“Maternity pay” in Japan

I’m pleased to report that last week, just as Baby Hope reached the 7½ month mark, I received my second installment of “Maternity Pay”.

“Maternity Pay” is a simple term that masks a rather complex set of calculations involving different pots of cash.

Here’s how it works in Japan.

Maternity Pay I: Health Insurance benefits

From 6 weeks (42 days) before and 8 weeks (56 days) after your baby’s birth, you can receive at least 67% and up to 100% of your usual salary, depending on your company’s insurer. This allowance is covered by Health Insurance.

Hope was born on November 9 2016. When she was around 3½ months old, on February 24 2017, I received my Health Insurance benefits. This lump sum was paid by my company’s health insurer – the Foreign Transportation and Finance Health Insurance Association (Kenko Hoken Kumiai).

Maternity Pay II: Childcare Leave benefits

From the 57th day after giving birth until the day before your child’s first birthday, you and / or your partner can receive 67% of your usual monthly salary, with a cap of JPY280,000 (at today’s exchange rate about GBP1978.00, or USD2508.00) per month).

This allowance is classified as Childcare Leave benefits and is covered by Labour Insurance.

To secure paid Childcare Leave you must have been employed with a firm for at least twelve months before you expect to take leave, and are not expected to quit your job within a year of returning to work. More specifically, you need to have been enrolled in the Labour Insurance scheme for at least consecutive 12 months in the past 2 years.

The first installment of Childcare Leave benefits arrived in my bank account on June 20 2017, covering a 2 month period from January 4 – March 4.

Your company’s role

Some things I’ve learned:BoshiTecho

  • It is your company’s responsibility to file for your “Maternity Pay” (parts I and II above). Soon after your baby’s born you will need to submit copies of your boshi-techo and birth certificate or family register (if one parent is Japanese), and sign / stamp some documents.
  • Your company does not pay your salary during your maternity leave; you receive an allowance firstly from the Health Insurance Agency and then the Labour Insurance Agency. The cash is transferred from your company’s insurers firstly to your company and then to you.
  • No income tax or labour insurance needs to be paid during maternity leave since you are not receiving a salary.
  • If your company pays any portion of your salary during maternity leave, your benefits percentage will be reduced accordingly.
  • In order for you to receive ongoing Childcare Leave benefit payments, your company has to submit updated paperwork to Hello Work at two month intervals – each time confirming that you are expected to stay in your job for at least a year after returning to work.
  • Childcare Leave and benefits can be extended to 1 year and 6 months in certain circumstances – such as if you cannot find an authorised nursery space for your child).
  • You have up to two years from the birth of your baby to claim these benefits.

A quick comparison with the UK

Statutory Maternity Pay in the UK is paid for up to 39 weeks, in the same way as your wages (i.e. monthly or weekly).keep-calm-and-return-to-work-24

  • For the first six weeks you can receive 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax).
  • For the next 33 weeks you can receive £140.98 (JPY19,947) or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
  • If you take an entire year off, the last 13 weeks will be unpaid.

Many employers in the UK offer to supplement Statutory Maternity Pay, ensuring that mothers receive their full salary for a certain number of months.

Tax and National Insurance deductions apply.

How does this compare to your experience of “Maternity Pay” in Japan, or the UK?
How about in your country? I’d love to hear all about it!

More info

UK Gov Maternity Pay and Leave HERE

Japan – Introduction to the revised Child Care and Family Care Leave Law HERE