Pregnant woman
Pregnant women and mothers at work in Japan will soon have better protection. iStock

The Japanese government is proposing to put forward revisions in the law to force businesses to take steps to stop the harassment of pregnant women and mothers in the workplace. It is proposing to have the new laws in place with effect from 1 January 2017.

The revisions to the law on equal employment opportunity, as well as the law on childcare will be submitted to the current regular Diet or Parliament session, government officials said. The move is aimed at addressing maternity harassment which covers incidents when women are unfairly bullied, are demoted or have their employment terminated without just cause.

The Japan Times noted that current legislation bans companies from demoting or forcing women to quit due to pregnancy, childbirth or taking maternity leave. However there is no law to make it mandatory for companies to take steps to protect women from being harassed by their superiors and colleagues.

Under the proposed changes, it will become mandatory for employers to help protect women from being harassed. Companies will have to, among others conduct training courses for superiors or set up consultation services.