Work-Life Balance

Basic Policy

We aim to raise productivity by ensuring each employee feels greater motivation and a deeper sense of fulfillment while maintaining a better work-life balance. We are working to foster a workplace environment where it is easy to work, mainly by introducing a flextime program and establishing daycare facilities at worksites.

In line with the Sumika Work-Life Balance Declaration within the ‘Take Action’ Declaration, the Company has defined the following five action items and is promoting various measures to implement them.

Sumika Work-Life Balance Declaration
Five Action Items

Management System

For management systems for work-life balance, refer to the management systems for promoting diversity and inclusion.

Targets and Results / Examples of Initiatives

Formulation of the Action Plan to Reform Workstyles

As an action plan to reform workstyles, Sumitomo Chemical established key performance indicators (KPIs) along with three main targets: ① correcting long working hours, ② encouraging employees to take paid annual leave, and ③ promoting flexible workstyles. We then set out the following measures to achieve these targets.

Action Plan to Reform Workstyles

①Correct Long
Working Hours
Aim to eliminate long working hours as a general rule (on average over 45 hours/month worked after regular hours and on weekends and holidays) from fiscal 2020. A. Employ the Internet of Things (IoT) to reform workstyles and revolutionize operations
Digitize plant-related operational processes and data, make office operations more efficient by actively using cloud sourcing and the latest technologies (including AI and sensors), etc.
B. Improve productivity by promoting a better work-life balance
Regularly convene the Labor-Management Committee consisting of labor and management representatives, take various measures to improve productivity in each workplace, hold lectures to promote better work-life balance, etc.
C. Promote initiatives for the “Sumika ‘Take Action’ Declaration”
We declared details related to work-life balance in the "Sumika 'Take Action' Declaration", which is an initiative in which we proclaim those values and views that are of importance to us as a company. In addition, we have positioned the elimination of long working hours as an action item.
②Encourage Employees to Take Paid Annual Leave Realize an average of 80% of paid leave taken annually from fiscal 2020. A. Create an annual leave chart that covers several fiscal years
Every year create an annual leave chart that covers several fiscal years to make it easier to plan far into the future and help encourage employees to take paid leave
B. Encourage employees to take paid leave
  • Encourage employees to take paid leave during Golden Week and other similar periods
  • Encourage employees to create four-day weekends by adding days of paid leave to either side of weekends and promote taking time off in the September–November period
  • Encourage senior employees to take paid leave
C. Continue to systematically provide paid leave
Systematically provide five paid-leave days every year (does not include statutory leave)
D. Promote initiatives under the “Sumika ‘Take Action’ Declaration”
We declared details related to work-life balance in the “Sumika ‘Take Action’ Declaration,” which is an initiative in which we proclaim those values and views that are of importance to us as a company. In addition, we have positioned the use of 80% of paid leave as an action item.
③Promote Flexible Workstyles By the end of 2022, achieve the following targets.
  • Realize at least 70% of male employees taking cessation from work for childcare.
  • Regarding the below questions in the employee awareness survey, achieve at least 80% affirmative responses for each question
    1. Are the programs and working environment at the Company conducive to easily working after giving birth, raising children, or caregiving?
    2. Is the general consensus in your workplace that both men and women can easily take paid or unpaid leave for childcare or caregiving and use the reduced working-hour system?
A. Issue PRs and raise awareness about programs
Continually issue PRs and raise awareness about various programs that enable employees to flexibly adjust for their individual needs, including those related to life events like childcare and caregiving. In addition, encourage male employees with newborns to take cessation from work for childcare.
B. Foster an environment that allows the realization of flexible workstyles
By taking the measures outlined above in the action plan for ① Correct Long Working Hours, create an environment where it is easy to improve the productivity of employees and their workplaces and to realize flexible workstyles.
C. Promote initiatives under the “Sumika ‘Take Action’ Declaration”
We declared details related to work-life balance, diversity and inclusion in the “Sumika ‘Take Action’ Declaration,” which is an initiative in which we proclaim those values and views that are of importance to us as a company. In addition, we have as an action item creating an environment that makes it easy for employees to fully utilize work-life balance systems, facilitating the effective use of the flex time system, establishing a cooperative framework in the workplace, and eliminating unconscious bias (including the assumption of fixed roles for men and women).

Sumitomo Chemical is taking the following actions with regard to the aforementioned target of ① Correct Long Working Hours.

(1) From April 2017, we reduced the upper limit on overtime work to 80 hours per month and 720 hours per year.
(2) Regarding the occupational physician interviews for people working long hours mandated by the Industrial Safety and Health Act, we established and are enforcing our own guidelines, which are harsher than the law, requiring interviews for people who work 70 hours or more of overtime in one month or 150 hours or more in a three-month period
(3) From March 2018, we established an even more appropriate work management system by displaying computer logon and logoff times when reporting work hours in addition to the existing system for reporting work hours.

Systems and Measures for Better Work-Life Balance and for Use at Time of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Childcare

Results of Systems for Work-Life Balance (Sumitomo Chemical)

(No. of people)
System/Measure FY2017 FY2018 FY2019


Cessation from work for childcare Total 304 336 420★
Male 175 233 315★
Female 129 103 105★
Percentage of men*1 18.7 37.6 44.7
Cessation from work for nursing care 3 1 2
Nursing care leave 153 180 181
Childbirth support leave 237 188 194
Maternal health leave 48 52 55
Expired accumulated paid leave*2 72 110 132
Reduced working hours system 134 162 152
Telecommuting*3 22 28 30
Reemployment system*4 8 10 7
In-house childcare facilities*5 167(118) 171(123) 156(113)
Mutual aid association support money for childcare*6 211 242 241
Other Suspension from work for special reasons for employees accompanying spouses going on overseas transfer*7 9 6 4
Employee awareness survey*8 - - Conduct

Note: Employee numbers do not include temporary employees, part-time staff, or dispatch employees.

  1. The percentage is the number of people who have taken cessation from work for childcare divided by the number of male employees who have had children in the relevant period.
  2. Only for childcare and nursing care
  3. Number certified in each fiscal year (Because we changed the calculation base date, we retroactively revised previous fiscal years’ figures.)
  4. Number registered as of the end of each fiscal year
  5. Number of users on April 1 each fiscal year. Includes users other than Sumitomo Chemical. The figures in parentheses are the number of Sumitomo Chemical users.
  6. Aggregate number of people at end of each fiscal year
  7. Number of applicants as of the end of each fiscal year
  8. Conducted once every three years

Employee Awareness Survey

Every three years, Sumitomo Chemical conducts an employee awareness survey that covers work, the working environment, career values, diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance with the principle aim of grasping the current situation and uncovering issues in order to enhance work environments and create more satisfying workplaces. Using the results of this survey, we promote measures to further increase people’s desire to work at the Company.

FY2019 Employee Awareness Survey

Total of five points. Four points and above is a high rating, and many employees were affirmative in their awareness.

ItemAverage employee rating
I am satisfied with working at the Company. 4.0
I am motivated to grow on my own using digital technologies. 4.0
The workplace culture allows people to easily go home. 4.1
The working environment is conducive to easily working while raising children or caregiving.* 4.2
Going forward, I want to work at the Company. 4.3
  • Average rating by women who have children of elementary school age or younger

Daycare Facilities at Worksites

With support from the Company, we encourage the use of these facilities by setting a daycare fee that is lower than those of the municipalities. To make it easy for parents to accompany children to the facilities, we consider the commuting method depending on the location.

Kurumin Mark

  • Next-generation
    certification mark

In September 2015, Sumitomo Chemical was certified for the third time as a company that supports childcare and received the next-generation Kurumin certification mark. Under this system, business operators who successfully carry out action plans based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children and meet all the certification criteria receive certification from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.
This certification was in recognition of our third round of initiatives covering the period between June 2012 and March 2015. The first certification covered the period between April 2005 and May 2007, and the second one covered the period between June 2007 and May 2012. The Company was commended for its initiatives to help promote work-life balance, such as expanding in-house childcare facilities and encouraging employees to take various forms of leave. (We are currently applying for our fourth certification.)

Looking Ahead

Regarding the KPIs set so that the Sumitomo Chemical Group works together to promote diversity and inclusion and work-life balance, we will check progress made under the Corporate Business Plan and actively work to achieve the goals laid out.