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Promoting work–life balance

Work–life balance management

Mizuho is committed to creating an engaging work environment which will encourage long–term retention and contribution. To that end, as laid out in the Diversity & Inclusion Statement (PDF/35KB), we have introduced a number of initiatives to enhance work–life balance. The goals of these initiatives include having 100% of eligible male employees take childcare leave and enabling employees to work remotely. Where appropriate Mizuho will provide flexible work arrangements to accommodate significant changes in an employee's personal circumstances (such as the birth of a child), allowing them to choose the most effective option at the time to achieve a good work–life balance.

Flexible and diverse working arrangements

Flexible working hours

In order to help employees work more effectively and productively, Mizuho offers the option of flexible working hours, such as flextime (options with and without core hours) and staggered working hours, to suit the needs of each workplace.

We also provide systems that support a good work–life balance for employees facing time limitations due to childcare and aging family care, above and beyond legal requirements. For example, employees with young children can select to work full days on some days of the week and shortened hours on other days, allowing them to flexibly adjust their working hours to fit their family's situation, their spouse's work schedule, or other circumstances.

Remote work options

In order to provide employees with flexibility in terms of the location where they work, we have set up a satellite office floor in our Head Office and introduced a remote work system available for all employees.

We have put in place the necessary framework to ensure that employees can work without coming in to the office, and this has particularly enabled employees facing time limitations due to childcare and aging family care to make maximum use of the periods of time when they are best able to work. Also, we believe that allowing each individual to select the location which they can most effectively work from will lead to increased productivity, and therefore in fiscal 2017 we launched a remote work trial at four group companies. Remote work is growing in popularity. By fiscal 2018, more than 2,000 employees had taken advantage of the system, demonstrating the benefits of remote work.

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An employee (at the far end of the table) joins a meeting from home via tablet videoconferencing

Initiatives to reduce overtime work

In order to maintain employee health and avoid burnout, not only is Mizuho taking a strong stance against overwork, but we also ask each office or branch, and each employee to set work efficiency goals, and to make proactive efforts to reduce their overtime work through increases in productivity.

In particular, we have achieved more effective operational management by encouraging the use of tablets, which support our efforts to go paperless and which employees can use to join meetings through videoconferencing and draw up proposals while meeting with clients, among other uses.

Other initiatives aimed at reducing overtime work include designated days where all employees are encouraged to leave the office on time ("Refresh Summer", "Refresh Winter", "Family Day"), and the automatic extinguishing of all lights at Head Office at a set time in the evening.

Encouraging the use of annual leave

We are aiming to continue having our employees take 70% of their paid annual leave per year by setting it as one of our KPIs. At the same time, we are continuing to encourage employees to schedule periods of consecutive leave at appropriate intervals. Aside from standard full days off, employees can also use their paid annual leave to take a half day off up to 32 times per year, which allows them to use their leave flexibly in line with their particular situations, including their childcare, caregiving, or other responsibilities. In addition, employees can take advantage of a variety of special types of leave, such as parental leave for when one's partner gives birth, "refresh leave" for employees reaching certain long service milestones, self–development leave, and volunteer activities leave.

Support for working parents

Mizuho offers several programs, above and beyond those required by law, to minimize work–related obstacles to having and raising children, such as childcare leave until the child reaches age two, and reduced working hours until the child reaches the third grade of elementary school (about age 8 to 9). In addition, we support working parents by offering childcare centers on workplace premises, and by holding seminars and providing handbooks targeted at both parents and management.

Childcare leave for male employees

By encouraging male employees to take childcare leave, we aim to enable these employees to achieve a better work–life balance and to reduce the disproportionate amount of childcare responsibility that tends to be taken on by women. Our belief is that a strong commitment to achieving a healthy work–life balance leads to a more productive workplace.

We are aiming to maintain our percentage of eligible male employees taking childcare leave at 100% by setting it as one of our KPIs, and we are taking steps to raise awareness and transform employee behavior and mindsets. As part of our initiatives, eligible male employees can have five days paid leave and extended unpaid leave for childcare, and new fathers also receive a childcare handbook and a letter of congratulations from their manager, as well as a reminder to take the leave available.

In July 2019, the CEOs of Mizuho Financial Group, Mizuho Bank, Mizuho Trust & Banking, Mizuho Securities, and Mizuho Information & Research Institute endorsed Work Life Balance Co., Ltd.'s Declaration of 100% Paternity Leave.

On–site childcare centers

Given the limited number of daycare centers for children in Japan today, Mizuho has set up the on–site childcare center "Mizuho Kids Gajumaru" in its Uchisaiwaicho Head Office Building, which many employees are making use of as they return to work.

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At the Mizuho on–site childcare center in Uchisaiwaicho, Tokyo

Childcare support system handbooks

Mizuho has created a handbook explaining our childbirth and childcare support systems in order to encourage employees to make use of these systems, and to support a smooth return to work. A Work–Life Balance Support Handbook has also been created for management to guide their efforts to provide work–life balance support for members of their team. We also introduced a childcare handbook for male employees to encourage their greater participation in childcare.

Seminars on work–life balance and career development

Every year over 2,000 Mizuho employees take childcare leave. In order to facilitate their smooth return to the workplace and their ability to balance their career with family responsibilities, Mizuho runs seminars for employees planning to go on maternity leave which are intended to assist them in remaining on track towards their career goals after returning to work and provide them with tips on achieving a good balance between work and childcare commitments. We also hold "Work–Life Balance Support Seminars" for employees on childcare leave, those who have recently returned to work, and their managers, covering potential changes in work arrangements that may be suitable at different points depending on the child's age. These programs aim to assist employees in building their careers while balancing work with childcare commitments and include talks by outside experts on medium– to long–term career development, and discussions with Mizuho employees who have experience with returning to work after childcare leave.

In addition, as another means of extending career building support and assistance for employees to achieve a balance between work and childcare obligations, Mizuho has established a system wherein managers will meet with employees prior to their maternity leave, during their leave, and when they return to work, to ensure that supervisors are able to understand each employee's particular situation and needs with regard to achieving a good work–life balance and therefore provide active support.

We also regularly provide e–learning courses and other means of enhancing all employees' understanding of the systems and benefits Mizuho offers, as well as those guaranteed under Japan's Act on Childcare Leave & Caregiver Leave. These courses aim to reduce any hesitation employees may have about using the systems/benefits available, to ensure smoother communication between those using these systems/benefits and their coworkers, and to prevent harassment.

Bring your child to work day

Every July and August, Mizuho holds a "Bring Your Child to Work Day". On this day, children come to their parent's workplace to observe and experience what their parents do each day. On the day the children visit, their parents leave work on time or use a half day of vacation time to return home early with their children, thus providing an opportunity for children and parents to spend additional time together. In FY2019, over 1,000 children visited their parents at group companies.

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Bring Your Child to Work Day: Children enjoy the experience of lifting a hundred million yen in cash.

Nurturing the next generation

In order to contribute to the creation of an environment in which the children who will lead and shape the next generation of society may be born and raised in good health, Mizuho is implementing various initiatives related to revising support systems and work styles to be more conducive to achieving a balance between work and family commitments. In 2007, and again in 2010, 2013, and 2015, Mizuho received "Kurumin" certification from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, under the Japanese Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next–Generation Children.

In FY2015, five Mizuho group companies* received Platinum Kurumin certification, an award given to previously–certified Kurumin companies that make significant efforts in implementing and maintaining systems that assist workers in balancing work and childcare.

  • *Mizuho Financial Group, Inc.; Mizuho Bank, Ltd.; Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.; Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. and Mizuho Information & Research Institute, Inc.

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Support for employees caring for aging family members

Mizuho has established a number of systems to support employees balancing work with caring for sick or aging family members. These include family–care leave and shortened or staggered working hours over and above those required by law, as well as seminars aimed at relieving employees' concerns and anxieties about balancing work and family care commitments.

Informational seminars

To help employees prepare for the possibility of suddenly and unexpectedly needing to care for a sick or aging family member, Mizuho holds seminars covering the basics of balancing work with family commitments, as well as small group discussions led by employees who have relevant experience.

Family care advisory desk

Mizuho has established an advisory desk staffed by external specialists who can provide advice to employees via email or telephone regarding concerns about caring for sick or aging family members.

Work–life balance support systems

Childbirth and childcare support systems

System/program Applicable period Overview
Pregnancy support Up to 1 year Leave available on application by employee for the purpose of advanced fertility treatment
Pre–natal maternity leave 6 weeks before due date Leave at the request of the pregnant employee
Post–natal maternity leave 8 weeks following childbirth Prohibited from working in principle
Childcare time From birth until age 1 Guaranteed childcare time twice a day (30 minutes × 2)
Childcare leave From birth until age 2 Leave at the request of an employee who gave birth to a child; up to 5 days as paid leave
Shortened working hours From birth until the third grade of elementary school Available on application by the employee; it is also possible to combine shortened working hours and full–time work.
Staggered working hours for childcare purposes From birth until the third grade of elementary school Available on application by the employee
Exemption from overtime work for childcare purposes From birth until the third grade of elementary school Overtime work restrictions or exemption at the request of the employee
Parental leave From 1 month before the due date to 2 months after the due date An employee whose spouse or same–sex partner is giving birth may apply to take special leave of up to 5 days within the stated period
Child illness or injury leave From birth until the first grade of elementary school (about age 6 in Japan) Special leave of up to five days per child per year allowed when a child is sick; leave may be taken in half–day units; this leave is separate from annual paid leave
Subsidy for expenses for a home helper, nanny, or babysitter N/A Part or all of such expenses are covered by the subsidy.
Daycare subsidy N/A For employees who want to make an early return to work from maternity/childcare leave, Mizuho will subsidize half or a portion of the cost of daycare
Childbirth and Childcare support systems (Overview)
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Caregiver support systems

System/program Applicable period Overview
Family care leave Up to 488 work days Leave of absence granted following application by an employee with a family member requiring regular care.
Family member illness or injury leave 5 days per year, per eligible family member, during the period in which the family member requires care Special leave other than annual paid leave, which can be granted to provide care for a sick or aging family member. Up to 5 days can be taken for each family member needing care. This leave may be taken in half–day units.
Accumulated leave for caregiving Up to 180 days during the period in which the family member requires care Up to 180 days of unused annual leave can be accumulated and used at a later date to care for a sick or aging family member.
Shortened working hours for caregiving purposes The period during which the family member requires care; no upper limit Shortened work hours at the request of the employee.
(It is also possible to combine shortened hours and full–time work.)
Staggered working hours for caregiving purposes The period during which the family member requires care; no upper limit Working hours changed at the request of the employee.
Exemption from overtime work for caregiving purposes The period during which the family member requires care; no upper limit Overtime work restrictions or exemption at the request of the employee.
Reduced working days for caregiving purposes The period during which the family member requires care; no upper limit A maximum of 2 business days per week set as non–work days.
Subsidy for expenses for a home helper or a babysitter N/A Part or all of such expenses are covered by the subsidy.
Caregiver subsidy After starting to take family care leave, for the period from the day after the completion of receiving family care benefit payments (a type of public benefit), until the final day of family care leave An amount equivalent to a certain portion of the employee's salary

Flexible human resources management to support a good work–life balance

We aim to ensure that our human resources management supports a good work–life balance, for example by reducing the hurdles employees face when balancing their work with childcare or aging family member care.

System/program Overview
Relocation by request System for management track (specialist) and operations specialist track staff to request a transfer due to their spouse being relocated.
Relocation due to childcare or aging family care System for employees using childcare support systems or caring for a sick or aging family member to request a transfer to a location closer to their home.
Rehiring employees who resigned for family reasons System for the rehiring (under certain conditions and by request) of former employees who resigned for reasons such as the job relocation of a spouse, childbirth, childcare, or caregiving.