Employer-sponsored day care facilities that accept children from the local community can now expect a higher subsidy from the Japanese government. A higher public assistance fund will be available to these day care facilities by April 2015 if they accept children of non-employees as well. This is in part of the government’s efforts to provide more options to parents who have young children that they cannot leave alone.
Only around 1,600 employer-sponsored day care facilities operate within Japan, as limited subsidies and for a short time of five years generally characterize the support such establishment receives. And with high costs of maintaining and operating one, only 3% of companies have adhered to this program. For such centers to qualify, it must meet the required staff and equipment necessary to operate, and must allot a quarter or more of the slots to local residents. Once eligible, subsidies can be received from the local or central government over an indefinite period of time. The amount of subsidy is estimated to cover 60% of the operational expenses and could be higher if admission will be extended to infants up to 2 years old and more staff-to-child personnel is hired, probably around 70% of the operational costs.
Concerns on the costs and in-house employee users have made companies reluctant to establish day-care facilities, according to Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Senior Chief Researcher Yasuko Matoba. In response to that, they were encouraged to open the facilities to the local community to have more enrollees. The government also encouraged smaller companies to put up day care programs in cooperation with other small firms to share of burden of operation and costs with each other.