Policy / Systems / Technology

February 21, 2008


New Program in Japan Encourages Child-Friendly Corporations

Keywords: Government Manufacturing industry Non-manufacturing industry Policy / Systems 

Under a new government program to encourage companies to better accommodate employees who want to keep their careers while still having children, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced on October 19, 2007, that by the end of September it had already certified 366 businesses since the program began in April. Based on the Law for Measures to Support the Development of the Next Generation, 128 companies applied and were certified by the end of the program's first month, and that number almost tripled in only six months.

The ministry introduced the certification system to encourage businesses to support the nurturing of the next generation. To get certified, businesses must submit an action plan to the ministry that incorporates measures into their company policy that support employees in raising their children that meet the following criteria: it must have (1) one or more male employee who has taken parental leave; 70 percent or more of female employees that take parental leave; and (2) a system in place that allows parental leave or shortened working hours, or another equivalent system, that supports employees with one or more children between three years old and school age. Once certified, businesses can then use the certification logo (nicknamed "Kurumin") in advertising, on products, employment ads, etc.

One example of a company that gained certification is the Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company, which has expanded the range of possibilities for employees to take advantage of special arrangements to raise their children, such as flexible working hours and special treatment for start and finish times. Employees can use the program until the first April 30th after their children enter elementary school. The company also established its "Welcome Back System," in which it actively encourages employees to come back who have left the company because of marriage, a birth, or other family matters. Furthermore, the company publicizes internally and externally its commitment to help employees keep working while raising their children by posting the certification logo and the message on its web pages for recruiting, in its company brochure, etc.

Another example is the Nagaoka Painting Co. Ltd., a small painting contractor, which introduced a system that enables its employees to take paid leave (to a maximum of five days) to take care of their children in elementary, junior high school, or senior high school when they get sick. It also established "Children's Day" to encourage employees to bring their children to watch them at work. It is said that these efforts have deepened the level of trust between the company and its employees, and also brings new energy to the workplace.


Posted: 2008/02/21 11:58:01 PM
Japanese version