Work-life Balance

To meet the goals of our medium-term management plan, we must secure human resources and provide adequate training, and we believe it is essential to promote a work-life balance that enables diverse methods of working.

To achieve that, we must help our employees attain fulfillment in work, as well as life, regardless of gender, and help them achieve their full potential through a rich source of new ideas. In order to support the continued growth of our employees, we have added the promotion of diversity to the basic strategy of our management plan and are strengthening the foundation of our human resources by creating an environment in which diverse personnel can thrive.

Support through comprehensive programs

Thanks to a variety of comprehensive programs, the average number of years our female employees continue to work for us is increasing. In 2015, we started a childcare and career support program (a dual-pronged system providing support for both childcare and career-building activities), and greatly changed the support from seeking life balance via exemption of work hours, to career-building assistance. We offer financial assistance via a one-off payment of one million yen (two million yen for twins) to employees to whom a child is born to help cover childbirth costs and future child-rearing expenses. Called the Next-Generation Care Lump-Sum Allowance, in May 2020, the total number of employees who have utilized the system exceeded 10,000 (total payment of 10 billion yen).

Support programs for childcare (examples)

  • Next-Generation Care Lump-Sum Allowance: a program that provides a one-off payment of 1 million yen per child
  • Childcare Leave: a program that gives parents leave to care for their children up to the age of 3
    The first 5 days are paid (childcare leave and the “Hello Mama, Hello Papa” system)
  • Reduced Work Hours for Childbirth or Childcare: a program that allows a reduction in work hours to care for children up to the third grade of elementary school
  • Family Nursing Leave: a program that offers up to 5 days a year for taking care of ill family members, including children, spouse, parents, grandparents, spouse's parents, or spouse's grandparents
  • Childcare and Career Support: provides information for early return to work, staggered work hours to secure more time back on the job, and assistance for the use of childcare and after-school facilities, babysitting, etc.
  • Re-employment Priority Opportunity: this program gives priority to employees who had to quit due to life events, so that they are the first to be considered in recruitment for any new openings that they are interested in.

Other programs and training that promote work-life balance (examples)

  • Paid Leave Accumulation: a program that allows employees to accumulate up to 100 paid vacation days and use them as desired
  • Paid Leave by the Hour: a program that allows employees to use their annual paid leave in hourly units
  • Home Holiday: a program that allows employees to systematically acquire annual paid leave for family use, personal refreshment, self-improvement, etc.
  • Nursing Care Leave: a program that aims to balance both care and work, and allows employees to take care leave for an unlimited period until the leave is no longer required
  • Parental Care Support: this program provides monetary support for employees who need to travel long distances to return home and take care of an ailing parent. The system covers travel costs, but is limited to four times a year.
  • Work and Nursing Care Compatibility Training: this training explains the company’s programs that help achieve balance between work and nursing care, and the mindset needed for that role.
  • Work from Home Allowance: this subsidy compensates the water, lighting and heating costs of employees working from home.

>> Results of use of the programs

Support program for returning to work from childcare leave

Interviews are carried out between supervisor and employee for thorough communication and a smooth transition back to work from childcare leave.

Getting the supervisor to understand the concept of work-life balance is key to avoiding discomfort for the employee regarding leave of absence and return to work. We are promoting a workplace environment in which both childcare and work are taken into account when employees return to work from childcare leave.

Initiatives that promote men’s participation in childcare

In April 2016, we reevaluated our childcare leave program to make the first five days of it paid leave. By reducing the financial burden of taking childcare leave, the change helps create an environment in which it is easier for men to also take that leave. We also included in our internal magazine, the Diversity Report, examples of male employees who are sharing childcare duties with their spouses by utilizing the staggered work hours system, which allows variance in prescribed working hours, and male employees utilizing our work-life balance support programs. The initiative aims to create a corporate culture in which men can balance both work and child-rearing duties.

Initiatives to improve work styles and productivity

As a way to reform our style of working, while also promoting work-life balance regardless of gender, we are endeavoring to reduce long working hours.

Since 2004, we have been implementing lockouts in which our workplaces are closed outside of standard company hours. Also since 2014 we have included “productivity per hour” as a category in performance evaluations of our offices and plants.
We are also working to increase awareness and understanding of the problems of working long hours through detailed approaches toward individual employees, including the visualization of overtime work hours and interviews with employees.

Furthermore, to offer a choice of working style, together with promoting the use of telework, in 2021 we introduced a flextime system as we aim to realize more creative and productive work styles and sustainable work styles. We gave all employees handbooks that explain the telework style of working and through diverse work styles we continue to promote initiatives that increase productivity.

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