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We strive to foster work-life balance in employee-friendly workplaces where diverse employees can make full use of their capabilities.

Below are some initiatives around promoting Work-Life Balance in Japan.
Further updates on global initiatives from different regions and businesses are coming soon.

Policies to Reduce Excessive Working Hours

We have set a goal of total working hours of 1,899 hours or less (*) by curbing long working hours and promoting the acquisition of annual paid leave (in principle, all employees have 16 days or more).​
* The above goal is an average of 39 hours per week (5 days), which is aligned with the ILO standard of 48 hours per week.​

Ensuring Reasonable Working Hours

The Suntory Group works to eliminate excessive working hours and encourage employees to take annual paid leave through cooperation between labor and management, and thoroughly complies with all relevant labor laws, including the laws that govern working hours – through these measures we aim to create a workplace where employees are healthy and work with enthusiasm.  We have also implemented a system that can track the number of computer use hours and other information. We support self-management of employees and provide guidance for improvement of working styles as necessary.

Total actual annual working hours

  • *
    Official working hours in the standard Suntory Group offices are 7.5 hours a day, 121 vacation days and the annual total official working hours is 1,830 hours.
  • *
    SHD: Suntory Holdings Ltd.
  • *
    SBF: Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd.

Annual paid vacations taken

  • *
    SHD: Suntory Holdings Ltd.
  • *
    SBF: Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd.

Work Style Innovation

The Suntory Group is taking steps to innovate work styles with the objective to generate high productivity, high-quality output, and new value creation as well as to allow diverse employees to work with enthusiasm.
In 2010, we have removed the restriction of time and place in order to achieve flexible working styles and in principle, removed core time in flextime working, expanded the scope and expanded the number of employees who qualify for "teleworking*" that allows use in 10 minute increments. In addition, we have introduced a discretionary working hours system in our Research & Technology Development Division as an effort to make working styles that are suitable for work. We are promoting work style innovation in each department in accordance with the particular types of work done by adopting flextime in our R&D departments. New work styles utilizing IT, such as the use of smartphones in sales divisions, are making steady inroads.
In addition, we formulated specific action plans in each department. Appointed work-style innovation promotion leaders and managers in every department are working with united as employees, superiors, and administration.

  • *
    Teleworking: Working at home or otherwise outside the office

Various Activities Facilitating Work Style Innovation

Measure Description
Promoting of flexible work styles Promoting the use of flex-time and teleworking programs
Roughly 80% employees used the teleworking program
Received the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare's Award for Enterprises that Promote Telework (Shiny Telework Prize) in 2015.
The Nikkei Smart Work Award, which recognizes advanced companies that increase productivity through work style reforms and grow sustainably, won the grand prize in 2019 and 2020, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021.
Promotion of operational efficiency Promotes the use of high-performance video conferences, teleconferences, tablets, smartphones, portable computers, and RPA
Revises policies such as meeting rules and rules to create materials that use the Working Methods Handbook
Continually revise operations from the perspective on-site in each department founded in the work-style innovation promotion leader program.

Shares various information and opinions on the online Walk the Walk “Yatte Minahare” work-style innovation knowledge site

In 2017, the Suntory Group launched the Walk the Walk “Yatte Minahare” portal site online as a place to communicate and share knowledge related to the promotion of work-style innovation as a means to encourage this work-style innovation.

  • Work-style Innovation Knowledge Site

Support employees considering work-life balance

We have been working toward expanding our programs that help employees to maintain the balance between work and personal life while being responsive to individual circumstances through the creation of programs providing benefits that exceed what is legally required. We also recognize tackle decrease in number of children social as society in whole and the social responsibility of a company and provide support according to the status of the workplace and needs of the employees.

Supporting Work as well as Child and Nursing Care with Flexible Work Styles and Programs

The programs have become systems that allow employees to always work enthusiastically even when there are constraints on time and place by leveraging flexible working styles such as flex-time and telecommuting as well as the policies below.

Child Care Programs

We have expanded systems to support child birth and child rearing based on The Act for Partial Revision of the Act for Measures to Support the Development of the Next-Generation Children enacted in April 2005. We have implemented child care leave, shortened and staggered working hour programs which can be used during pregnancy and child rearing. Employees can vastly adjust their work style to meet children’s active hours such as dropping off and picking up children at nursery schools.
As a result, we acquired the certification mark “Next Generation Development Support Enterprise” from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2008. We started a partially paid child care leave program (Welcome Baby Care Leave) with the purpose of promoting male employees to take child care leave in 2011. The rate of employees taking child care leave in 2021 was 100% for women and 58% for men. Each year the number of men taking child care leave is growing with 174 women and 134 men taking child care leave throughout the year.
Suntory group have taken steps to derive strength from diversity and enrich our workplace through inclusion. Now, we have set up “Paternity Leave” as one of the major pillars of our diversity management promotion. We will strengthen our activities with the goal of achieving this goal by 2024.

Nursing Care Programs

From April 2011, we have extended the period for systems regarding nursing care (nursing care leave, shortened and staggered working hours and flex-time programs), and clarified the requirements for nursing care leave, eased the requirements for shortened and staggered working hours and flex-time programs in September 2016 to expand the initiatives for nursing. In 2017, we created a nursing care handbook to inform employees about the subject, held nursing care seminars, and invited an outside instructor to speak about topics such as preparations before the start of nursing care.

  • Next generation development support enterprise certification mark*

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    Next generation development support enterprise certification mark "Kurumin":
    A certification mark awarded by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to a company that provides environment to support workers that bring up children while working, and engages in other initiatives to support all employees, not limited to working parents.

Enhancing Support During Child Rearing

We have established systems to realize support before, during and after child birth such as supporting employees return to work by subsidizing the cost of corporate contract babysitters in 2012 and support in times of illness or emergencies to enhance the support for families during the period they are raising their children. We also support both work and nursing/child care through providing training to managers to raise their awareness and take innovate actions.
Based on suggestions raised by employees who participated in the Child Rearing Project, we have implemented the following measures before taking leave and after returning to work.

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    Before maternity leave: Explanation of the system, providing guidance before maternity leave for all applicants for the main purpose of providing information for a smooth return to work(Men and women who are interested / partners can also participate this guidance)
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    During maternity leave: An online newsletter is issued once a month to introduce timely corporate information, relevant examples of employees who have returned to work and other information helpful in returning to work
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    Returning to work : The company provides subsidies for a defined period of time for babysitters when entry into daycare facilities is difficult
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    After returning to work: Introduction of follow-up seminars after babysitter programs and child care leave during illness and emergencies for the purpose of supporting both after employees return to work while facilitating an early return to a standard workload

These initiatives have been praised overall to earn the Grand Prix in the 2016 ranking of companies with a great balance between work and raising children conducted by Nikkei Dual.

Results of Employees Taking Child Care Leave

Overview of policies to support child care (Revised April 2012)

Overview of policies to support child and nursing care

Item Description
Childcare Maternity leave As a general rule, six weeks before child birth and eight weeks after child birth
Childcare leave As a general rule, can be taken until child reaches three years of age
Welcome Baby Care Paid leave for five consecutive days from the day of the start of child care leave
(From child birth to reaching a year and half years old)
Shortened and Staggered Working Hour Program Until the child enters junior high school
Shortened working hours are a maximum of two hours per day and staggered working hours can be set within a set range
Flex-time Program Reasons or age of the child are not specified
Telecommuting Program Working at home or otherwise outside the office
Reasons or age of the child are not specified
Child support leave Special leave for any reason related to child rearing (paid leave)
Five days per year for every child before entering junior high school. Ten days per year if there are more than two child
Babysitting service to support employees return to work If entering nursing schools or a similar facility is difficult, corporate contract babysitters are introduced and its fees are subsidized for a maximum of seven months until the child is able to enter a nursery school, etc.
Babysitting services for times of child illness or emergency The company pays for initial and annual membership fee for corporate contract babysitters to make the service more usable during child illness, sudden overtime or business trip and other emergencies. Can be used until the child reaches fourth grade elementary school student.
Subsidies to use for babysitters In-house babysitting for infants and drop off and pick up of young elementary school children and children in nursery schools, etc.
Amount of the subsidy is 1,700 yen per day
Infertility treatment support For specified ART treatment, a leave of up to one year can be taken
and monetary support for treatment of up to 300,000 yen is available
Job Return Program Those that worked for three or more years and registered are candidates for reemployment
Until the child being raised (not limited to the child that was the reason for resignation) enters elementary school (maximum of ten years)
Nursing Nursing leave The maximum of three years can be exceeded if the total is within 93 days
Benefits are of ¥50,000 per month
Shortened and Staggered Working Hour Program Shortened working hours are a maximum of two hours per day and staggered working hours can be set within a set range
Flex-time Program No reason is required or restriction on the period of time set
Telecommuting Program Working at home or otherwise outside the office
No reason is required or restriction on the period of time set
Special leave Leave to accompany someone to the hospital, etc. (paid leave)
Five days per year for one family member or ten days a year for more than two family members are given for the nursing care obligations
Home helper employment assistance Subsidize 70% of the fee for one person per day (maximum of ¥15,000) and maximum of 50 days per year.
Job Return Program Those that worked for three or more years and conducted the registration process are candidates for reemployment
A maximum length of ten years is provided to resolve nursing care requirements
Vacation Refresh leave system Special leave and premium are provided for employees that have worked for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years

Overview of policies to support nursing care

Change in the number of employees that took advantage of child or nursing care policies

(employees)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Child and nursing care Childcare leave 339 304 291 304 370
Shortened and staggered working hour for child care Male 56 133 111 122 163
Female 54 171 180 182 207
Newly taking childcare leave 229 75 74 67 101
Number of employees returning after childcare leave Male 155 117 114 127 124
Female 70 75 75 79 80
Number of employees that resigned during childcare leave Male 0 0 0 0 0
Female 3 0 0 0 4
Ratio of employees returning after childcare leave Male 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Female 95.9% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 95.2%
Number of employees remaining at end of the year after taking childcare leave previous year Male 102 152 135 122 129
Female 196 169 165 176 173
Number of employees returning from child care leave Male 100% 97.44% 100.0% 100.0% 87.2%
Female 98.5% 92.35% 96.5% 98.0% 88.7%
Telecommuting program 4,845 5,176 5,674 6,696 6,921
Shortened and staggered working hour for child care 216 217 178 122 93
Child support leave 583 599 650 555 537
Babysitting Service 29 34 44 37 50
Shortened and staggered working hour for nursing care 0 0 2 0 1
Nursing leave 2 3 2 1 2
Home helper 2 1 4 3 4
Vacation Refresh leave 801 824 886 485 694

Supporting Employees Return to Work after Child or Nursing Care Leave

The Suntory Group mandates interviews with direct supervisors before employees take leave or after employees return to work as one part of its support of employees returning to work. A system has also been built to allow internal information to be confirmed at any time by browsing the intranet from a household computer while the employee is on leave. Moreover, measures have been put in place to reduce concerns of employees returning to work that includes sending out information with know-how they can use after returning to work as an email magazine each month for employees taking child care leave.

Re-employing Employees Who Have Resigned Due to Child Care and Nursing Care

The Suntory Group has introduced the Job Return Program that re-employs employees that have resigned due to pregnancy, child care, nursing care, or a spouse's appointment overseas who wish to return to the workplace. The terms are determined after a defined trial period based on the certifications and salary at the time the employee resigned. 63 employees have registered for the program between when the program was introduced in 2007 and 2020 with ten employees returning to the workplace up to the end of 2020.

Period of Absence for the Job Return Program

Reason for resignation Period of absence
Pregnancy, child birth, or child care Until the child being raised reaches elementary school with a maximum of up to ten years
Nursing Until the nursing care requirements are resolved with a maximum of up to ten years
Overseas appointment of spouse Until the spouse returns from their appointment overseas with a maximum of up to ten years