Japan’s National Personnel Authority (NPA) is set to take a survey of employed fathers and their opinion and usage of the parental leave program. The survey will mostly concentrate on men employed by government agencies, but it is a step by the Japanese government to push more fathers to use their leaves and spend more time with the family after the birth of a child. The NPA thinks that if the fathers are encouraged to spend more time with the family at this crucial time, it would make it easier for the mothers to return to work early, as revealed by sources close to the matter.
The survey that the NPA plans to do will cover some 5,000 fathers at public agencies who specifically did not use the parental leave and find out their reasons why they chose to skip using the time off. In the Japanese employment system, those who are employed at government agencies are entitled to parental leave until the child turns 3. The NPA says that while over 90 percent of mothers take advantage of this leave program, only 4 percent of fathers did so in the fiscal year ended in March 2012. Women take child care leave for an average of 14.6 months. Around 40 percent of the men who did take the leave returned to work after less than a month – and some of the reasons were about losing income or lack of support in the office. By looking at these specific issues, the NPA is looking to improve working environments in government offices, as well as make marked improvements in the parental leave program.
The study will begin in October and the NAP hopes to publish results by March, when the current fiscal year ends. The Japanese government had pointed out in its plan for gender equality adopted in 2010 that it will try to make ways and increase the ratio of male bureaucrats who take parental leave to 13 percent by 2020. The government hopes that by promoting a work environment that encourages fathers at to take parental leave, the effect will trickle over to the private sector, whose rates are also below the ideal rate being pursued by the government.
[via Japan Times]