Japan Mulling New Paternity Leave Scheme

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 30 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s labor ministry is considering introducing a new leave scheme for men whose wives have just given birth, as many new fathers in the country remain reluctant to take leave under the current system.

On Tuesday, a subcommittee of the Labor Policy Council, which advises the labor minister, began discussing the new scheme’s introduction, with the aim of promoting men’s involvement in child-rearing and encouraging women to continue working.

Following the subcommittee’s discussions, the government plans to submit to next year’s ordinary session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, a bill to amend related laws to introduce the proposed paternity leave system.

Under the labor standards law, women are given maternity leave of six weeks prior to childbirth and eight weeks after their babies are born. In addition, parents, regardless of gender, can take child care leave until their children reach the age of one in principle, based on the child care and family care leave law.

Men, however, have tended to be reluctant to take child care leave, due to uncertainties about their incomes and pressures from their workplaces. Also behind the reluctance are aspects of the existing child care leave system that make it inconvenient, such as the need to apply for the leave at least a month in advance and a ban on breaking up the leave period into short blocs.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press