Japan to cut working week for parents

| June 15, 2005 | 0 Comments
Japan to cut working week for parents

The Japanese government is looking at a proposal to cut work hours for government workers with young children in an attempt to make it more attractive for couples to have more children.

The proposal would cut work hours for parents with children age six and under to 4 hours per day (20 hours per week).

At present, national public employees work at least 40 hours per week, although those workers with children less than three years old can currently take off two hours per day.

Critics of the government have said that the public sector is far behind the private sector in this area. The private sector has already put policies into place to help working parents.

Among these policies are provisions for in-house child care, flex-time schedules, and vouchers to pay for babysitters.

Those skeptical of the new government plan, however, wonder who will do the extra work of those on a 20 hour per week schedule.

Others feel that the drastically falling fertility rate in Japan - down to 1.29 children per woman - is a serious enough problem to justify the dramatic plan.

Previous government efforts to raise the birth rate have had little success.

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