Record high: Number of male employees taking paternity leave in Japan

Government wants 85% of men with a child to take paternity leave by fiscal 2030

Record high: Number of male employees taking paternity leave in Japan

A record number of men took childcare leave in Japan in fiscal 2022 as the government continues to encourage them to take days off amid low birth rates.

A survey from Japan's Labour Ministry found that 17.13% of men took paternity leave in 2022, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

The survey was carried out among 6,300 workplaces with at least five employees, where the ministry received responses from 53%.

According to the survey, the financial and insurance sector had the highest ratio of men taking paternity leave at 37.28%, while the wholesaling and retailing sectors had the lowest with 8.42%.

Organisations with bigger workforces also had more men taking leave, the report found.

By size, workplaces with more than 500 employees had 25.36% of male employees taking childcare leave, according to The Asahi Shimbun report. For organisations with employees between five and 29, the ratio was at 11.15%.

Taking paternity leave

The findings come as Japan is hoping to see 85% of male employees with a child to take paternity leave in fiscal 2030 to address the country's falling birth rate.

In 2022, the number of babies born in Japan sunk to a new record low for the seventh consecutive year, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida issuing a grim warning that the country's young population will decline at twice the current rate in the 2030s.

"The next six to seven years will be the last chance to turn around the declining birth rate," he said as quoted by Kyodo News.

Among the efforts implemented by the government include establishing a paternity leave programme that grants male employees up to four weeks of leave within eight weeks after a child is born, Japan News reported.

In April this year, the government also began making organisations publish their ratio of male employees taking paternity leave.

So far, however, only 33.4% of 4,409 surveyed firms complied since the instruction was issued in April, according to the ministry survey.

For organisations mandated to release their paternity leave ratios by the end of June, 86.8% had already published theirs or were planning to.

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