Japan Data

Survey Finds Only 13.4% of Men in Japan Could Take Childcare Leave in 2020

Society Family Lifestyle

A survey by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation revealed that it is still difficult for men in the country to take childcare leave.

A survey by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) found that 13.4% of working men with small children took childcare leave in 2020, while 31.6% wanted to but were unable to.

The organization’s survey on men’s family responsibilities, including childcare, was conducted online in October 2020 targeting 500 men and 500 women nationwide aged between 20 and 59 with preschool children.

Compared with the 13.4% of men, 64.4% of women were able to take childcare leave. A previous survey in September 2019, of men only, found a ratio of 7.2%. Despite the significant increase, it is still evident that it is more difficult for men than women to take childcare leave.

Holidays/Leave Taken for Childcare Purposes by Working Fathers

2020 2019
Annual paid leave 40.0% 35.6%
Spouse childbirth leave 28.8% 24.6%
Child nursing care leave 15.4% 10.0%
Childcare leave 13.4% 7.2%
Time off in lieu 13.0% 11.7%
Leave of absence 3.4% 3.4%
Accumulated leave 1.2% 3.1%
Other 0.2% 0.0%
No holidays/leave for childcare 41.4% 45.6%

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Japanese Trade Union Confederation.

Of the respondents who said that they had wanted to take childcare leave, but could not, the ratio for men was higher (31.6%) than for women (24.7%). When asked why they had not been able to get leave, the most common answer for men was that there was nobody to cover for them at work (53.3%), while for women it was that their earnings would drop, meaning less guaranteed income (27.5%).

Among the men who were able to take childcare leave, 47.8% had to take fewer days than they hoped for and only 6.0% could take more. For women, 38.5% had to take fewer days, while 13.0% were able to take more. A further 46.3% of men and 48.4% of women took the exact number of days they requested.

When respondents were asked what kind of issues they had encountered after getting childcare leave, 34.3% of men and 68.6% of women said that their income had dropped. Other main issues included 22.4% of men and 7.8% of women not being able to take the number of days they wanted, while for 17.9% of men and 18.6% of women it created a gap in their résumé.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo © Zak/Pixta.)

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