Building a Society Where Paternity Leave Is Normal in Japan Too
At Sekisui House, in order to realize our global vision of making home the happiest place in the world, we believe that it is important first to make each and every employee happy, and since September 2018 we have initiated a new system called the “Special Childcare Leave Program.” Aiming for a society where it can be taken as a given that men can take paternity leave, we are encouraging male employees to take at least one month off work to focus on childcare (i.e., childcare leave). As of November 30, 2021, 1,146 of those male employees who have reached their deadlines for using their paternity leave have taken one month or more off since we fully implemented this program in February 2019, and the usage rate has reached 100%. In August 2019, the program also came into effect in other Sekisui House Group companies. As a “kids first” company that can lead the way for a society that supports childrearing, we will further accelerate our efforts to promote diversity.
Sekisui House’s Special Childcare Leave Program
In September 2018, Sekisui House launched a special paternity leave program. It encourages male employees, with a child or children under the age of three, to take at least one month off work (with the first month being paid) before the date one day prior to their child’s third birthday, to focus on childcare. In order to make it easier to accommodate work while also promoting this leave, while it had previously only been possible to take it in four blocks or fewer, from April 2021 we amended the system to allow employees to be more flexible in using their paternity leave. Within eight weeks of their spouse giving birth, it is now possible to take paternity leave in one-day intervals so that it can be used without worrying about the number of blocks.
Discussions at Both Work and Home in Advance of Taking Childcare Leave
Based on a “Family Meeting Sheet,” families take the time to discuss when to take childcare leave and how to split the housework and childcare while on leave. Then a childcare leave usage plan is made based on this discussion. By conducting an interview with the supervisor at work, a plan is drawn up regarding such matters as work continuity while the employee in question is on leave.
The Effect of Paternity Leave Isn’t Limited to the Home
Since the Special Childcare Leave Program came into effect, various changes have taken place in our workplaces. Not only have more people said that communication has improved, but other specific benefits include being able to do an inventory of work to be done, and enjoying a more cooperative workplace. The fiscal 2021 survey of childcare leave users revealed that 96.7% of respondents felt a sense of happiness in doing housework and raising their children; this was 15.7 percentage points higher than other men who had not taken childcare leave. Research also shows that happier employees are more creative and productive. These findings support how promoting the Special Childcare Leave Program has benefits not only for families but also for workplaces, as well as for the company and society.