Japanese childcare centre reprimands employee for becoming pregnant out of turn

pregnant woman

Something for the weekend: A private childcare centre in Japan has reprimanded a female employee for becoming pregnant when it was not her allocated time to start a family.

According to a letter sent by the employee’s husband to Japanese daily newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, the Aichi Prefecture-based childcare centre has devised a rota to allocate each female employee a timeframe of when they are allowed to take leave in order to get married and start a family. The female employee in question had become pregnant before her set turn.

The couple attended the childcare centre to apologise to the director in person about their personal situation when they found out they were pregnant.

In a following interview, the employee’s husband further told the newspaper that as a result of becoming pregnant out of turn, the female employee would not be permitted time off to get married.

The letter, which was published in Mainichi Shimbun, reads:

“Eight months into our marriage, in January of this year, we found out that my wife was pregnant. My wife, who is a childcare provider, appeared glum and anxious over the news. The director at the childcare centre where she works had determined the order in which [employees] could get married or pregnant, and apparently there was an unspoken rule that one must not take their ‘turn’ before a senior staff member. My wife and I went together to apologise. ‘We’re sorry we got pregnant,’ we said.

“The director grudgingly accepted our apology, but since the next day has been chiding my wife with harsh words, such as, ‘How could you so selfishly break the rules?’ My wife feels guilty thinking about the hard labour conditions of her colleagues. I am fully aware that we are at fault for not planning well. But who benefits from having their ‘turn’ to have children dictated, and following those rules? Childcare providers sacrifice their own children to care for the children of others. It is a noble profession that nurtures children who will forge the future of this country. I respect my wife for her commitment to her profession and continue to encourage her. The conditions of those working to nurture and care for children are evidence of a backward country.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we have spotted increasing numbers of employers implementing global parental policies, or enhanced maternity or paternity arrangements. Fingers crossed that this practice becomes more widespread across all continents to help employees balance work and family commitments.