" because if they are recorded that would be taking away from the recommendation and can be used against the company in court. Extending things a bit, it may prevent things like the Morgan Stanley incident, because all the bureaucratic roadblocks they placed in his way in itself be considered against the idea that they actually encourage the taking of parental leave.

At the very least, it seems the government realizes that companies are not taking the hint from previous changes to the law, and are reinforcing the message. In the long run, it is in Japan's interests to have more babies. Maybe this one will actually stick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The changes will be included in a bill to change the current law on childcare, which is set to be debated in parliament next year.

So what other great ideas do they have to change the current law on childcare?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Long overdue.

If you don't make it mandatory people won't use it!

We've seen attempts in the past failed because workers don't use it unless it's mandatory.

Nobody wants to inconvenience the company, look lazy, or have their future promotion at risk. Making it mandatory is the only way to fix this issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That would be a horror story for many women. I used to live for the moment my husband left for work, and my heart sank when he returned home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The changes will be included in a bill to change the current law on childcare, which is set to be debated in parliament next year.

This is the only thing that really bothers me about the change itself. Why does it have to take so long for stuff just to be debated? We’re talking about three whole months here, what’s the hold up?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ReasonandWisdomNippon

Long overdue. 

If you don't make it mandatory people won't use it!

We've seen attempts in the past failed because workers don't use it unless it's mandatory. 

Nobody wants to inconvenience the company, look lazy, or have their future promotion at risk. Making it mandatory is the only way to fix this issue.

You know, until reading your comment, I was actually against making it mandatory, since it seems awfully intrusive onto peoples personal lives. Because of the arguments in your comment, I’m now for it. And it does make perfect sense, I’ve heard about some stuff like that in the past about attitudes in a Japanese workplace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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