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Family-friendly bank pays $18,000 for fourth child

Japanese local lender seeks to tackle declining birthrate and retain talent

A Gunma bank staff who has had a second child immediately receives a lump-sum of 200,000 yen.

MAEBASHI, Japan -- In a move to help tackle Japan's declining birthrate and to create a more parent-friendly working environment to retain talent, a regional bank north of Tokyo has expanded support for staff balancing their jobs with raising a family, including a 2 million yen ($18,100) allowance for parents who have a fourth child.

This month, Gunma Bank introduced a "child-rearing support allowance" for employees who have a second or later child. The offer is extended to temporary staff as well as full time employees, provided they have worked at the bank for a year.

An individual who has had a second child immediately receives a lump-sum of 200,000 yen. A third child makes them eligible for a total of 1 million yen paid over five years, while two million yen will be paid over five years to anyone who has a fourth or more.

"As a leading regional company, we thought it was our responsibility to create an environment that encourages people to have more children," a bank spokesman told the Nikkei Asian Review. Latest statistics show that 68 employees had their second child, 16 employees had their third, and one employee had their fourth child in 2016.

In February, it also introduced an allowance to encourage parents to return to work after maternity leave. Under the system, employees who returned early are eligible for a monthly allowance of 30,000 yen, paid until the child turns 18 months old.

The bank has also started offering leave for employees who wish to undergo fertility treatment, which provides for up to five days off a year and is also available to temporary staff.

Gunma Bank follows in the footsteps of SoftBank, who has a program that pays 3 million yen to an employee who had a fourth child and a whopping 5 million yen ($45,600) to welcome the birth of a fifth child.

(Nikkei)

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