Male employees in Japan encouraged to prioritise family over work

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has outlined potential measures to push for higher take-up of paternity leave among male employees in the country.
By: | March 23, 2023

To address Japan’s falling birth rate, Japan is aiming to increase the ratio of male employees taking childcare leave to 50% by 2025, before hitting a high of 85% in 2030.

Among the strategies outlined by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida include providing financial support to small businesses that pay a special allowance to employees who temporarily assume the work of colleagues on childcare leave.

The government will also raise the child-rearing allowance paid to parents for a certain period after the child’s birth. If both parents take childcare leave, the allowance would be increased to prevent a decrease in the take-home pay of the couple. A new programme will also extend the allowance to irregular employees, freelance workers, and the self-employed.

To further increase the income of child-rearing households, the government will also consider revising the program to support female employees working on a part-time basis to ensure they maintain their status as a dependent of their spouse or parents and not have to pay social security insurance premiums.

READ: Japan plans new family initiatives to support non-regular workers

Other measures revealed by Kishida include expanding current childcare allowances and setting up a new programme to subsidise housing expenses for child-rearing households.

In 2021, only 14% of male employees took childcare leave in Japan, although that pushed allowance payments to 645.6 billion yen (US$4.9 billion), a 2.5-fold increase over a decade ago, reported The Asahi Shimbun.