Japanese employees are less eager to take parental leave, with last year’s figures dropping 4 percent compared to the year before. According to a Health Ministry survey, the number of mothers who opted to take the maternity leave dropped by four percent in 2012, to 83 percent.
According to the same study quoted by the media, only 1.89 percent of fathers took paternity leave, which is 0.74 percentage points lower than in 2011.
The Japanese law allows the parents to take one year off work after their child is born.
Ministry officials suspect that the drop in numbers is a sign of the mothers’ insecurity about their employment. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, there has been an employment crisis in northeastern Japan.
Also the ministry officials said that they want to encourage men to take more paternity leave.
The revision of the Child Care and Family Care Leave Law was implemented last year and it obliges companies to give employees shorter working hours until their children reach the age of 3.
In reality, only 58 percent of the companies apply these rules. Ministry officials said that they will start a campaign to encourage companies to follow the recommendation.