NAGOYA – Toyota Motor Corp. is planning to exempt factory workers with preschool-age children from working night shifts to support child care starting in September, sources said.
The measure has already been introduced for some Toyota plant workers on a trial basis, kicking off last October.
With Nissan Motor Co. also testing a similar system, it could evolve into an industrywide trend that throws support behind Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic growth policy featuring greater support for families that are raising children.
Toyota will also consider bearing part of the cost of hiring baby sitters for employees working at its factories not equipped with nurseries, the sources said Wednesday.
The automaker is planning for baby sitters to cover early morning hours for its workers until kindergartens open.
Auto factories typically operate on two shifts, with the day shift lasting from early morning through late afternoon and the night shift from late afternoon through late in the night.
The envisaged system without night shifts will make it easier for eligible workers to pick up children from nurseries and take care of them at night.
Employees have reacted positively to the trial, the sources said.
A Toyota executive said that since the system will increase the burden on other noneligible workers in sharing shift work, “it will be more important than ever for (the eligible) person to have a commitment (to his or her work) and gain understanding from their bosses and colleagues in the workplace.”
The new work shift targets employees who live without family members who can take care of children until the children reach school age.
If both husband and wife work at Toyota, they will not be able to use the system simultaneously, according to the sources.
The system will principally benefit female workers.
More women are said to quit jobs in Japan than in Western countries before they reach their early 30s. Toyota employes around 1,400 women at its manufacturing facilities.
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