Mères qui Travaillent - Japan

Does the Law have provisions on maternity leave? Yes
What is the duration of maternity leave? 14.0 weeks
Who pays for maternity leave? Government
Does the law require that workers be protected from dismissals during the term of pregnancy and maternity leave? Yes
Does the law provide for the right to return to same position after availing maternity leave? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant and nursing workers must not be engaged in harmful work? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant workers be provided free ante and post natal medical care? Yes
Does the law provide for breastfeeding breaks for nursing mothers? Yes
What is the duration of breastfeeding breaks, as provided by the law? One hour
Does the law require parental leave for parents? Yes
Does the law provide for paid or unpaid parental leave? Paid
Who pays for parental leave? Government
Does the law require that parents with minor children or workers with other family responsibilities be provided with flexible time or part time work options? Yes

To comply with international standards, maternity leave duration should be at least 14 weeks and during maternity leave workers should be paid at least 67% of their wage.


More about maternity leave:

Maternity leave is provided under the Labour Standards Act. The normal duration of maternity leave is 14 weeks (6 weeks pre-natal and 8 weeks post-natal, of which 6 weeks is compulsory leave). In the event of multiple births, maternity leave can start 14 weeks prior to the expected date of birth (thus increasing the leave duration from 14 weeks to 22 weeks).

An employer must not have a woman work within 8 weeks after childbirth, except where the worker asks to return after 6 weeks and provides medical certification of the work activities which will have no adverse effect on her. Similarly, an employer may not require a pregnant employee to work if she is expected to give birth within six weeks and requests leave days.

The employer does not have to pay for maternity leave, unless the employment contract or the work rules provide otherwise. The employee is in principle entitled to resume the same job/on the same conditions after the maternity leave, because the employer is prohibited from treating a female employee disadvantageously for taking maternity leave. The maternity leave entitlements of the Labor Standards Act apply to all women workers who are employed in an enterprise or office and receive wages therefrom, regardless of the type of occupation in which the woman is employed.

Sources: §9 & 65 of the Labour Standards Act, 1947; §5-9 of the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave, 1991; §4-7 of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children and Other Family Members etc, 1991; Act on Securing, etc. of Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment, 1972

Maternity leave benefits are payable to women workers who are insured under either the Employment Insurance Act or the National Health Insurance Law. The benefits provided by the Employment Insurance Act are payable to insured workers who take child care leave in accordance with the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members etc.

As with parental leave, to qualify for the child care leave allowance under the Employment Insurance Act, the mother must meet the qualifying conditions under the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members etc 1991 and have been insured under the Employment Insurance Act for a total period of 12 months or more within the two-year period preceding the day on which the family care leave was commenced. The qualifying conditions for maternity benefits under the National Health Insurance Law are set by city, town or village ordinance. The child care leave allowance payable under the Employment Insurance Act is to be paid for the duration of the child care leave period taken in accordance with the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members etc 1991.

As mentioned above, the employer does not pay for maternity leave, unless the employment contract or the work rules provide otherwise. The currently available allowance is paid at approximately 66.67% (two-third) of the average daily basic wage, according to wage class, for the period of maternity leave.

Source: §6, 8, 61 & 66 of the Employment Insurance Act, 1974; National Health Insurance Law 

More about parental leave:

Each parent can take parental leave (referred to as childcare leave under the law), being individual entitlement, until a child is 12 months old. The leave can, however, be extended until the child is 14 months old if both parents take some of the leave even though each parent is only entitled to 12 months after birth including the maternity leave period. The first 180 days of the parental leave are paid at 67% of the average earnings and the remaining period at 50%. Parental leave can be further extended to 18 months where the child needs care for a period of two weeks or more due to injury, sickness, etc.; or admission to a childcare centre has been requested but denied for the time being.

A fixed term employee can take parental leave only when he/she meets all of the following conditions: he/she has been employed by the same employer for a continuous period of at least one year; he/she is likely to be kept employed after the day on which his/her child turns one year of age; and it is not clear that his/her employment contract will end by two days before the child’s second birthday and will not be extended. Workers who don’t meet above requirements (and those working two days or less per week) are not eligible for parental leave.

Sources: §2-16 & 61 of the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave, 1991; §1-7 & 23 of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children and Other Family Members etc, 1991; §61-4 to 7 of the Employment Insurance Act, 1974