It is very hard to find a babysitter in Japan. And even if you do, chances are the cost will be horribly expensive! What makes it worse are many households are “two-income” where both parents work to provide for the family. So who is left with the children then? – The Grandparents.
Many grandparents have considered to continue working even after they hit the pension age. But quitting the job to take care of their grandchildren seemed to be the only option available. However, this is not the case anymore. A new system has been introduced by Toho bank last April which allows the employees to make use of the accumulated paid holidays to go on leave. This is actually not the first time such kind of system has been introduced. In 2006, Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company also provided their employees with a three-day holiday leave to take care of their grandchildren and many have have used the opportunity this system provided for the past few years.
Some prefectures in Japan such as Okayama have already offered incentives to certain companies that will be providing grandchild-care leave. It has always been a tradition for mothers to take care of their children after giving birth, only a very few men do the same thing. So when the mother is working, the grandparents have to come to the rescue. This is even an even bigger problem within single-parent families. Though it may provide great happiness for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren, the physical and psychological stress is also an issue they may face. Children are young and enthusiastic with so much energy while grandparents are older, weaker and less active. Thus, it is still very important that the whole community comes up with a way to help each other in keeping everyone at ease with child-rasing.
With the increasing aging population in Japan, seniors are a very important part of the working society. Grandchild-care leave is a new significant strategy in preventing seniors from quitting their jobs.