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Business News/ News / World/  Why are Japanese dads afraid to take paternity leaves even as govt encourage it?
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Why are Japanese dads afraid to take paternity leaves even as govt encourage it?

Despite the fact that men are entitled to four weeks of flexible paternity leave at up to 80% of their salary, they fear negative effects on their promotion prospects

Recently, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida series of policies to encourage more men to take paternity leave with a goal to raise the percentage of male workers taking paternity leave from 14% to 50% by 2025 and 85% by 2030. (Reuters)Premium
Recently, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida series of policies to encourage more men to take paternity leave with a goal to raise the percentage of male workers taking paternity leave from 14% to 50% by 2025 and 85% by 2030. (Reuters)

Japan's government is promoting measures to reverse the low birth rate and population crisis, including increasing child support and encouraging more men to take paternity leave. However, despite the goal of raising the percentage of male workers taking paternity leave, many new fathers are sceptical. Here is all you need to know. 

Why new fathers are afraid to take paternity leave? 

Recently, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida series of policies to encourage more men to take paternity leave with a goal to raise the percentage of male workers taking paternity leave from 14% to 50% by 2025 and 85% by 2030.

However, some in Japan are skeptical that these policies will be effective. Makoto Iwahashi, a member of a labor union for younger workers, stated that while the government's plan is well-intentioned, many Japanese men are afraid to take paternity leave due to potential repercussions from their employers. 

Despite the fact that men are entitled to four weeks of flexible paternity leave at up to 80% of their salary, they fear negative effects on their promotion prospects or being reassigned to a different position with fewer responsibilities.

Iwahashi also noted that discrimination against workers who take parental leave is illegal in Japan, but those on fixed-term contracts are particularly vulnerable. 

And anyway, “A little tweak on paternity leave won’t significantly change a declining birth rate," Iwahashi told CNN.

Hisakazu Kato, an economics professor at Meiji University in Tokyo, also pointed out that smaller companies still have reservations about accepting parental leave. 

“Small companies are afraid they will face (worker shortages) due to childcare leave, and this puts pressure on young fathers who want to take childcare leave in future," he said.

At a recent press conference, the prime minister acknowledged these concerns and promised to consider providing allowances for small and medium-sized enterprises. He also unveiled a plan to encourage firms to disclose their performance in terms of paternity leave uptake.

Last Chance…: Kishida on reversing Japan's population crisis

In 2022, the number of new births in Japan dipped below 800,000 for the first time since records began in 1899, the latest milestone in a trend that the government sees as increasingly alarming. Last week, Kishida went as far as to warn that “the next six to seven years will be the last chance to reverse the declining birthrate trend".

 

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Published: 27 Mar 2023, 07:10 PM IST
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