One of the most common conversations amongst busy moms and working parents is how to hire a helper. There is a lot to consider but here some info to help you out. The three most common options are; 1. hire a local service company to provide help, 2. sponsor a foreign helper, or 3. use somebody’s sponsored nanny on the side (although this is not legal). There are obvious pros and cons to both. Which you decide is your decision and responsibility. However, to begin you should ask yourself the following.
Questions you need to ask yourself before hiring a helper.
1. What is your budget?
2. Do you need full-time?
3. Do you need just childcare or cleaning, or do you want a helper who can do it all?
4. Do you or your spouse have the Visa status to sponsor a foreign helper?
1. Hiring a Japanese service company to provide a babysitter or house cleaner will cost between 1,800-4,000 yen an hour. Very few companies offer helpers who can clean, cook and provide childcare, typically you chose one service. The price will go up if you have more than two children, and if deep spot cleaning is necessary.
2. Sponsoring a helper who lives outside your home will cost 200,000 yen per month minimum (this is now the law; assuming 25 working days per month at 9 hours a day this is a little less than 1,000 yen per hour), plus transportation to and from work, one flight home a year and 2-4 weeks paid vacation time. Many families also pay 2-4 weeks holiday bonus. Live in helpers can run 170,000-200,000 yen, and also get round trip flight and vacation time. Legally you are also responsible for giving national holidays as vacation.
3. Using someone else’s helper typically costs 1,500 yen per hour. However, as stated above this is illegal.
How to hire a helper in Japan
Details on all three of these options on how to hire a great helper are below.
I. Hiring a Japanese Service Companies – All of the companies below provide childcare services, and many provide cleaning and handyman services. I have not used, but my friends and colleagues have used and recommend.
1. Alpha Corporation is a nationwide company that provides child-care centers and home babysitting services. http://www.alpha-co.com/index_en.html
2. BabySitters offers multi-lingual international sitters full-time and part-time. Also available to babysit at hotels and work at birthday parities. http://babysitters.jp/
3. Chez Vous provides cleaning, childcare and handyman services http://www.chezvous.co.jp/english/
4. Honey Clover dispatches Japanese and international sitters to your home for regular sitting of kids 1-12 years, or in case or sickness or emergency. Service is available across Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba. http://www.honeyclover.co.jp/
5. Poppins’ BabySitter Nanny Service offers in home Japanese and English speaking nanny services and daycare on sites across Tokyo. http://www.poppins.co.jp/english/index.html
II. Sponsoring a helper – Do you have a helper you want to bring to Japan or do you want to employee your departing friends helper? Unfortunately sponsoring a helper in Japan is not based on need and ability to afford it, but rather on the status. This may change in the future as more woman will need to work but for now if you want to sponsor a full-time domestic helper you typically have to meet the following criteria. Note: it is easier and faster to sponsor a helper who is already in Japan legally and is only changing sponsors. It takes more time and more paperwork to bring a new helper into the country.
Criteria for Sponsorship and How to Hire a Helper
1) Be a foreign national. Japanese are unable to sponsor foreign domestic workers.
2) Be an individual, not a company.
3) Have the correct visa type: official (diplomat), business manager/investor or legal/accounting services. When you apply for your helpers sponsorship at immigration, you will need to show that your position is very important CEO or Director level or above.
4) Have children less than 13 years of age.
If you have, determine you meet all the criteria above you will need to complete the materials and steps below to get your helper sponsored. Approval process can take a few months so make sure your helper’s visa is in good standing. If approved your helper will receive a notice at her address to come to immigration to get the visa.
1) Application form – If your helper is new to Japan you need to download and complete the Certificate of Eligibility Application Form, and if she/he is an existing helper she/he must complete the Application for Extension of Period of Stay
2) SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS must also be submitted with the application form. These documents include the following:
– Cover letter from the employer explaining why they need the foreign domestic helper; ex: both parents work, many kids under 5, someone is very sick, etc.
– Copy of the Employment Contract which should state what the domestic helper will do, the length of the contract (typically one year) and the salary per year. If you are hiring the helper from another family in Japan, you must include a Letter of Release from the previous family and include the Tax Certificate the helper filed in the previous year.
– Certificate of Graduation from a junior college or college to show that the employee speaks the employer’s language and is educated.
– Passport copy of the Employer with pages showing visa stamps (manager/investor or a diplomat visa)
– Employment Certificate of the Employer which states the employer is responsible for the employee should anything happen to the employee
– An organization chart of the Employer’s company that shows the employer is number one or in the top tier of Japan management.
– Return addressed envelope
– Japanese translations of the above.
III. Using someone else’s helper – This is an easy and flexible solution for to hire a great helper for part-time work, but officially it is not legal.
Many bulletin boards at supermarkets such as National Azabu (Hiroo) and Nissin (Azabu) have helpers available for hire signs. Also if you leave a note on Facebook groups such as Tokyo Mothers Group, Tokyo International Parents & Pals or Tokyo Expat Network asking for introductions to candidates, you will get some good leads. Some helpers need sponsorship and others are just looking for side jobs. Either way check references in detail and meet the person in a public place for your interview.
Hope you found this post helpful! How to hire a helper.
Criteria for Sponsorship and How to Hire a Helper in Japan
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