Tweet of the Week #34: The Truth About Paternity Leave in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot
Tweet of the Week

On paper, Japan’s paternity leave sounds really, really great. The OECD even ranks Japan as an exemplary country thanks to what looks like one of the most progressive parental laws among the developed nations.

Broadly speaking, employees that have worked for the same company for at least a year are entitled to take up to one year of childcare paid leave. Yes, one full year. To keep the numbers simple, just know that for the first six months, the government will pay two-thirds of the employee’s monthly base salary, and half for the remaining six months. Not bad at all.

The real story

Sadly, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in 2018, only 6.16 percent of fathers actually dare to take paternity leave.

When they do, the average duration is 10 days.

This is actually not surprising at all given that Japan still considers men as the main provider for their family while practically tossing women out of their jobs as soon as they become mothers. It’s a sad reality embodied by the colloquial expression マタハラ (“mata-hara“) the short version of マタニティハラスメント, a combo of maternity and harassment, that surfaced in 2014.

The bad news is that now you can add パタハラ (“pata-hara“), short for パタニティハラスメント, paternity harassment, to the list of hot topics currently debated in Japan.

Just got a kid and built a new house? Congrats! We’re transferring you far, far away!

Yup. That’s a typical sneaky move from old-school Japanese “black” companies. When their male employees get a kid or buy a house, the higher-ups strategically transfer them out to another office. It’s a twisted way to show who’s boss, counting on the employee feeling stuck with all the costs associated with childcare. Because who would leave their jobs when they have a mortgage and family to …continue reading