Work-Life Balance

Basic Approach

NGK strives to promote a work-life balance and reduce long working hours.
We keep track of social changes, such as changing attitudes toward work as well as legislative amendments, and strive to respond to these changes flexibly and properly by improving systems and revising operations.

Initiatives to Limit Overtime Work

If, for any reason, overtime work in excess of 45 hours per month appears likely, the reason for the increase in overtime work must be confirmed through prior labor-management consultations to level out the time periods and workloads or increase the number of employees.

Countermeasures for Mitigating Increased Overtime Working Hours

Each year, NGK discloses statistics on hours worked and paid leave utilization to its Labor Union for discussion and countermeasure deliberation purposes. When cases of long working hours are found, Labor Union meets with each workplace to devise countermeasures. When long working hours are found for employees who have been temporarily assigned overseas, they must submit in writing the reason for the long working hours and undergo a health check. These measures are taken to maintain their health, and the written report is used to identify the reasons for long working hours and to develop countermeasures.

Paid Leave: Number of Days Used, Utilization Rate
(NGK Union Members; Excluding Outside Employees Temporarily Assigned to NGK)

Five-year graph showing the number of days of paid leave used and the utilization rate. In fiscal 2020, the average number of days used was 11.9, and the utilization rate was 67.5%.

Enhancing Systems for Supporting Work-Life Balance

NGK offers flexible systems to help employees maintain a balance between work and family life. To support childcare and nursing care, we are enhancing financial support by providing a babysitter expense subsidy system, and a lump-sum payment system for nursing care support. And in consideration of the working environment, we offer support via a shortened working hour system.
Further, we continue to enhance the soft infrastructure NGK has in place to support these employees. For employees seeking to balance their career with childcare, we offer pre-maternity leave interviews, pre-reinstatement interviews during the childcare leave period, career consultations, and other consultation resources. For employees undertaking nursing care, we offer nursing care-related information sessions and distribute nursing care handbooks, as well as facilitate consultation services which make use of outside resources.

Enhancement of Work-Life Balance Systems

In 2010, NGK made a major revision to its human resource system, and we have since been continuously enhancing our support measures by identifying employees’ needs.
In fiscal 2017, we established an early reinstatement lump-sum system for employees who return to work early from their childcare leave (within 11 months of the start of their childcare leave). We also established a non-registered daycare subsidy system to help subsidize employees who put their children in non-registered daycares. These systems are part of the initiatives we undertake to support employees’ careers after they have returned to work. Also, in addition to childcare and nursing care, we launched a system for flexible work arrangements to help employees who need to attend to a health condition of their own that requires repeated and ongoing treatment, thereby finding a balance between work and medical care.
In fiscal 2018, we investigated how to improve the efficiency and productivity of workplaces by offering employees greater flexibility in terms of work style and environment, so that they can work to their potential while maintaining a healthy work-life balance, regardless of when or where they work. It was in this context that we introduced a telecommuting system intended to help address the needs of employees with children or family members who require care, or who have a serious illness themselves.
In fiscal 2019, we made it possible for male employees to accumulate more vacation days to be used for post-maternity support. They can also take childcare leave for shorter periods. This has resulted in a more-than-60% increase in male employees taking childcare leave.

System to Support Employees to Balance Work and Childcare at Each Stage

Support systems for balancing work and childcare. This summarizes the kinds of support systems that can be used, from the start of pregnancy until the end of childcare leave.

Systems to Support Early Return from Parental Leave

NGK has systems to encourage and support employees who have taken maternity and childcare leave so that they can return to their careers at an early stage.
These systems are aimed at developing workplaces that support female employees in particular, with the expectation of promoting their active participation.

Systems to Support Early Return from Parental Leave

Overview of Childrearing Support Measures and Users

Systems That Exceed Legal Requirements

Unit: Persons

Item Details Category FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020
Number of childcare leave takers Until the last day of the month when the child turns 1 year old. When there are certain circumstances, such as not being able to find a daycare center, leave is available until the last day of the month in which the child turns 18 months old or the end of March after the child turns one, whichever is longer.
(Legal requirement: until the child turns 18 months old)
Total 51 53 54 94 133
Men 7 17 27 37 67
Women 44 36 27 57 66
Shortened working hours during childrearing 6 or 7 hours per day for employees until the fiscal year when their children start 4th grade in elementary school (Legal requirement: For children under the age of 3) Number of leave takers 57 51 63 64 62

Systems Operated Independently by NGK

Unit: Persons

System name Details FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020
Lump-sum payment made 6 months after returning to work Lump-sum payment is paid 6 months after returning to work 26 19 31 25 26
System for taking annual paid leave in hourly increments for employees working shortened hours Paid leave (day’s worth) can be taken in hourly increments by employees working shortened hours 36 36 59 62 58
Childcare leave for fathers using accumulated vacation days Unused annual paid holidays can be used for childcare leave 7 17 19 31 54
Pre-maternity leave interview Interview is attended by employee, HR, and supervisor to provide the employee with peace of mind while on maternity leave and ensures both sides have proper understanding of procedures related to systems supporting childcare and work 20 27 30 26 21
Interview before returning to work Supports smooth transition back to work through consultation on work details and work style 18 30 29 27 27
System for accompanying a spouse’s overseas assignment Enables employees to take a leave of up to 2 years and 6 months while accompanying a spouse (including a non-NGK employee) posted overseas for work, and allows employees to continue their career path, which was difficult to do prior to the establishment of this system 6 9 10 9 8
Maternity gift ¥50,000 gift when a child is born 208 225 241 218 260
Babysitter expense subsidy Provides up to ¥100,000 per year for employees who must pay for a babysitter or daycare due to working hours 19 9 8 11 31
Childcare Concierge Support to facilitate the process of putting a child in daycare and returning to work 2 1 1 1 0
Priority parking spaces to support childcare Priority parking spaces available at a commuter parking lot 19 29 32 40 40
Non-registered daycare subsidy system Unintroduced 1 0 0 0
Lump-sum payment for early return Unintroduced 3 7 5 3

Systems to Support Nursing Care

Working hours Time off Financial support
  • 1.Shortened working hours
  • 2.Working 3 days a week
  • 3.Flex time system
    (for employees at departments to which the regular flex time system does not apply)
  • 4.Limitation on overtime work
  • 5.Unscheduled work exemption
  • 6.Late-night working hours exemption
  • 7.Caring for a family member using accumulated vacation days
  • 8.Unpaid days off to provide care
  • 10.Care leave benefits
  • 11.Care leave support fund
  • 12.Lump-sum care allowance
Leave of absence
  • 9.Care leave

Nursing Care Leave Usage (NGK)

Category FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020
Total 0 1 1 1 1
Men 0 1 0 1 0
Women 0 0 1 0 1

Note: Includes contract employees.

Revision of the Care Leave System

In line with revisions made in January 2017 to the Child Care and Family Care Leave Act, we made revisions to our own system, such as enabling employees to divide their one-year nursing care leave into three blocks.
Moreover, we have signed a corporate contract with SeaCare, an NPO that supports care-giving, to further enhance services helpful to caregivers. This service makes care-giving consultations available free of charge, regardless of whether Certification of Needed Long-Term Care has been obtained, and enables employees to receive support in care-giving when they are unable to do so.

Company Intranet

We have a site on diverse work styles on the company intranet to widely announce our measures to support a work-life balance. This site’s user-friendly features include, for example, an online handbook on childcare and nursing care.