In recent years, as work styles diversify, the number of men taking paternity leave is gradually increasing. However, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises, the reality is that it’s still difficult to take paternity leave.
Amidst this, Tochigi Prefecture has begun an innovative initiative to encourage paternity leave among men. This is known as the “Tochigi Male Paternity Leave Promotion Corporate Incentive Grant.” This article will provide a detailed explanation of this grant, including its overview, application methods, and the background of why Tochigi Prefecture started this program.
Support for male parental leave might be a step towards measures against declining birthrates and the realization of a society where men and women participate equally.
What is the Tochigi Male Paternity Leave Promotion Corporate Incentive Grant?
Overview of the Grant
As part of Tochigi Prefecture’s “Emergency Project Against Declining Birthrates,” the “Tochigi Male Paternity Leave Promotion Corporate Incentive Grant” was initiated to support male employees in taking parental leave. This grant is provided to small and medium-sized business owners who have allowed male employees to take paternity leave for the first time, aiming to create an environment where both men and women can balance work and childcare.
Eligible Companies and Conditions
Eligible companies are small and medium-sized businesses that have never had a male employee take parental leave before. The conditions include male employees taking a total of at least five days of parental leave starting from October 1, 2023, and returning to their original position. Additionally, the companies need to be registered with the “Tochigi Women’s Advancement Support Group” and have implemented at least two employment environment measures based on the Childcare and Caregiver Leave Law.
Application Method and Acceptance Period
The application for the grant can be made via mail or the internet. It requires the submission of oaths and consent forms from both the employer and the employee. Specifically, you must fill in the necessary information on the application form and submit the required documents.
Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis during the acceptance period, so early application is recommended.
Required Documents for Application
The application requires the Incentive Grant Payment Application Form (Form 1) and Oaths and Consent Forms (Forms 2 and 3). The application form, which requires detailed information about the company and the paternity leave taken, can be downloaded from the Tochigi Prefecture official website. Additionally, if declining the grant, a separate declaration of refusal must be submitted. These documents must be filled out accurately and submitted within the deadline.
Why Did Tochigi Prefecture Start This Program?
As Part of Measures Against Declining Birthrates
Tochigi Prefecture is implementing various policies to address the serious issue of declining birthrates. The “Tochigi Male Paternity Leave Promotion Corporate Incentive Grant” is one of these, aimed at promoting men’s participation in childcare to enhance the flexibility of the working style of the child-rearing generation and create a more child-friendly social environment.
Contributing to a Society of Equal Participation by Men and Women
This incentive grant also contributes to the realization of gender equality. If it becomes common for men to take parental leave, it could positively impact women’s careers. The equal sharing of work and childcare responsibilities between men and women can reduce barriers to women’s social advancement and enable diverse work styles. Tochigi Prefecture aims to create a more vibrant regional society through the promotion of gender equality.
Benefits for Business Owners
Financial Support Advantages
The main benefit of the “Tochigi Male Paternity Leave Promotion Corporate Incentive Grant” system is financial support. As a specific incentive grant is provided to small and medium-sized enterprises with male employees taking paternity leave, companies can reduce the economic burden associated with paternity leave. This financial support helps create an environment where it is easier for employees in small and medium-sized enterprises to take parental leave, contributing to the improvement of employees’ work-life balance.
Improving Corporate Image
By utilizing this system, companies can build a positive image of fulfilling their social responsibilities. Supporting paternity leave shows that a company values its employees’ family lives and respects diverse values, which can increase the company’s social reputation. Additionally, creating a work environment that is more conducive to employees’ needs can help attract and retain talented staff.
The Importance of the Tochigi Male Paternity Leave Promotion Corporate Incentive Grant
The “Tochigi Male Paternity Leave Promotion Corporate Incentive Grant” goes beyond mere financial support; it is a crucial program contributing to a transformation in societal consciousness. By encouraging men to take paternity leave, it promotes the sharing of roles within families and takes a step towards realizing a society with gender equality.
Furthermore, making it easier for workers to balance home and work life can contribute to maintaining the workforce and revitalizing the local community.
Future Prospects and Expectations
There are high hopes that Tochigi Prefecture’s pioneering efforts will influence policies in other regions and at the national level. In the long term, this program is expected to play a significant role in combating declining birthrates and promoting a society of gender equality, contributing to the construction of a sustainable society.
With the spread of paternity leave uptake, the recognition of diverse work styles is hoped to lead to a richer, more balanced society.