Creating a Better Work-Life Balance

Supporting balance between childcare and work

SoftBank Corp.

Establishing a work environment that supports anxiety-free childbirth and parenting is one of the many fundamental roles that companies are expected to take on. At SoftBank, we are proactively working to create a well-balanced and efficient work environment through our childcare support system policy and general business plan under the Law for Measures to Support the Development of the Next Generation.

Addressing Japan's low birthrate

The SoftBank Group

SoftBank Group Corp. and some SoftBank Group companies provide their regular employees with childbirth allowances ranging from 50,000 yen up to a maximum of five million yen. In fiscal 2014, around 870 employees gave birth to their first or second child, while around 60 employees had their third, fourth, or fifth child. All of these employees received the designated childbirth allowances.

Years with SoftBank Under one year Over one year
Number of children born All First born Second born Third born Fourth born Fifth born and beyond
Allowance 20,000 yen 50,000 yen 100,000 yen 1 million yen 3 million yen 5 million yen

The Group also provides mobile handsets with a security function designed for children, free of charge, to regular employees working for a Group company for over one year upon request when their children enter elementary school. The employees are exempted from paying the basic monthly charge while they are with the Group. During fiscal 2014, around 350 children received handsets. This initiative will be continued as part of the Group's unique efforts to facilitate improved communication between parents and their children.

Creating a comfortable environment for having and rearing children

The SoftBank Group

SoftBank Group Corp. and some SoftBank Group companies have introduced a flexible work hours system to support employees in the stages of pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing. These systems include reduced working hours for pregnant employees and employees with children, sick/injured child-care leave, “Kids leave” granted until the child finishes the third grade of elementary school, and spousal leave. These are part of the Group's distinctive way of supporting a balance between childrearing and work.
SoftBank Corp. has initiatives to help both male and female employees feel comfortable balancing work and parenting. It is actively working to encourage more employees to use such work systems by opening a childrearing support portal from a male employees' standpoint and organizing lectures and workshops for employees with preschool-age children.
In order to promote understanding at the managerial level, SoftBank distributed manager-oriented childrearing support handbooks and launched an e-learning system.

Additionally, a babysitter discount policy, childcare subsidies for placing children in partnered nursery schools and homemaking services are available for employees at a discount to assist with housecleaning, meal preparation, and pickup/drop-off of children. Also, employees who use partner nurseries five days a week have 20% of basic fees for those nurseries subsidized.

Child-care leave and short working hours system

Category Item Description
Leave Maternity leave Six weeks prior to and eight weeks after childbirth
(Employees working in sales may take maternity leave immediately after pregnancy is detected)
Maternity leave for outpatient medical care Period: During pregnancy - one year post delivery
Days required for medical checkups (unpaid unless replaced with accumulated paid vacation days)
  • *
    Half-day leave possible
Maternity leave Period: 1 week before due date - 1 month post spouse's delivery
(5 days paid vacation)
Child-care leave Until the day before the child's first birthday
(Five days of child-care leave are paid. Paid leave for child-care may be taken even when the employee's spouse can take care of their child.)
  • *
    Couples where both parents are SoftBank employees and take leave can utilize SoftBank's ‘Dad and Mom Childcare Leave Plus' program until the child is 14 months old.
  • *
    If the child cannot be placed in a nursery school, the leave can be extended until the child is two years old.
  • *
    If the employee is in sales, the leave can be extended until the child is three years old.
Sick/injured child-care leave Ten days per year per child until the child enters elementary school
(Unpaid. Expired annual paid leave can be used. Half-days off are also available.)
Kids leave Ten days per year until the child graduates from elementary school
(Unpaid. Expired annual paid leave can be used. Half-days off are also available.)
  • *
    For home nursing, child's vaccination/health check-ups, school events, school closure due to epidemic, etc.
Short working hours Short working hours during pregnancy Working hours can be shortened by a maximum of two hours 45 minutes per day after detection of pregnancy
(Excluding employees in sales)
Flexible work schedule during pregnancy Period: During pregnancy
Core hours: 10am – 4pm, Flexible hours: 7am – 10am and 4pm – 10pm
Child-care short working hours Working hours can be shortened by a maximum of two hours 45 minutes per day until the child finishes third grade at elementary school
(Excluding employees working in sales)
Flexible work schedule for child-care Until the child finishes third grade of elementary school*1
Core hours: 10am - 4pm, Flexible hours: 7am - 10am and 4pm - 10pm
Postponed work schedule for child-care Until the child finishes third grade of elementary school*1
Starting time postponed by 15 minute increments between 9 and 10am
Accelerated work schedule for child-care Until the child finishes third grade of elementary school*1
Start time moved up by 15 minute increments. Earliest possible start time is 7:15am
Limitation on overtime/late-night work for child-care Until the child finishes third grade at elementary school
  • *1
    Employees in sales follow a separate set of benefits due to the department's unique business features (Until the child turns three staff can choose their working schedule from three options, all of which are limited to six working hours per day). Other benefits include working outside of core hours, limited night-shifts, and exemption from working overtime (All apply until the child completes the third grade at elementary school).

Establishing a work environment that encourages the use of benefits

SoftBank Corp.

Establishing an environment that encourages the use of benefits is as important as defining and structuring the benefits themselves. We provide a handbook on child delivery and childcare for employees, a handbook on childcare support for managers, and self-taught sessions for managers (which can be taken anytime on the Intranet) as a way to understand the handbooks' context. In addition, we are promoting information sharing on childcare support by establishing a portal site and updating it with recent relevant articles.

Additionally, we host periodic orientations for staff both before and after maternity and childcare leave, and since 2014 we have also held orientations in which staff currently on childcare leave can participate together with their child. Furthermore, we conduct workshops and networking events for mothers and fathers to share their experiences and knowledge so they can learn about child-care from one another, as well as support employee-led courses for learning about child-care.

We are continuing to work to build internal awareness of corporate benefits to give employees a full understanding of the services the SoftBank Group offers them.

Providing opportunities for family members to communicate and strengthen ties

The SoftBank Group

The SoftBank Group, with the intent to help strengthen employees' bonds with family members, holds a Family Day when employees' families and friends are invited to the workplace. Other events at the workplace are also organized to provide opportunities to spend more fun time with family and friends such as the SoftBank Group Fireworks Festival, an event for watching a fireworks festival over Tokyo Bay from Festa, a company cafeteria at the SoftBank Group Corp. (“SBG”) head office that offers a panoramic view of Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge, and Festa de Cooking, a parent and child cooking lesson.

In addition, SBG and SoftBank Corp. hold original programs with the themes of “building wholesome parent-child relationships” and “thinking seriously about environmental and nature issues” every year during the school summer break in cooperation with C.C.C. Furano Nature School, a non-profit organization. Such opportunities help parents and children deepen their communication as they spend time together amid Hokkaido's natural environment through environmental lessons and various activities.

SoftBank Group's Family Bonding Month

The SoftBank Group hosts a Family Day, to which approximately 2,000 employees and family members are invited. It also showcases employees' family pictures as part of a Family Award, and promotes active use of paid-vacation time to provide opportunities for employees to strengthen their relationships with family and friends. At the November 2014 Family Day 956 people in 235 employees' families came and enjoyed making bread and taking photos. Seasonal events are also held, such as one arranged on the day of the Tokyo Bay fireworks in the summer.

OyaOya Club

OyaOya Club was established in 2004 by a group of childcare peer supporters with the aim of improving parent-child communication. The club provides communication training through workshops on basic counseling and coaching, which teach skills for understanding children's communication signals and building trust with them. The club also builds awareness on topics such as children's emotional development and parents' communication habits, both of which significantly influence communication. This nine-session course is held twice a year during employees' lunch break. Some 20 male and female employees participate in each session, with 320 individuals having completed the course thus far.

Providing feedback on homework assignments submitted by participants, or just being a space for employees to share their child-care experience, can help to solve child-care issues.

Promoting employees' participation in volunteer activities

The SoftBank Group

SoftBank Group Corp. and SoftBank Corp. have a system to grant “volunteer leave” to staff who join in volunteer activities that meet certain criteria in an effort to raise employees' awareness of and participation in volunteer activities. In April of 2014, the leave system was revised to allow for volunteer leave to be taken in half-day time blocks, allowing for an even greater array of potential volunteer activities. Information about volunteer activities is posted on the Intranet to promote their participation in volunteer work. In fiscal 2014, about 36 employees used the volunteer leave system to support the SoftBank Group Baseball School in Tokyo 2014, and to participate in other activities.

In areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, restoration of rice paddy fields, support activities for the fishery industry, street cleaning, etc. were carried out in cooperation with locally-active reconstruction support organizations. To encourage as many employees to participate as possible, multiple volunteer options with different activities in different times were offered. Additionally, those employees who participated in volunteer activities in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake were granted extended volunteer leave. In March 2013, a tour of volunteer activities for reconstruction of the affected areas was arranged at company expense to encourage more employees' participation, and approximately 100 employees were involved in volunteer activities in the affected areas.

To help employees contribute to society more easily, the Employee Donation Program, originally proposed by employees, was started in March 2013. An employee wishing to make donation just needs to enter the organization, amount and term of the donation in the system on a voluntary basis, and then the designated amount is deducted from the employee's monthly salary and donated to the selected organization. It accepts both donations in times of disaster and donations in normal times.

The SoftBank Group also organizes an event in summer and winter to raise awareness of and encourage participation in donating blood. A total of about 940 employees donated blood at the events in fiscal 2014. A bone-marrow transplant donor leave program is also in place so that employees who have received a bone-marrow matching notice can take paid leave for examination and hospitalization that is necessary for donating bone-marrow.