Japan City Encourages Male Childcare Leave In SMEs


The municipal administration of Tsukuba, Japan announced that they would be offering incentives to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the city where male employees are eligible to take at least 14 days off in an attempt to encourage more men to utilise childcare leave.

The programme, the first of its type in Ibaraki Prefecture, will open for applications in November. Eligible employees must be male Tsukuba residents who work for a small business with a local office. They must also take at least 14 days of childcare leave beginning in October 2023 and work for at least one month after returning to work.

The program’s application period will conclude in March 2024.

Related link: Maybank Singapore To Provide Better Paternity Leave Benefits

Therefore, the number of days of childcare leave taken will determine the amount of compensation given. For 14-27 days, the rate is 100,000 yen (US$660) whereas for 84 days or more, the rate is 400,000 yen (US$2,600). In case a substitute employee is needed, the Mainichi claims that 50% of the spending, up to 100,000 yen, will be added to the total incentive bonus.

This proposal follows on the heels of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare announcing intentions to grant subsidies to SMEs that pay allowances to employees who cover for colleagues on maternity leave.

“The smaller the organisation, the less likely the culture will treat men taking childcare leave as a given,” stated Tatsuo Igarashi, Mayor of Tsukuba. We hope that by offering assistance as a government, organisations would see this and allow male employees to take vacation without fear of causing problems for others.”

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