I have been working at my current workplace since 1 September last year, on a two-year contract. I am now pregnant, and my baby is due on 15 September. After taking maternity leave to give birth, I want to take parental leave. Is this possible? And if I can take parental leave, are there any payments that I can receive?
In principle, those eligible for parental leave (ikuji kyūgyō / 育児休業) are male or female workers raising a child under 1 year old. Workers who have a fixed period of employment (yūki keiyaku rōdōsha / 有期契約労働者), must meet certain criteria to be eligible for parental leave. Specifically, ① the worker must have been employed continuously by the same employer for more than one year, and ② it must not be clear that the period of employment will end before the date the infant turns 1 year and 6 months old.
In your case, if, after taking eight weeks of maternity leave (sankyū / 産休, or sanzen sango kyūgyō / 産前産後休業) after giving birth, you were to request parental leave, your period of employment up to the time you made your request will have been more than one year, which means you will fulfill condition ①. As for condition ②, if your employment contract clearly states that your contract will be renewed, it will not be clear that the period of employment will end before your child turns 1 year and 6 months old, meaning that you will meet that criteria. Please confirm the contents of your contract.
Regarding payments that can be received while on parental leave, if you are enrolled in employment insurance (koyō hoken / 雇用保険), and you were paid wages for 11 or more days per month for more than 12 months during the two years prior to the start of your leave, you can receive confirmation of your eligibility for parental leave payments (ikuji kyūgyō kyūfukin / 育児休業給付金).
After receiving confirmation that you qualify, you need to meet the following requirements to receive payments. ① While on parental leave, you must not be receiving monthly wages equivalent to 80% or more of your monthly wages prior to taking leave, and ② the number of days worked per payment period (ie. per month) must be less than 10 days (or, if 10 or more days are worked, the total number of hours worked must be less than 80 hours).
For more information on taking parental leave, please consult your nearest Labour Bureau Working Environment / Equality Department office (労働局雇用環境・均等部). For details on parental leave payments, please consult the Hello Work (public employment security / ハローワーク) office with jurisdiction over the area in which your workplace is located.