Examples of major day care service providers include Pigeonhearts Corporation Poppins Corporation

Examples of major day care service providers include Pigeonhearts Corporation, Poppins Corporation, Benesse Style Care Co., Ltd., Kodomo-no-mori, and CombiWith Corporation. Another example is a well-known “Shiseido” cosmetics manufacturer made a new opportunity for its employee by “setting up a child care facility as part of a corporate social responsibility project”. By establishing day care facilities inside of the workplace might affect positively on employed mothers since it makes the day more productive as time spent on commuting to and from day care facility will decrease and at the same time it abolishes the concern about the kindergarten waiting list. When it comes for working hours, flextime system (LSA Article 32.3) was introduced originally in 1987 which give workers discretion over their hours of starting and finishing work, on condition that they provide a certain number of labor hours within a certain period of time (the settlement period). “However flexible working hours system was codified to meets the needs of companies” with the purpose of increasing the service orientation of the economy and to ensure the flexibility of business management. And the level of introduction and application of flexible time system is up to the decision of the employer and there is no such requirement for notifying it to the Labor Standards Inspection Office. In that case, Japan’s system offers flexibility for companies but not for workers. Any plan to promote WLB by using flexible working hour systems must at least involve spreading flexible working hour systems in a form that contributes to promoting WLB and taking steps to encourage the use of them. Again, because Japan’s flexible working hour system is prescribed by the LSA, a mandatory law with penalties for violation, it does not prescribe the concept of WLB. In this sense, promotion of Shorter Working Hours Promotion Act might lead to reach better WLB. As this act’s one of the core objectives is, realizing worker’s healthy and fulfilling lives (Article 1) and it is a responsibility of employer’s to make efforts to improve the setting of working hours while taking into account of family responsibilities (Article 2 (2)). In order to exercise the concept of this Act effectively it lies in efforts to improve working environment based on understanding individual workplace, to make better communication between employees and employer while considering legislations related to WLB. At this point it is noteworthy to highlight “Dream-weaving Childcare Support” which is a part of “Nippon Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens Plan”. Followings are the urgent measures to promote work life balance which stated on “Dream-weaving Childcare Support” plan: To establish an environment to make it easier for three-generation family who live under one roof or nearby each other to assist each other in childcare. “Support parent and children to live together by constructing houses and utilizing UR (Urban Renaissance)rental houses”. By doing so, the burden for working mothers will be reduced as their parents will help to take care of housework and child care. To enhance considerations and measures for families who are having hard time raising their children and for the children. Another feasible solution can be – to advance improvement of authorized nurseries and others based on the “Acceleration plan for reducing wait-listed children”. As part of this plan to to make conditions of positioning childcare workers in the morning and evening more flexible is also considered. If there will be extended day care hours, working women can manage her working hours and taking her child to / from day care facilities without worrying about time constraint. Furthermore most importantly, legal provisions which have already enacted should be promoted and always must be smoothly enforced by all employers.Conclusion As a result of above-mentioned policies, since 1997, the number of “stay-at-home-mothers” non-working period has decreased and their labor re-entry has increased. However, it seems that due to the traditional gender role divisions and adjusting to husband’s schedule while taking household responsibilities including childrearing, making the situation difficult for working mothers to maintain a balance between their own career and household tasks. Thus, the number of stay-at-home mother with a traditional male breadwinner families is increasing. As the general features of Japan’s WLB policies are that they have been triggered by policies to abolish the low fertility rate, and that a revision of working conditions of mainly female employees and promoting their employment. What should be borne in mind is that the central issues in Japan’s work life balance policies can be identified as the labor issues of parents especially working mothers who has young children, discrimination of co-workers, irregular working hours, lack enforcement of legal policies related to WLB and the issue of a traditional mindset. Thus, government should be always ready to make an immediate changes in all spheres of society and to establish some institutions to assess the smooth enforcement of legal provisions towards promotion of work and life balance policies while encouraging working mothers with proper incentives and privileges to maintain their career growth both before and after giving a birth. Since where all citizens are dynamically engaged and can play an active role, including pregnant, children, youth, men, people with disabilities, elderly people, only there we can see a true happiness, economic growth, strong society and fast development. Last but not least, in order to keep this stable economic growth and to reach more harmonized environment where all citizens are dynamically involved and play an active role, stable and smooth enforcement of developed policies and legal regulations which aims to promote the work and life balance towards working mothers is important.

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