Supporting a balance between childcare and work
One of the most fundamental duties for companies is creating a work environment supportive of childbirth and parenting, where employees balancing work and childcare can reach their full potential. In order to achieve this, SoftBank has put in place childcare support system policies and a general business plan in accordance with Japan's Law on the Promotion of Measures to Support Fostering of the Next Generation.
Company measures to address Japan's low birthrate
SoftBank Corp. provides regular employees with childbirth allowances ranging from 50,000 yen up to a maximum of five million yen. In fiscal 2016, around 840 employees gave birth to their first or second child, while around 90 employees had their third, fourth, or fifth child.
|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|
Child support system policy outline
To support employees during pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare, SoftBank Corp. offers flexible work systems to employees from pregnancy until the child reaches the end of elementary school.
|Maternity leave||Child plan||Leave required for hospitalization due to infertility treatment
(unpaid unless replaced with accumulated paid vacation days)
|Maternity leave for outpatient medical care||Leave required for medical checkups during pregnancy available until one year post-delivery
(unpaid unless replaced with accumulated paid vacation days, half days possible)
|Maternity protection care leave||If received a doctor's order regarding maternal protection
(can apply to alleviate the work burden or apply for Maternity Protection leave)
(Maternity Protection leave is unpaid unless replaced with accumulated paid vacation days)
|Maternity leave||Six weeks prior to and eight weeks after childbirth
(employees working in sales may take maternity leave sooner)
|Paternity leave||Five days during the period one week prior to and one month after childbirth
(paid vacation, half days possible)
|Leave and holidays during childcare||Childcare leave||Until the day before the child turns one, five days of childcare leave are paid. Paid leave for childcare may be taken even when the employee's spouse is able to provide childcare.
|Sick/injured childcare leave||Ten days per year per child until the child enters elementary school
(unpaid unless replaced with accumulated paid vacation days. Half days available)
|Kids' leave||Ten days per year until the child graduates from elementary school
(unpaid unless replaced with accumulated paid vacation days. Half days available)
|Special work arrangements||Short working hours during pregnancy||Working hours can be shortened by up to two hours and 45 minutes per day anytime during pregnancy|
|Flexible work schedule during pregnancy||Flextime system between 7:30am-10:00pm anytime during pregnancy|
|Short working hours for childcare||Working hours can be shortened by a maximum of two hours and 45 minutes per day until the child finishes elementary school|
|Flexible work schedule for childcare||Flexi-time system between 7:30am-10:00pm until the child finishes elementary school|
|Postponed and accelerated work schedule for childcare||Work start time can begin at any 15 minute increment from 7:15am to 10:00am. Can be used alongside short working hours for childcare.|
|Overtime/late-night work limits for childcare||Available until the child graduates elementary school|
|Childcare break time||Until the child turns one
- *Due to the nature of sales positions, sales employees are subject to a different system. Until the child turns 3, staff can choose a work schedule from three options, all of which have a limit of six working hours per day. Other benefits include working outside of core hours, limited night-shifts, and exemption from working overtime, all of which apply until the child completes the third grade at elementary school.
Initiatives to alleviate childcare concerns
Orientations and consultation meetings are held to provide parental support to employees. To lessen anxiety during childcare leave (including leave taken before and after birth), employees may continue to use their company-issued mobile phone and iPad and can access the company's intranet and e-learning tools. Additionally, employees have access to daycare, babysitting, and housekeeping services through our employee welfare program “Benefit Station”, and can receive childcare subsidies for children attending affiliated nursery schools. Additionally, employees have access to daycare, babysitting, and housekeeping services through our employee welfare program “Benefit Station”, and can receive childcare subsidies for children attending affiliated nursery schools.
- *Benefit Station is a benefit welfare service provided by Benefit One Inc.
|Consultation meeting held prior to maternity leave||A consultation meeting with HR to discuss and receive explanations on services available during pregnancy, as well as procedures and subsidies after childbirth. An e-learning session is also available for employees unable to attend in person.|
|Orientation during childcare leave||An orientation open to both parent and child which takes place during childcare leave. Discussions are held amongst employees on childcare leave about systems and preparation for returning to the workplace. The orientation is a great opportunity to spend time with other working mothers and reacquaint with colleagues after being away from the office.|
|Return to work orientation||A discussion held to discuss any issues about returning to work, and introduce return to work systems and communities.|
Family orientated activities
In cooperation with NPO C.C.C. Furano Nature School, SoftBank Corp. holds programs every year during the school summer break to foster understanding of nature and the environment as well as to help build strong family units. The programs are an opportunity for families to spend time together in the rich nature of Hokkaido.
The Company offers a number of programs to help strengthen bonds between friends and family. These including Family Day, an event where family members of employees can visit the office, Family Award, a showcase for family pictures, and paid-leave vacation. At the December 2016 Family Day 1,000 people from 279 employee families came and enjoyed a festival style event as well as taking commemorative photographs with Pepper.
Building a strong employee support network in childcare
Oya Oya Club (Parents 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. The club also builds awareness in 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, and a mix of 20 male and female employees participate in each session, with 410 individuals having completed the course thus far. Alongside this, events including lectures and lunches held by women community groups and activities aimed at fathers are also ongoing.
Supporting nursing care and work balance
Japan's decreasing birthrate and aging population are bringing about a period of demographic burden. By enhancing the provision of information and implementing a support system to respond to employees who wish to balance work and nursing care, we aim to reduce employee turnover due to nursing care responsibilities to zero.
|Leave and holidays during nursing care||Long-term nursing care leave||Up to one year
(division across the year possible, unpaid unless replaced with accumulated paid vacation days)
|Nursing care leave||10 days per year
(necessary caregiver support status needed, 5 days for non-permanent or junior employees)
|Special work arrangements||Short working hours for nursing care||Working hours can be shortened by up to two hours and 45 minutes per day
(application for extension required on a yearly basis; no extension limit)
|Flexible work schedule for nursing care||Flexi-time system between 7:00am-10:00pm
(unavailable for sales employees)
|Postponed and accelerated work schedule for nursing care||Work start time can begin at any 15-minute increment from 7:15am to 10:00am. Can be used alongside short working hours. (Not available for sales employees)|
|Overtime/late-night work nursing-care limit||Limits on overtime and late-night work due to nursing care for family possible|