More male employees in Japan took paternity leave in 2022

The financial and insurance sectors led in paternity leave uptake at 37.28%, while the hospitality and retailing showed modest 9.06% participation.
By: | August 15, 2023

Japan has witnessed a surge in men taking childcare leave, hitting a record high of 17.13% during the fiscal year 2022. This signifies progress in promoting gender equality in parenting roles, yet it falls short of the government’s 50% participation target by 2025 to boost the country’s birthrate.

Covering 6,300 workplaces with five or more employees, the labour ministry’s survey received responses from 53% of organisations. Leading sectors were financial and insurance, with 37.28% of male employees opting for paternity leave, followed by medical care and welfare at 25.99%.

However, some sectors reported less encouraging participation levels, with wholesaling and retailing displaying a modest 8.42% ratio, while hotel and restaurant services registered a participation rate of 9.06%.

Larger workplaces demonstrated greater uptake of paternity leave, with those housing over 500 employees showing a participation rate of 25.36%, compared to only 11.15% in workplaces with five to 29 employees.

READ MORE: More young fathers in Japan are prioritising family over work

Shifting focus to women, maternity leave remained strong at 80.2% but saw a dip of 4.9 percentage points from the previous year. A shortage of employees in smaller organisations likely caused this decline in maternity leave, according to the labour ministry.

Since April 2023, organisations with over 1,000 employees were mandated to disclose their paternity leave ratios. The labour ministry evaluated compliance, revealing only 33.4% of the 4,409 reviewed organisations reported these ratios. Among organisations required to release this data by the end of June, 86.8% had compiled or planned to do so, reported The Asahi Shimbun