Equal Gender Opportunity Initiatives
Seiko Epson, an early advocate of equal opportunity employment in Japan, abolished gender-based difference in pay in 1983. In addition, we aim to provide equal gender opportunity at the time of childbirth and childcare. The results of our initiatives show up in the numbers, such as the duration of service and the rate at which mothers return to work after taking childcare leave. Moreover, nearly 100% employees take parental leave. And, the return-to-work rate for employees who have taken maternity and childcare leave in the 2015 fiscal year was 98% (and has averaged 99% for the past 10 years). In fact, as of March 31, 2016, women stay with Epson longer than men on average (22.2 years for women versus 18.9 years for men).
Well-Being Leave Program
Epson introduced a well-being leave program in March 1998 that allows employees who do not use all their annual paid vacation days during the year to stockpile the remainder, up to 60 days, in a separate account. They have the option of using well-being leave days in the event of personal injury or illness, or to care for children or family members, or to participate in school events for their children in elementary and middle school.
Monitoring and Controlling Working Hours
Epson remains fully compliant with labor laws. One of the ways we ensure compliance is by following an operations manual that Epson created to prevent excess overtime work. We have also deployed time management initiatives and monitoring systems across the organization. Epson has programs to build awareness among employees of the importance of regulating working hours appropriately and we are fully committed to maintaining a well-balanced working environment.
Work-Life Balance Initiatives
Recognizing the importance of the well-being and development of our children, Epson encourages employees to balance their careers with their personal lives . We enforce an eight-hour no overtime workday at least once per week at our sites in Japan, and an increasing number of sites have a day each year when parents can bring their children to work. To create an environment suitable for both male and female employees who want to pursue a career, we are working to support childcare. From October 2005, we have offered subsidies for baby sitting services. We have gradually increased the subsidy, and currently we pay the full amount for up to 16 hours. Company housing next to the workplace is made available as childcare space to maintain the privacy of employees' homes.
Certification as an "Eruboshi" Company
On July 11, 2016, the Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare granted Seiko Epson the top "Eruboshi" mark in recognition of its efforts as a good company to promote the active participation and advancement of women in the workplace.
The Ministry established the Eruboshi mark in February 2016 based on the newly enacted Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace. Companies that draw up and submit an action plan and meet certain standards are eligible to receive the mark if they have demonstrated successful efforts to promote the advancement of women. Companies that apply for the mark are graded on five criteria and awarded one of three levels of certification depending on how many of the criteria they satisfy. Seiko Epson, which met all five criteria, was certified to receive the Grade 3 Eruboshi mark1.
Seiko Epson launched a project to step up its initiatives related to women's advancement. Through such programs as setting up discussions between female employees and management and establishing a new mechanism that enable people to continue working while they provide care for elderly relatives, the company intends not only to help women continue working, but also to provide an environment where women who want careers can advance into leadership roles.
1 The criteria are recruitment, continued employment, working hours, percentage of women in managerial positions, and diversity of career courses.
Certification as an Kurumin and Platinum Kurumin Company
As a result of Epson's efforts to establish a friendly workplace environment, we were awarded use of the so-called Kurumin symbol from 2007 and the Platinum Kurumin symbol in 2016. Use of these symbols is awarded by the Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare to companies that implement policies, that support the parenting of their employees in accordance with the Act on Measures to Support the Development of the Next Generation.
Labor and Management Initiatives
Seiko Epson is a union shop whose employee union representatives work cooperatively with management to foster a better work environment. Joint committees are formed to discuss and finalize mutual resolutions to issues on a variety of topics, such as work systems, family support, and benefits and wages.