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Politics

Japan to step up paternity leave push

Targeting individual workers proved effective at labor ministry

The government envisions more fathers taking time off to care for newborns and young children.

TOKYO -- Employers in Japan will soon be asked to encourage individual workers to take parental leave, a step targeting mainly fathers.

Current law requires employers to inform workers that they are entitled to leave to care for young children or seniors. But even many who already know end up not taking advantage. The rule will be strengthened to spur workers into taking time off through one-on-one encouragement, starting in October.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare hopes that such efforts will help create an atmosphere conducive to people using the parental leave available to them.

The government aims to lift the percentage of paternity leave takers to 13% by 2020. A fiscal 2015 survey put it at just 2.65%.

Labor Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki himself has encouraged ministry staffers to go on paternity leave since 2015. This apparently helped boost the percentage to 29.9% that year from the 12.1% of 2014.

The legislative revision would also extend the maximum length of parental leave to two years and institute a new type of parental leave that can be used to care for children not yet in elementary school.

(Nikkei)

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