Japan Data

Only 7.5% of Japanese Men Take Childcare Leave in Fiscal 2019

Society Economy

Nearly three decades have elapsed since Japan enacted a system for childcare leave in 1991, but less than 10% of men are taking time off.

Just 7.48% of Japanese men took childcare leave in fiscal 2019, a year-on-year increase of 1.32 percentage points, according to the Basic Survey on Employment issued by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. Among women, the rate rose year-on-year by 0.8 percentage points to 83.0%. While both figures went up, the rate for men remains low.

The survey was sent to 6,029 businesses nationwide that have at least five employees, and 3,460 valid responses were received. It aimed to find out for births between October 2017 and September 2018, what percentage of working mothers and fathers had started taking childcare leave by October 2019.

In 2004, the rate for taking childcare leave among men and women was 0.56% and 70.6%, respectively, rising to 1.72% and 85.6% 10 years ago in 2009. The ministry says that between those two periods, the paternity leave system was upgraded through measures that included extending the period of leave if both parents took it, and increasing childcare leave benefits.

In fiscal 2019, 93.2% of businesses with 30 or more employees had childcare leave systems, which is the same level as in fiscal 2017, while 79.1% of businesses with 5 or more employees had enacted them, 4.1 percentage points higher than in fiscal 2017. A more detailed breakdown according to organizational size reveals that the larger the organization, the more likely it is to have a childcare leave system. The rates according to company size are as follows: 99.8% for 500 or more employees, 98.8% for 100–499 employees, 91.9% for 30–99 employees, and 76.1% for 5–29 employees.

The survey results also showed up to what age the childcare leave systems cover. The majority of businesses, at 56.7%, allowed employees to take leave for children until they are two years old, in accordance with Japanese law (as compared to 52.2% in fiscal 2017); 33.0% of business surveyed offered leave only up to a point under two years of age (as compared to 36.3%), and 7.5% allowed leave for children up to more than two, but less than three years old (as compared to 9.2%).

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © horiphoto/Pixta.)

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