Updated on August 23, 2017

Providing Systems to Support a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Sony believes that strong revenues are sustained by providing a worker-friendly environment where each employee can perform to their full potential. Under this vision, Sony considers employee health and work-life balance as essential to creating innovation and sustaining strong revenues as a company. Sony offers flexible working provisions and work conditions for employees to realize this work-life balance, while adhering to the customs and laws in countries and regions where it does business.

In Japan, Sony Corporation has introduced a flex-time system and a discretionary working system, which enables employees to work with versatile options. Sony employees regularly use a high percentage of their allotted annual paid days off. In fiscal 2016, employees of Sony Corporation took an average of 16.6 days off, compared with the national average of 10.4 days off at other companies.

  • *Source for average for other companies in Japan: Comprehensive Survey of Wage Conditions (Fiscal 2016), Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Surveyed companies had a workforce of more than 1,000 employees.

Flexible Work Options for Diverse Lifestyles

Sony offers human resources programs that enable employees to make the most of their talents within their preferred lifestyles.

In 2015, Sony began offering a leave program that enables employees to take up to five years off to pursue studies or work on upgrading their language or communication skills, when accompanying a spouse who has been assigned abroad or embarks on international studies. Sony also began offering a Flexible Career Leave program that enables employees to take up to two years off to pursue studies at their own expense to further or expand their specialization.

In 2016, Sony revised the eligibility for its telework program, expanding it from parenting and caregiving situations to cover all employees. Sony will continue to expand programs to provide employees with flexible and efficient work options, with the aim of enhancing the business efficiency of its organizations, fostering an organizational culture that generates ideas, and increasing the productivity and output of each employee.

Supporting Employees Doing Child Care or Nursing Care

Under a work-life balance initiative, Sony Corporation provides paid leave programs which can be used along with Child Care Leave such as Special Child Care Leave (up to 20 days) and Accumulated Leave used for pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing, fertility treatment, and nursing care purpose. These programs are widely used by employees.

For employees who have child care or nursing care responsibilities, Sony provides support by offering systems which give the option of reduced working hours for child care or nursing care and allow employees to work at home or take paid annual leave on an hourly basis.

In fiscal 2017, Sony introduced a Career Plus program that supports career development while employees take parenting or caregiving leave, by enabling employees to keep doing some work from home and also by subsidizing language courses. The program provides greater flexibility for employees to continue their career development.

Number of Employees Taking Child Care Leave at Sony Corporation in Fiscal 2016
Number of employees taking child care leave 195 employees (including 7 male employees)
Percentage of employees who took child care leave* 100%
Percentage of employees who returned to work 97.5%
  • *Calculated with employees who gave birth in fiscal 2016.
Number of Male Employees Taking Special Child Care Leave at Sony Corporation in Fiscal 2016
Number of male employees who took special child care leave 550
Work-Life Balance Systems at Sony Corporation
System Introduced
Child Care Leave 1990
  • Up through April 15 of the year following the date on which the child reaches 1 year of age
  • Can be used in combination with Special Child Care Leave when child reaches 8 weeks of age (for men)
Reduced Working
Hours for Child Care
  • Until the child is sixth grade of elementary school
  • Flex-time system can also be used during period of reduced working hours for child care
Child Care Grant 2007
  • Grant of 50,000 yen/month during period of Child Care Leave
Special Child Care
  • Provides for 20 days' paid leave
  • Can be used in combination with Child Care Leave when child reaches 8 weeks of age
Telework 2008
  • Enables employees to work at home when involved in child rearing or providing nursing care for a family member
  • Eligibility was expanded in 2016. The purpose of this expanded eligibility is to promote diverse and efficient work styles that help employees tap into their creativity.
Use of Paid Annual
  • Can be used on an hourly basis, for child rearing or providing nursing care for a family member
Child Care Flex-Time 2013
  • Can be used until the child has graduated from elementary school
Babysitter / Child
Care Subsidy
  • Until the child is third grade of elementary school
  • Babysitter / child care fee subsidy
Career Plus Leave 2017
  • Support continued career development by employees during child care leave, nursing care leave or flexible career leave (to accompany spouse)
  • Allow some work from home while on leave
  • Offer subsidies for education expenses while on leave

Promoting Work-life Balance

In addition to establishing systems that promote work-life balance, all Sony Group companies in Japan strive to create a corporate culture in which employees seeking to balance the demands of child care (or nursing care) and work can build careers. As part of Diversity Week in fiscal 2016, Sony organized workshops and seminars on parenting and caregiving. On balancing parenting and work, Sony conducted a Working Fathers Meeting and a Working Mothers Meeting, both with the involvement of managers of working parents. The participants heard from speakers and shared their thoughts and experiences with one another in a group setting.

Sony also conducted a seminar on caregiving, amid the growing reality of people having to balance caregiving and work. The seminar explored strategies for balancing caregiving and work, while providing essential information about caregiving. Through these initiatives, Sony is helping employees to continue developing their careers while balancing it with parenting and caregiving.

Sharing with other employees at a Working Fathers Meeting

In 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2015, Sony was certified by the Tokyo Labor Bureau as a company that actively supports parenting initiatives in line with the Law for Measures to Support the Development of the Next Generation. Sony received high marks for the ease with which employees can make use of its various parenting support systems, its support for employees' work-life balance, high rates of participation in its various systems and its support for male participation in child rearing.

Kurumin Mark,
certifying companies
with next-generation
child care systems,
from Japan's Ministry of
Health, Labour and
Main Sony Group Work-Life Balance Initiatives around the World
Contribution to
employee health
Some group companies provide services and take other steps designed to promote employee health, such as offering on-site fitness facilities and dental clinic, and holding in-house sports competitions.
Services for employees
raising children
Some group companies provide a private area for nursing mothers, emergency child care and other services for employees who are raising and/or expecting children. There are also child-raising support programs that aim to build communities of employees who are parents to facilitate the sharing of information on such topics as children's education.
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