World: Canadian father sues Japan firm for paternity leave harassment - PressFrom - US
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World Canadian father sues Japan firm for paternity leave harassment

10:20  09 october  2019
10:20  09 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Fathers in Japan face harsh criticism for taking leave , despite being legally entitled to do so as the government tries desperately to boost the birth-rate The plaintiff says he experienced what is known in Japan as "pata-hara", short for paternity harassment . After returning from his first paternity leave

A Japanese man who says he was penalised for taking paternity leave brought his case to a Tokyo court on Thursday, a rare suit in a country struggling By law, Japan offers comparatively generous parental leave . Both parents can take up to a year off, with additional renewable six-month periods if a

A Canadian father who alleges he was bullied and fired by his Japanese employer after he tried to claim paternity leave appeared in a Tokyo court Wednesday to pursue his lawsuit against the firm.

a group of people sitting at a table: Japan is struggling with one of the world's lowest birth rates© KAZUHIRO NOGI Japan is struggling with one of the world's lowest birth rates

It is the second paternity leave harassment case to be heard in Japan in recent weeks, casting a rare spotlight on the issue in a country struggling with one of the world's lowest birth rates.

Glen Wood, 49, a resident of Japan for three decades, was working at brokerage house Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities when his son was born prematurely in October 2015.

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Fathers in Japan face harsh criticism for taking leave , despite being legally entitled to do so as the government tries desperately to boost the birthrate The plaintiff says he experienced what is known in Japan as "pata-hara", short for paternity harassment . After returning from his first paternity leave

He claims that after he took paternity leave , he was transferred to jobs that bore no relation to his skills or experience. By law, Japan offers comparatively Of the small number of men in Japan who take paternity leave , more than 70 percent are away for less than a fortnight. Fathers face harsh criticism

Wood says he applied for paternity leave before his son was born in Nepal, where his partner was working, seeking to exercise a right guaranteed by Japanese law.

But, he says, the firm dragged its feet, and he even submitted a DNA test to prove his relation to his son.

"I knew it was a sort of old fashioned thinking type of company but I was still very surprised, even when it was an emergency and my son was in the ICU (intensive care unit), that they wouldn't let me take paternity leave," he told AFP before the hearing Wednesday.

"I think it was viewed really as an act of treason for a man to take paternity leave," he added.

It was not until Christmas Day 2015 that he received approval to take leave and see his son.

- Few take paternity leave -

He returned to work in March 2016 after bringing his baby to Japan but alleges he was subsequently sidelined at work, treatment he says contributed to him suffering depression and taking six months of medical leave.

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By law, Japan offers comparatively generous parental leave -- both parents can take up to a year off, with additional renewable six-month periods if a Of the small number of men in Japan who take paternity leave , more than 70 percent are away for less than a fortnight. Fathers face harsh criticism

A Japanese man who says he was penalised for taking paternity leave brought his case to a Tokyo court on Thursday, a rare suit He claims that after he took paternity leave , he was transferred to jobs that bore no relation to his skills or experience. By law, Japan offers comparatively generous parental

When he returned, the firm put him on unpaid leave before eventually firing him.

Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities has denied any harassment, and said it supports the rights of employees to take their legally mandated parental leave.

But the case, first filed in 2017, comes at a time of heightened interest in the issue of so-called "pata-hara."

Last month, a Tokyo court held the first hearing in the case of a Japanese man suing sportswear maker Asics over allegations he was effectively demoted after taking paternity leave.

By law, Japan offers comparatively generous parental leave. Both parents can take up to a year off, with additional renewable six-month periods if a nursery place is unavailable.

But only six percent of fathers take parental leave, compared to more than 80 percent of mothers who use their allowance beyond the mandatory eight weeks after birth.

The disparity, activists say, is partly due to pressure from employers and a society that prizes long work hours.

Among the small number of men in Japan who take paternity leave, more than 70 percent are away for less than a fortnight.

The Japanese government recently announced it hopes to increase the proportion of men who take paternity leave to 13 per cent by 2020.

There have been only a handful of suits brought in Japan by alleged victims of pata-hara, with judges tending to favour employers because of the difficulty in proving that perceived mistreatment was triggered by employees taking leave, lawyers say.

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