Japanese father sues Asics over parental rights

Japan's employment policies under spotlight after personnel worker was sent to work in warehouse after returning from paternal leave.
By: | September 17, 2019
Topics: Employment Law | Japan | News

A male employee is suing sportswear maker Asics Corporation for alleged mistreatment after he took paternity leave. The case has put the spotlight on gender equality and workers’ rights in Japan.

The 38-year-old man claims he was harassed by Asics after taking parental leave in 2015 and 2018. This is a legal right for all workers in Japan but rarely used by men.

Japan’s parental leave policies are among the world’s most generous, providing men and women partial-paid leave of up to a year. However, few men take it.

The man says he was transferred to a warehouse operated by an Asics subsidiary after he returned from his first paternity leave, which involved carrying and unloading heavy boxes. His previous role was desk-based, working in the personnel department.

Asics said it had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the worker’s legal and union representatives, and “looks forward to making the truth clear” in court.

Only 6% cent of eligible fathers took childcare leave last year in Japan. This is way off the 13% target set by the government for 2020.