In 2016, the government started giving financial support to parents who use babysitters. Babysitters are very expensive in Japan for most families, so it’s usually not an option for many parents. But at the same time, many parents often have trouble when their young child gets sick, has a fever, or during long school holidays needing to find someone who takes care of their children while they go to work.
In order to make babysitters more accessible to more parents, the government started issuing e-ticket coupons. However, as it’s called “Company-led support program for babysitter users”, the coupons are not directly sent to the parents. All the support is only provided through their employer company, and the company must be registered in advance.
Since I went through all the procedures to get TokyoDev registered so that our founder Paul can use the coupons for his children, I’d like to share how you can apply and get the coupons issued.
Like other online systems by the Japanese government, the system itself is not very user friendly unfortunately, but still it would be worth bothering if you have employees with young children.
A coupon gives a ¥2,200 discount, and parents can use 2 coupons for each child per day, 24 coupons per month and 280 coupons per year. This means that parents could save at maximum of ¥4,400 per day, ¥52,800 per month and ¥616,000 per year for each child while the company would only need to cover at maximum of ¥19,600 per year per child, having the rest covered by the government.
Anyone is eligible to receive the coupons if they
- are employed by a registered company.
- have children under age of the third-grade of elementary school (9 years old) or sixth-grade of elementary school (under 12 years old) with some special care required.
- are under employee’s pension insurance (厚生年金保険の被保険者), which includes the CEO and directors of the company.
The coupons can be used the parents need a babysitter to take care of their children so that they can do their work. These coupons can be used with specific companies that accept them. The babysitting service is limited to childcare at home, though the sitter is allowed to pick up and drop off the kids from their daycare.
To get the company registered, you just need to fill out the basic company information here. The information required is pretty basic, and it should only take about five minutes. About 10 days later, you’ll receive an email with the information you need to access their system site (割引券管理サイト).
On the page to apply for coupons (割引券申込), you can decide how many coupons you’d like to be issued. Right after you apply, you receive an email with an invoice for ¥70 of non-refundable fee (手数料) per coupon (¥180 for companies with more than 1000 employees), so it may be a good idea to ask around the employees to get a rough idea how many you should apply for first.
On the next day you pay the invoice, you find coupons are issued on their system. It is an e-ticket with URL, so you can copy each URL and share it with the employees. Make sure the employees will let you know when they used the coupons so that you can mark it as “used” on the system.
After you and your employees consume 80% of all the already issued coupons, you can apply for additional coupons. When applying, be careful that there’s a limit you can apply for. If your company has less than 1,000 employees, the limit per each application is 100 coupons, and 1,200 coupons in a year. Also note that the issued coupons are only valid for the fiscal year, so they need to be used by the end of March.
It may sound a little complicated, but the procedure itself is relatively simple and doesn’t require much time. Once you get registered as a user company, it doesn’t require too much effort to manage these, so if you have employees with young children, I recommend you consider taking advantage of this program, and give them extra childcare support.
Or, if you are a parent yourself and desperately need a babysitter even just for a couple of hours sometimes, don’t hesitate to ask your company to get these coupons!