Prefecture in Japan offers more leave to grandparents

As part of efforts to help child-rearing parents, the prefecture of Miyagi plans to grant government workers leave to take care of their grandchildren.
By: | October 11, 2022

The initiative, expected to start in January, would be the first such undertaking among the 47 prefectures in the country, according to the Miyagi government. It reflects a growing number of families where both parents work and where help from grandparents is needed.

Governor Yoshihiro Murai of the northeastern prefecture said he himself would take three days off this month to take care of his second grandchild born in September, and mentioned his “deep regret” for not playing an active role in rearing his own children.

The prefectural government plans to extend workers’ retirement age from 60 to 65 by fiscal 2031 and expects the number of employees wanting leave to take care of their grandchildren to grow. 

It is considering adding grandfathers and grandmothers to the system of paid special leave for fathers who want to attend births and participate in childcare. 

The plan’s details, including the specific eligibility criteria and amount of time off, are yet to be determined. A request will be made to the prefecture’s personnel committee to revise regulations once they are determined.

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Similar plans for grandparents are already being implemented by private companies. Toho Bank, a regional bank based in Fukushima in northeastern Japan, allows grandparents to take leave for their grandchildren until they finish elementary school, reported Kyodo News.