Agency's childcare leave raises evaluation of bosses, colleagues

The Consumer Affairs Agency has introduced a unique childcare leave system that gives positive evaluations to staff members who take such leave as well as their supervisors and colleagues who help them, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

The move is intended to establish a model case for striking a work-life balance, they said, adding that five employees have taken the leave so far. Researchers on labor issues said a system like this is very rare in either the public or private sector.

Masako Mori, agency chief who doubles as the state minister in charge of declining birthrate issues, has decided to revise her agency's personnel evaluation system for promotions and pay raises, the sources said.

At the agency, a male staff member accompanying his wife at the time of giving birth may take up to two paid days offs. Those with children up to 1 year of age can take a paid 30-minute break twice daily for purposes such as breast-feeding and trips to and from nurseries.

Those who have taken the leave are asked to detail its effect on work in reports to be submitted twice a year. The content of the reports will be reflected in evaluations for promotions and pay increases.

At the time the system began in April, it only targeted those who took childcare leave. But the agency expanded the scope to colleagues and supervisors from May after receiving opinions such as "It is not right that only the person who takes the leave will benefit from it," and "It will make it harder for people to take the leave out of consideration to others."