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Paternity Leave in Japan: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Each country approaches employee benefits and entitlements differently, depending on how involved the government is in setting statutory minimums.  Employee leave periods away from work vary considerably between countries, and that includes paternity leave.

In general, paternity leave is time off for the father following the birth of their child, and in Japan the leave is statutory, although characterized differently as childcare leave.  If you are planning on hiring remote Japanese employees (or expats living there) you will want to know ahead of time the amount of paternity leave that is expected by new fathers.  The leave period is offered so that the father can assist with caring for the child, but could present a challenge to employers that rely on their services.

Who is entitled to paternity leave in Japan?

Paternity leave is actually called ‘childcare leave’ in Japan, and employees who are new fathers are entitled to this benefit.  The employee does not receive their salary while on leave unless stated in the employment contract, but they do receive a partial allowance from social security.  The result is that there is no cost to the employer, except for the temporary loss on an employee.

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How much time off do fathers receive for paternity leave?

Japan has one of the most generous paternity leave entitlements in the world, and a new father can take the leave indefinitely for up to one year after birth.  They can take the leave in two periods, with the first occurring within 8 weeks of birth. 

Despite this, only 7% of employees actually take the leave fearing reprisal, something the Japanese government plans to correct.  There is a bill being introduced that would limit the leave to two 2 week periods, taken within 8 weeks of birth, to make it more employer-friendly.

What is required from the employer?

The employer is required to inform the employee that paternity leave is available, and then if the employee wants to take it, the employer will submit the leave forms to Hello Work.  This is how the social security allowance would be made available.

Client Case: How much do employees receive for childcare allowance?

Context:

One of our clients with employees in Japan wanted more information about the childcare/paternity leave allowance, and what was required, and how much would be paid out by social security.

Solution:

We let them know that once the forms were submitted the leave allowance can be applied for.  The amount of the allowance will depend in part on the length of employment, but it is subject to a maximum amount.  In the first 180 days of leave, the maximum is 67% of base salary and 50% for days after that up to one year.  The allowance is exempt from social insurance contributions.

Do you need more information about Japan?

Employers who are new to Japan might have other questions such as:

Once the employee completes the second leave period, is the rest of the year forfeited?

How far in advance does an employee need to inform the employer of an impending birth and the potential for taking paternity leave?

Can a temporary replacement be hired for employees on long leave, without incurring any labor penalties?

These types of questions come up often with our clients as they work with us to remain in compliance when hiring foreign employees.  We assist with employment contracts, running payroll, and ensuring all legal entitlements are being offered. We make international employment simple.

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Looking to hire an employee in Japan? Get in touch.

 

The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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