Japanese Child and Family Amendments to keep parents in the workforce. New amendments are designed to address the increasing numbers of working parents exiting the workplace as childcare demands become too onerous. Beginning in October 2022, important enhancements to speed of access to child care leave, the flexibility of periods allowed and also paternity leave come into effect. These amendments follow a substantial revision completed and announced in April 2022.
Verse Corporation publishes articles on timely issues in Japanese Social Welfare and Labour Law.
The sources of recent news and information from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) website are mostly in Japanese. However, there is an English MHLW site that provides some basic information. As with all social welfare and labour law matters in Japan, however, please seek out professional Sharoushi support to ensure you and your company remains in compliance.
Background and the April 2022 Amendments
Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has been busy revising and updating Child and Family Care legislation for several years. In part, this is due to the changing demographics and lifestyle dynamics impacting the country. Certainly, during the COVID19 pandemic, it has attempted to address the added strain on families.
In April the Ministry introduced this amendment as follows:
“For a safe and sustainable society, the issue of having to choose between work and childbirth/childcare (or work and providing care to a loved one) and then establishing a manageable work-life balance needs to be addressed. With this in mind, the Act on Childcare Leave/Caregiver Leave promotes support for those working individuals to accommodate both their home and work needs, whose time is constrained due childcare or providing care to family members.”
A comprehensive pamphlet outlining the Act on Childcare/Leave Caregiver Leave, updated in April 2022, is found here. https://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/koyoukintou/pamphlet/dl/02_en.pdf
The new legislation introduced a four-week paternity leave and added more flexibility to existing parental leave entitlements. Fixed-term employees became allowed to take child care and family leave immediately after being hired (vs. after one year of service as previously the case) unless otherwise stated in a collective bargaining agreement. Employers were now also required to actively inform their employees about their child care leave entitlement and take measures to encourage employees to take their child care leave.
New Amendments In Effect As Of October 2022
As provided by the MHLW, a comprehensive outline, in Japanese, on the amendments is found here. https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/11600000/000838696.pdf
The Ministry also lists these additional resources for companies and employees
For more information, please contact your nearest Prefectural Labor Bureau or Hello Work.
List of Hello Work locations nationwide: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/kyujin/hwmap.html
Highlights include permission to take child care leave in either one or two separate installments, instead of only currently. Leave may be taken consecutively up to the child’s first birthday and requires a shorter application period of two weeks instead of the one month now required.
Regarding paternity leave, Male employees will be entitled to a paid paternity leave (amount yet TBD) of up to four weeks that may be taken within the eight weeks following the childbirth, subject to a two weeks’ notice to their employer. Further, Male employees will be able to take paternity leave as a single uninterrupted period or split it into two periods. Again, such child care leave entitlement can be taken twice in separate installments. Paternity leave benefits will be payable by the Japanese social security at the same rate as maternity leave (67% of salary).
Looking ahead, as of April 2023, employers with over 1,000 employees will have to disclose the amount of leave taken by each of their employees.
The following is translated by Verse to provide as accurate a summary as possible, while omitting certain details that may be confusing.
To those who are planning to take childcare leave and to employers who are applying for childcare leave benefits, the childcare leave benefit system will be changed from October 2022. Childcare leave benefits will be provided for “split childcare leave” and postpartum parental leave.
Due to the revision of the Child Care and Family Care Leave Law, the system of dividing childcare leave into two installments (up to two times) and the system of postpartum paternity leave (childcare leave at birth) will be enforced from October 2022.
In accordance with these changes, the following changes will be made to the Childcare Leave benefits.
- Split Childcare Leave
In principle, employees will be entitled to receive childcare leave benefits for up to two childcare leaves for a child under one year of age. In principle, the third and subsequent childcare leave will not be eligible for benefits.
However, if any of the following exceptions apply, you may be exempted from this limitation on the number of times you can take childcare leave. In addition, if there is a reason for extending childcare leave and a couple takes childcare leave in turn (extended leave), each couple can receive childcare leave benefits only once for each of the periods from 1 year to 1 year and 6 months and from 1 year and 6 months to 2 years of age.
When childcare leave ends due to the start of maternity leave, childcare leave, or nursing care leave for another family member, and the new leave ends due to the death of the child or family member.
When a spouse who is taking care of a child under one year of age who is eligible for Child Care Leave is no longer able to take care of the child due to death, injury, etc., or because the spouse no longer lives with the child due to dissolution of marriage, etc.
When a child under one year of age who is the subject of a request for childcare leave becomes in need of care for a period of two weeks or longer due to injury, illness, etc.
When a child under one year of age who is the subject of the request for Childcare Leave wishes to be taken care of at a daycare center, etc. and an application has been made, but the daycare service will not be provided for the time being.
Exceptional circumstances for other family member & Exceptional circumstances for other child. Please note that if you fall under any exceptional reasons, please state so on the application form when applying for benefits. If you do not indicate this, you will be counted toward the limit on the number of times you can receive benefits (application form is under preparation. The application form is currently being prepared and will be announced shortly). If necessary, we may confirm the fact with the employer or the applicant.
- Postpartum father’s childcare leave (childcare leave at birth)
A postnatal father childcare leave system will be established that will allow employees to take up to 4 weeks of leave within 8 weeks of the birth of their child.
When you take Postpartum Childcare Leave, you will be entitled to receive Childcare Leave Benefits at the time of birth. For details of Postpartum Father’s Childcare Leave, please refer to “Guide to Revised Points of the Child Care and Family Care Leave Law” at the MHLW website.
The number of working days during the leave period must be at least 80 hours or more.
The number of working days during the leave period must be less than 10 days (if more than 10 days, the number of working hours must be less than 80 hours)
The number of days and hours for a 28-day leave of absence. If it is shorter than 28 days, the number of days will be reduced in proportion to the number of days.
(e.g.) 14 days of absence → Maximum 5 days (40 hours if exceeding 5 days) 10 days of absence → Maximum 4 days (28 hours if exceeding 4 days)
[10 days x 10/28 = 3.57 (round up fractions) → 4 days].
Amount to be paid
Daily wage at the start of leave (in principle, the amount obtained by dividing the wage for the six months prior to the start of childcare leave by 180) × number of days paid × 67%
The number of days paid will be counted toward the maximum number of 180 days, which is the upper limit of 67% of the childcare leave benefit payment rate.
From the day following 8 weeks after the date of birth*4 until the end of the month 2 months after the date of birth.
Example: Birth on October 15, 2022 → Application must be made by the end of February 2023.
If the child is born before the expected date of birth, the application must be filed by the expected date of birth.
Note that the application can be made up to twice in installments, but it must be made in a single application. Please note that the application must be made in a single application.
- Other changes
The period of insured coverage that is required for the payment and the calculation of the monthly wage at the start of the leave, which determines the amount of the payment, will be changed for the first time only.
The calculation of the monthly wage at the time of the start of leave to determine the amount of benefits will only be performed when the childcare leave is taken for the first time. Therefore, these procedures are not required for the second and subsequent childcare leave. The second and subsequent childcare leaves do not require these procedures.
If you have already taken postnatal childcare leave, this will be the first time you take leave. If you take childcare leave after that, you do not need to follow these procedures.
If you take more than one leave in a short period of time, for example, if you take postnatal childcare leave and childcare leave in succession, please apply for the leave you took first.
If you have taken multiple leaves of absence in a short period of time, such as postnatal leave and childcare leave, please apply for the first one you took.
Topic: Japanese Child and Family Amendments to keep parents in the workforce.