As Japan grapples with a declining birth rate, the nation has decided to give national public employees up to 10 days of paid leave a year to receive fertility treatments starting January 2022. Japan has taken this initiative in a bid to support couples hoping to have a baby.
The scheme is issued by the National Personnel Authority to ease the burden by allowing part-time and full-time national public employees to take five days of paid leave, with five additional days available if required.
Earlier in January and February, an online survey showed that of the approximately 47,000 national public employees, 1.8 percent were undergoing fertility treatment. At least 10.1 percent of the respondents said they had received the treatment and 3.7 percent of the national public employees said they had considered it.
Nearly 62.5 percent of the people who have experienced the treatment or were considering it said it was “very difficult" to balance it with work. 11.3 percent said it was “impossible".
National Personnel Authority President, Yuko Kawamoto said that the public sector will take the initiative.
I hope the step will encourage the private sector to follow suit and the time off can be broken up and used flexibly, such as by taking a few hours off to see the doctor during work, she added.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, giving a push to the initiative, decided to increase access to fertility treatment by covering it under Japan’s public health insurance from next April.
Due to the social and economic impact of coronavirus infection, the number of babies born in Japan fell to a record low of 840,832 in 2020.
The total fertility rate in the nation stood at 1.34, down by 0.02 points compared to the previous year.