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Labor laws and pregnancy

ID番号 N36387 更新日 平成29年4月14日

What if you’re asked to quit your job after getting pregnant?

 

Being fired due to pregnancy, childbirth, or maternity leave is against Japanese law. You must also receive time off from your workplace to go to your periodic medical checkups.

 

Pregnant working women can become exhausted juggling both work and home life. As a pregnant woman, you need the cooperation of both your family and your workplace to keep a healthy pregnancy. If working becomes too difficult for you during pregnancy, there are four things you can do. All of these are based on Japanese law. Don’t suffer – use the systems in place.

 

If using these systems causes you to be fired from your workplace, please consult with the Iwate Labor Bureau Equal Employment Office.

 

1.        Get your doctor to write a medical certificate診断書, shindansho) or get them to fill out the Maternal Health Management and Guidance Card (母性健康管理指導事項連絡カード, bosei kenkou kanri shidou jikou renraku kado). Hand this document to your workplace so that they will follow the directions written. The card can be found in your Maternal and Child Health Handbook or downloaded from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare.

Details about the Maternal Health Management and Guidance Card can be found here (PDF, Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare) (JPN).

 

2.       Ask your workplace if you can be switched to a less demanding workload.

 

3.       Ask your workplace to take you off overtime, weekends, and late nights.

 

4.      In Japan, some people are under the “irregular working hour system (変形労働時間制, henkei roudou jikansei)” which means that you may work over 40 hours during one week as long as it doesn’t go over certain amount of time during a designated period. For example, you could not work over 80 hours during two weeks, but you could work 45 hours one week and 35 the next. If this situation applies to you, ask your company to put you on a more regular working schedule.


Various systems in place to help you balance work and childcare

 

Here are some of the systems covered by Japanese law to help you balance work and childcare. For more detailed information, visit the Iwate Labor Bureau Equal Employment Office and your closest Social Insurance Office, or a Hello Work office.

 

Time off for pre-birth and after-birth (産前産後休暇, sanzen sango kyuuka)

This equals 6 weeks before birth (14 weeks before twins or more), and 8 weeks following birth. You will receive 60% of your pay from Social Insurance. Inquire with your nearest Social Insurance Office.

 

Time off for childcare (育児休業, ikuji kyuugyou)

Men and women may take time off from work until the day before their baby’s first birthday. There are no rules regarding salary or pay during this period off, and circumstances may differ depending on the workplace, but those enrolled in employment insurance (雇用保険, koyou hoken) shall receive about 30% of their normal salary rate. Inquire with your nearest Hello Work office.

 

You can become exempt from social insurance payments during this time off for childcare by filling out an application with your nearest Social Insurance Office.

 

Six months after your return to work, you shall be paid 10% of your salary for every month you took off for childcare out of social insurance. Inquire with your nearest Hello Work office.

 

Until the day before your baby’s first birthday

You may get special childcare leave (育児時間, ikuji jikan). If you’re not feeling well, you can inquire you’re your workplace and hand in the Maternal Health Management and Guidance Card so they can adequately respond to your needs. You may also get removed from having to work overtime, on weekends, late nights, and irregular working schedules.

 

Until the day before your baby’s third birthday

You may make use of special measures in place to help balance work and childcare, such as shorter working hours. If it’s before your baby’s first birthday, you may use this in conjunction with the special childcare leave above.

 

Until your child enters elementary school

You can inquire with your workplace to become exempt from late night working hours. You can also apply to be exempt from overtime ranging over 24 hours a month and over 150 hours a year. Some companies also have special leave you can take to care for a sick child (子供のための看護休暇制度, kodomo no tame no kango kyuuka seido).

 

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