Improving Work-Life Balance


Implementing the Ajinomoto Group Work-Life Balance Vision

  • The Work-Life Balance Kick-off seminar

    The Work-Life Balance Kick-off seminar

Ajinomoto Co., Inc. is carrying out various initiatives aimed at realizing the goals of its Work-Life Balance Vision.

The company has been focusing on systematically improving its programs related to work-life balance, and introduced a re-employment system for retired and former employees in fiscal 2009. In fiscal 2010, the company began offering partial salary payment for the first 15 days for employees taking parenting leave. Male employees have taken advantage of the change since its implementation, with 11 taking leave during the fiscal year.

With the goal to raise employee awareness of its programs related to work-life balance, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. invited external experts and held Work-Life Balance Kick-off seminars in fiscal 2010 at the company's head office, research divisions, and offices around Japan including branch offices and factories. The seminars were followed by workplace workshops designed to deepen employees' understanding of work-life balance and strengthen related programs at work sites. Employees attending the seminars expressed that they had gained a full appreciation of the true meaning of work-life balance and sought to explore the subject in more detail with coworkers.

Looking forward, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. intends to steadily expand measures to promote work-life balance. The company conducts a corporate culture survey every two years in order to accurately assess employee awareness of related programs and gain a perspective of the workplace climate. Based on this information, management is enhancing and expanding initiatives that can lead to the mutual growth and development of both employees and the company.


The Ajinomoto Group Work-Life Balance Vision

The Ajinomoto Group Work-Life Balance Vision

Building Supportive Workplaces

The Ajinomoto Group is promoting various initiatives to create supportive workplaces that foster job satisfaction based on findings from the Work-Life Balance Improvement Project, a joint labor and management initiative. The project contributes to the realization of productive lives for all employees, the prosperity of society through personal growth, and the long-term development of the company.

  • The Kurumin Mark certification for companies complying with childcare support standards was acquired for a second term on October 27, 2009. It acknowledges the target achievements of the company's 'action plan based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children, and actions taken along other guidelines. Ajinomoto Co., Inc. is undertaking preparations to acquire Kurumin Mark certification for the new action plan starting in fiscal 2010.

The Kurumin Mark


National policies and Ajinomoto Co., Inc. initiatives related to work-life balance

Japanese Government Policies   Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Initiatives
  1990 and earlier
  • Introduced financial assistance to cover babysitter costs
 
  • Implementation of the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave
1991
  • Introduced the Family Care Leave System
 
  1992
  • Implemented the Parenting Leave System and the Part-Time Parenting and Work System
  • Introduced the Leave System for Volunteer Activities
  2000
  • Introduced the Ajinomoto Certified Professional System for managers
 
  • Revision of the Labor Standards Act
  • Eased requirements for work projects using discretionary labor
  • Extended fixed-term employment contract period
2003  
  2004
  • Implemented major revisions to childcare programs
 
  • Introduced morning sickness leave for up to 10 days
  • Extended the Part-Time Parenting and Work System period to 4 years, until one's child reaches the 4th grade of elementary school
  • Eased conditions for obtaining accumulated paid leave
  • Established the Childcare Leave System to care for sick children
  • Revised the Rejuvenation Leave System
  • Established a parental leave support program
  • Issued a handbook on childcare
  • Established a career path support program for employees
  • Revision of the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave
  • Enforcement of the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children
2005
  • Established an action plan June 2005 to May 2007 to acquire the Kurumin Mark certification, which promotes the fostering of the next-generation of children
 
  • Revision of the Act on Securing, Etc. of Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment
2006  
  2007
  • Introduced the Part-Time Family Care and Work System
  • Acquired the Kurumin Mark certification
  • Established an action plan for June 2007 to May 2009 for new Kurumin Mark certification
  • Increased the number of paternity leave days for newborn care from 2 to 5
  • Expanded the Ajinomoto Certified Professional System to include general positions
  • Implemented measures to shorten work hours for shift workers and field sales representatives
  • Revised rules for childcare and family care to broaden eligibility
  2008
  • Revised rules for company housing subsidies for the families of employees posted away from home
  • Set annual average employee working hours to 2,000 hours as a guideline
  • Launched the Work-Life Balance Improvement Project and formulated the Ajinomoto Group Work-Life Balance Vision
  2009
  • Established an action plan for June 2009 to May 2011 for new Kurumin Mark certification
  • Acquired Kurumin Mark certification for the second period
  • Introduced the Re-employment System
  • Revision of the Labor Standards Act
  • Extra wage rate of 50% or more for overtime beyond a 60 hour work week
  • Revision of the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave
2010
  • Began providing partial salary payment under the Parenting Leave System
  • Further extended the Part-Time Parenting and Work System period until one's child reaches the 4th grade of elementary school
  • Increased the number of days of half-day paid leave
  • Increased the maximum number of days of accumulated paid leave
  • Broadened permissible reasons for taking childcare leave or using accumulated paid holidays

Employee usage of the Ajinomoto Group programs related to work-life balance in fiscal 2010

Program or initiative Details Employees who have used the program
Parenting Leave Leave can be taken until the last day of April following the child's 1st birthday (can legally be extended for 6 months). A total of 15 days paid leave from the first day of leave is provided.

97 (including 11 male employees)

Part-Time Parenting and Work Part-time work is allowed until the child enters the 4th grade of elementary school. Leave can be taken up to 2 hours and 30 minutes per day. 107
Childcare Leave Employees with children who have not yet entered junior high school can take up to 10 days of childcare leave per fiscal year per child. Leave can be taken in half-day units. 47
Family Care Leave Absences or suspension of work can be taken to care for a spouse, parents, or family within the second degree of kinship whom the employee supports. Leave can be taken up to 1 year. 3
Part-Time Family Care and Work Part-time work is allowed when certain family members are in need of nursing care. Leave can be taken up to 2 hours and 30 minutes per day until the family member no longer needs care. 2
Accumulated Paid Leave Accumulated paid leave can be taken under the following circumstances: caring for a spouse, parents, or family within the second degree of kinship whom the employee supports due to a non-occupational illness or injury; regular hospital visits of family members mentioned above due to a non-occupational illness or injury; and during a temporary closing of school. Leave can be taken in half-day units, and a maximum of 40 days can be accumulated. 64
Rejuvenation Leave Rejuvenation leave can be taken once during each age category below for the following number of days, for a combined total of 27 days:
Age 25-32: 5 days (can extend to a total of 9 days with paid leave and weekends)
Age 33-40: 5 days (can extend to a total of 16 days with paid leave and weekends)
Age 41-48: 15 days (can extend to a total of 30 days with paid leave and weekends)
Age 49-56: 7 days (can extend to a total of 16 days with paid leave and weekends)
Rejuvenation leave can be taken from the first April 1 after 5 years have passed since the last day of the previous rejuvenation leave.
160
Volunteer Leave Volunteer leave can be taken for up to 8 days per fiscal year by employees who are qualified to engage in volunteer activities at NPOs or social welfare organizations, such as welfare services for people with disabilities, welfare services for and nursing care of seniors, welfare services for children, and activities for protecting the environment, providing disaster relief, donating bone-marrow, or other activities for which the company gives permission. 3
Re-employment system In the event that retirement was unavoidable due to any of the following reasons, the employee may register for re-employment.
  • Childbirth and newborn care
  • Family and child care
  • Relocation due to marriage or spouse's job transfer
Number of employees registered as of April 1, 2011: 11
Initiative to reduce working hours Holding no-overtime days at business sites -
Initiative to improve rate of taking paid leave Implementation of paid leave usage campaign at business sites -
Financial assistance for babysitter hire Provided employees with 1,500 yen each occasion a babysitter is hired 5

Healthcare Initiatives

At Ajinomoto Co., Inc., the Wellness Promotion Center provides a health system that emphasizes the concept of self-care. It is comprised of eight industrial physicians, 11 medical staff members (nurses and hygienists), a general manager, and 9 staff members.

Since health management issues differ among new hires, middle-ranking employees, and managers, industrial physicians offer guidance specific to the kind of employee at the company. New managers and middle-ranking employees not only learn about their health management, but also about specific ways to identify signs of health problems among colleagues.

All employees of the company undergo annual checkups at the center, which was established solely for company personnel. The results are reviewed by industrial physicians, nurses and hygienists in order to offer guidance and information on health maintenance.

Employees working and living outside Japan also take an annual health checkup in the country where they work. The results are reviewed by the company's medical staff members in Japan, who follow up on the employees' health management.

Furthermore, the company's health care system allows employees outside Japan to discuss the health problems of their immediate family members and obtain advice. Going forward, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. continues to assist employees maintain their health with the support of the center's staff.