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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 and 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, reducing resignations due to aging family care obligations, 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 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.

Initiatives to Reduce Overtime Work

In order to maintain a healthy work environment, 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.

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.

Please see the CSR Data (Promoting Work–Life Balance) for information on the average overtime worked per month.

Encouraging the Use of Annual Leave

Mizuho encourages all employees to make use of their paid annual leave allowance, working towards our numerical target of having employees take at least 70% of their paid annual leave per year by FY2018. Employees are asked to map out their planned leave schedule at the beginning of each fiscal year, including at least one week–long consecutive leave period, a four–day weekend, and single–day "spot leave". Additionally, the ability to take a half day off up to 32 times per year makes it easy to use leave flexibly. Mizuho also provides a variety of special leave, such as a leave allowance for when one's partner gives birth (parental leave), "refresh leave" for employees reaching certain long–service milestones, and leave for self–development and for volunteer activities.

Remote Work Options

In order to enable employees to work flexibly without being limited by location, Mizuho offers remote work options which all employees can take advantage of. Using company–issued tablets (iPads) and other mobile devices, employees are able to work outside of the office, contributing to a better work–life balance and greater efficiency.

Tablet devices enable employees not only to work from home but also to work more efficiently in a variety of situations within and outside the office. We have seen increases in productivity through the use of paperless meetings, remote videoconferencing, and the ability to produce proposal documents in real time during a visit to a client.

Work Arrangement Advisory Desk

This desk, located within the HR Group, maintains close communication with each workplace in order to provide information on the different work arrangements, systems and programs that Mizuho offers and the ways that employees can use them, in addition to providing advice and solutions for issues employees may be experiencing in terms of work arrangements.

Support for Working Parents

Mizuho offers several programs, above and beyond those required by law, to minimize work–related obstacles to childbirth 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 8–9). In addition, Mizuho supports 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, Mizuho aims 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. We believe that a strong commitment to achieving a healthy work–life balance leads to the creation of a more productive workplace. With a stated numerical target of "100% of eligible male employees to take childcare leave by the end of March 2019", Mizuho is taking steps to raise awareness and transform employee behavior and mindsets. For example, as of the second half of FY2016, eligible male employees can take five days paid leave for childcare, and new fathers will also receive a childcare handbook and a letter of congratulations from their manager, as well as a reminder to take the leave available.

On–Site Childcare Centers

Given the limited number of daycare centers for children in Japan today, Mizuho has set up two on–site childcare centers in Tokyo to facilitate parents' smooth return to work from childcare leave, the first being in Sendagaya. In November 2015, Mizuho opened a new childcare center in its Uchisaiwai–cho 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 Sendagaya, 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. In the second half of 2016, 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 1,000 Mizuho employees take childcare leave. In order to facilitate their smooth return to the workplace, 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" and small group classes 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. Other programs to assist employees in building their careers while balancing work with childcare commitments include seminars by outside experts on medium– to long– term career development, and talks from Mizuho employees who have experience with returning to work after childcare leave, designed to make employees more aware of their options and opportunities.

In addition, 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.

Support for Employee Networking

In September 2016, Mizuho established a Parenting Network, which assists working parents to connect with others who share their concerns and challenges relating to childcare and their career, and to swap ideas on dealing with these various issues. For more details, see Employee Connectivity.

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 FY2017, a total of about 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.

Support for Employees Caring for Aging Family Members

With the aim of reducing to zero the number of employees leaving the company to care for sick or aging family members, Mizuho has established a number of systems to support employees balancing work with such commitments. 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 over balancing work and family care commitments.

Reducing Resignations Due to Aging Family Care Obligations

Mizuho is aiming to reduce to zero the number of employees resigning due to the time restrictions and mental and physical burden involved in providing care to a sick or aging family member, despite a wish to continue working. We aim to achieve this by providing extensive support so that employees can balance work and caregiving, for example by offering flexible work arrangements and assurance of job security. In October 2016, Mizuho began implementing fundamental revisions to this support system with regard to such points as working hours, leave including extended leave of absence, and subsidies, to create a work environment that aims to prevent employees from feeling the need to resign due to aging family care obligations.

For more details, see Support for Employees Caring for Aging Family Members.

Informational Seminars

To help employees prepare for the possibility of suddenly and unexpectedly needing to care for an aging or sick family member, Mizuho holds occasional seminars covering the basics of balancing work with care commitments, and small group classes led by employees who have experience with this. In November 2016, we held our first one–day event for employees from all over Japan, where they could learn about support systems for caregivers and have their family members join them in discussions with outside experts about their concerns.

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 aging or sick family members. In November 2016, we offered for the first time a weekend consultation session with external specialists and a lunchtime networking meeting for employees caring for aging or sick family members.

Support for Employee Networking

In October 2016, Mizuho established a Caregivers Network, which assists employees who are caregivers to connect with others who share their concerns and challenges relating to caring for sick or aging family members, and to swap ideas on dealing with these various issues. For more details, see Employee Connectivity.

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 The period during 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 The period during 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.

Flexible Human Resource Management to Support a Good Work–Life Balance

System/program Overview
Relocation by request System for generalist managerial track (non–rotational) and 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.

Please see the "Promoting Work–Life Balance" section of the CSR Data page for figures on areas such as childcare leave, family care leave, and usage of paid annual leave.