Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

Basic Policy

Sumitomo Forestry recognizes employees' diverse work styles and strives to create a workplace where they can be motivated in their jobs, and still enjoy fulfilling private lives. Reflecting these aims, the Company has worked on such initiatives as providing childcare and family care programs, and reducing overtime.

The Workstyle Diversification Department was established within the Personnel Department, bringing together support desk functions relating to work styles and careers, including childcare and family care, career support, health care and post-retirement re-employment. In developing a counseling system which is easier for employees to access, the Company supports diverse work styles.

Furthermore, a flextime system and a work interval system have been adopted with the purpose of reducing long hours and improving productivity. The transition is not only in working hours but also from a labor system to a true count system in addition to adopting measures such as a per hour productivity assessment.

These programs aim to improve employee motivation as well as productivity by preventing harm to health from accumulated fatigue due to working long hours in addition to heightening awareness about cost versus time to realize a work-life balance.

Addressing Long Working Hours

Sumitomo Forestry sees long working hours left unaddressed as a factor causing occupational injuries and damage to the image of plants and it recognizes the lack of a workforce in the future as a grave management risk.

Since the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Sumitomo Forestry Group has established "reducing long working hours through workstyle reforms" as a critical target in the Mid-Term Sustainability Targets. The Group has been working toward achieving this goal by the fiscal year ending December 31, 2024. Each division and consolidated Group company in Japan confirms the performance toward achieving these targets every fiscal year.

As one of measures against long working hours, a system for linking a PC log to an attendance system was introduced in December, 2022, and application and approval of accurate working hours have been thoroughly advanced.

Average overtime hours and individual overtime hours including management are also reported to the head of each department to increase awareness about mitigating long working hours.

In particular, close communication with customers is indispensable in the sales and construction of custom-built detached housing in the Housing Division, which results in the employees' long working hours. To this end, OHS committee, which meets at each branch office, discusses initiatives to reduce long working hours at each branch. As to the working system and operational flow reform that are difficult to tackle at a branch level, the Housing Division continuously leads the long working hours mitigation campaign by making proposals for the systems improvement.

  • Reduction of overtime working hours
    FY2023 results (January to December 2023)
    (Compared to FY2017)


  • FY2023 target
    Reduction of overtime working hours
    (Compared to FY2017)


Encouraging Employees to Take Paid Annual Leave

Sumitomo Forestry has promoted the use of annual paid leave by encouraging employees to take at least 70% of their annual paid leave entitlement and by posting a list of leave taken by each business location on the internal website.We have also introduced an annual paid leave system in half-day and hourly units, as well as a planned refreshment break and summer vacation to create an environment conducive to taking leave.

In addition, the Housing Division has established planned annual holidays for all departments (general rule of four days).

The yearly paid leave usage ratio in 2023 was 69.0 percent as a result of these initiatives.

Paid Leave Usage Ratio


Results of Paid leave usage ratio (non-consolidated)

2020 2021 2022 2023
Paid leave usage ratio (non-consolidated) (%) 60.7 64.1 68.4 69.0

*Calculated by dividing the number of days of paid annual leave taken each fiscal year by the number of days issued

*Excluding directors and executive officers, employees on overseas assignment, employees hosted from other companies, and employees on extended leave or leave of absence

Initiatives to Promote the Use of Paid Leave

So that employees can engage energetically in their jobs with healthy body and mind, Sumitomo Forestry is developing workplace environments that allow employees to take leave as they wish. We have also established a "refresh leave" to make it easier for employees to take consecutive holidays according to their schedule, and encourage employees to take consecutive paid holidays, creating an environment that makes it easier for employees to take holidays.

Although branches of the Housing Business Division are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because they often have business meetings with customers on Saturdays and Sundays, it sometimes makes hard for employees to take time off to attend their families' school activities or community events.This has been addressed with the introduction of Family Friendly Day leave, which allows employees to take either one Saturday or one Sunday off each month to spend with family or on a chosen pursuit. Branch employees are encouraged to cooperate on adjustment of job responsibilities and meeting schedules, thereby helping to create a workplace environment that makes it easy to take leave on the weekends.

Family Friendly Day Leave Acquisition Rate (Non-consolidated)

2020 2021 2022 2023
Percentage of Family Friendly Day Leave takers (%) 30.5 26.6 31.2 34.0

Supporting the Workstyles of Employees Currently Raising Children

Sumitomo Forestry drafted its first action plan in 2005 when the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next- Generation Children was enacted. Since then, we have continued to further initiatives even today through our eighth action plan (April 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024).

Promoting Paternal Support for Male Employees

At Sumitomo Forestry, male employees are required to report their spouses' pregnancy and childbirth plans to their supervisors and Workstyle Diversification Department of Personnel Department. In addition, we have established an internal contact where childbirth plans can be easily registered.

After registration, necessary materials, such as the "Handbook for Supporting Work and Childcare Balance," which summarizes various information, and guidebook on childcare-related systems, will be sent to their supervisor. While checking these materials with their supervisors, we will interview them about their childcare situation and childcare leave.

After the interview, the employee's intention to take childcare leave and the supervisor's comments are entered into the above system again, and Workstyle Diversification Department follows up with the employee according to the content.

In addition, it is mandatory for eligible employees and their supervisors to attend e-learning courses on male childcare leave.

This system is believed to encourage more male employees to take part in the parenting duties and raise mutual understanding between the parenting males and their colleagues. 98 male employees took childcare leave in fiscal 2023.

Roundtable Discussion for Employees on Childcare Leave

Since 2021, Sumitomo Forestry has been holding online discussion every March for employees who are scheduled to return to work from childcare leave (in 2023, it was also held in October). This program helps to alleviate concerns about returning to work, improve health and build a network between other people raising children.

Implementation of Joint Seminars for Those who Returning to Work from Childcare Leave and Their Supervisors

Since 2020, Sumitomo Forestry has been holding pair seminars every autumn for employees returning from childcare leave and their supervisors. At the seminar, lectures were given on social situation surrounding childbirth and childcare, balance between work and childcare, future careers, etc. Messages from senior employees who are raising children were introduced, and group discussions were held among participants. It is an opportunity that offers a chance for supervisors and the individual raising a child to think about the actions they take, to find a balance between work, raising children and developing a career.

Supporting Workstyles for Employees Caring for Family Members

Sumitomo Forestry supports its employees in balancing work and nursing care. In addition to allowing employees to take up to 365days of leave per applicable family member, employees may also take advantage of shorter working hours or a four-day workweek. The flextime system was rolled out to the entire company in January 2021 (except employees on the discretionary work system), and now the core hours can be shortened for reasons of family care. Sumitomo Forestry has also established family illness and injury leave, enabling employees to take in 30 minute increments.

In fiscal 2021, we prepared a guidebook to provide basic knowledge and information on balancing work and family care, as well as the fundamentals of facilities for the elderly and family care services.

Main systems related to childcare and Elderly Care (FY2023)

Program Details of system Statutory standards
Maternity leave before and after childbirth 42 days before childbirth (98 days of multiple pregnancy) and 56 days after childbirth Unpaid (Maternity allowance is paid by health insurance society) 42 days before childbirth (98 days of multiple pregnancy) and 56 days after childbirth
Maternity Health Management Leave Female employees who are pregnant or is in a state of less than one year after childbirth can use this service in 30-minute increments for up to 10 days per pregnancy if they undergo a medical examination for pregnant women or feel unwell due to pregnancy or childbirth
Full pay
Necessary time must be secured for female employees to receive health guidance and medical examinations for expectant and nursing mothers
Spouse Childbirth Leave Spouse childbirth leave may be taken for five days within two weeks from childbirth of a spouse
Full pay
No legal provisions
Childcare leave at birth
(Father's parental leave)
Leave up to four weeks within eight weeks of birth of child, can be taken in two installments
In the case of taking leave in installments, applications can be made both collectively and individually
Unpaid (Childcare leave benefits is paid from employment insurance if requirements are satisfied)
Leave up to four weeks within eight weeks of birth of child, can be taken in two installments
In the case of taking leave in installments, a collective application is required
Childcare leave Up to two installments may be taken within period until March 31 immediately after the child becomes two years old
It can be extended for another 14 days only for reason of gradual entry
Up to first 5 days from start of childcare leave, full pay should be paid (both times)
Unpaid after the 6th day (Childcare leave benefits will be paid from employment insurance if the requirements are met)
This leave can be taken until the child becomes one year of age (or one year and six months of age, or until the child becomes two years of age under special circumstances) (unpaid)
System for shorter working hours for childcare During period from pregnancy to the end of the sixth grade of elementary school, it is possible to use short-time work, four-day workweek, exemption from overtime work, restriction on statutory overtime work, and restriction on late-night work During period until the child becomes three years old, a reduced working hours with six prescribed working hours per day is available
Exemption from overtime work, restriction on statutory overtime work, and restriction on late-night work may be used until the child enters elementary school
Core time reduction for the flextime system Until the child completes the sixth grade of elementary school, employees may reduce the end of core time in 30-minute up to one-hour increments No legal provisions
Leave to care for child and attend special events In the event of illness or injury of a child before the end of the sixth grade of elementary school, employees with one child can take 10 days per year, and employees with two or more children can take 15 days per year in 30-minute units (full pay)
Of which, up to five days may be used for attending special events with their child (ten days for two or more children)
Employees who have two or more children may use up to 10 days to take care of their children even if they have used five or more days for special events (however, leave that exceeds 15 days is unpaid)
5 days per year per employee for children under elementary school age, up to 10 days per year (unpaid) for children with 2 or more employees, on a daily or hourly basis
Childbirth support leave Special leave other than annual paid leave that can be used when attending a hospital for fertility treatment
Full pay
30 minute or one day increments, up to 5 days leave per year, can is available
No legal provisions
Family care leave Up to 365 days per eligible family member can be requested multiple times
50% payroll up to the first 7 days from the start of absence from work, and no payroll after the 8th day (if the requirement is satisfied, the family care leave benefit is paid from the employment insurance)
Up to three installments may be taken within a total of 93 days per eligible family member (unpaid)
System for shorter working hours for elderly etc. Short-time work and four-day workweek can be used multiple times within 3 years from start of use per eligible family member
Exemption from overtime work, restrictions on statutory overtime work, and restrictions on late-night work can be used until reason for nursing care is resolved
At least twice within the first three years of use, in addition to family care leave
Nursing care leave
(Family illness and injury)
10 days per year per eligible family member, 15 days per year for two or more family members, of which up to 5 days can be taken due to injury or illness of family members
Available in 30-minute increments (full pay)
5 days per year per eligible family member, 10 days per year for 2 or more members
Available on an hourly basis (unpaid)

* Underlined portions indicate content of the company's system that exceeds relevant laws.

Childcare Support Programs

Childcare Support Programs

*1During pregnancy, childbirth leave, childcare leave, within one year after the childbirth

*2Until March 31 immediately following the child's second birthday. This can be extended for up to 14 days for childcare reasons

Family Care Support Program Performance (Non-consolidated)

FY2020 FY2021 FY2022 FY2023
Family care leave (Persons) 2 2 1 3
Number of family support program users (Persons)
(Flextime System, Shorter Working Hours, Four-Day Work Week, etc.)
4 1 1 3

Sumitomo Forestry Holds Seminar to Support Balancing Work and Family Care

Beginning in 2021, Sumitomo Forestry is holding online seminars and individual consultations twice a year in July and December to help people balance work and nursing care. The goal is to create an environment where people can balance work and family life in their daily lives, rather than giving up work to care for family members, and to give them tips on how to stay healthy and active both physically and mentally.

Sumitomo Forestry held seminars titled "Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Care" in December 2021, “Balancing Work and Dementia Care" in July 2022, and "The Basics of Elderly Care Facilities and Nursing Care Costs" in December 2022. In 2023, we returned to the basics again. In July, we held "Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Care." In December, we held "Balancing Work and Family Care Despite the Coronavirus Pandemic: What can be done to prevent nursing care." About 50 to 150 employees, including those who are already taking care of family members, those who want to start preparations, and those who want to learn for their subordinates and colleagues, take this course each time. Individual consultations with the seminar instructors are held for individuals who choose to attend after each seminar.

We will continue to provide seminars and consultations to assist people in balancing work and family care.

Telework Initiatives

Sumitomo Forestry introduced the telework option in fiscal 2009 for such reasons as the time saved from commuting can be spent on work or family activities, and employees can concentrate when working in a quiet home environment.

Since fiscal 2018, Sumitomo Forestry has participated in the "Telework Days" campaign promoted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Cabinet Secretariat, the Cabinet Office, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in addition to relevant associations and corporations as a special cooperative organization to promote work style innovation.

Using our response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as an opportunity in fiscal 2020, we prepared an environment in which every employee could telecommute and began the use of satellite offices.

In January 2022, we abolished existing telecommuting rules and established Teleworking Regulations. Under the former telecommuting rules, employees who have been with the Company for less than three years, management supervisors, and fixed- term employees were excluded from scope of the rules. However, the Teleworking Regulations cover all employees and have been developed by adding the provisions on satellite office work and mobile work. Based on experience of company-wide teleworking during the novel coronavirus pandemic, it has been developed for the purpose of improving work-life balance and raising productivity. It can be used by all employees up to two days a week. Any utilization of 3 or more days per week can be accomplished by applying for it.

In the future, we will continue to consider further use of ICT, along with the development of an IT environment and the promotion of productivity through the use of ICT.

Application System to Request the Place of Work

In fiscal 2008, Sumitomo Forestry established a program facilitating the transfer of employees to a certain destination for reasons limited to marriage or a spouse transfer accompanied by a change of residence. The program enables employees to continue working for the Company even after marriage or their spouse being transferred.

In fiscal 2014, with the new addition of "childcare" to the reasons for application, transfers are now considered in cases where an employee wants to live with their spouse for the purpose of balancing work and parenting. A new system was also established whereby employees can submit a transfer request for reasons of "family care". Transfers are now also considered in cases where the location of employment restricts the employee from balancing work with child or family care.

As at the end of December 2023, a total 55 employees have made use of these programs to transfer to a different location.

In addition, an employee who desires a work style without transfers requiring relocation of residence from their current workplace due to unavoidable circumstances such as child raising, family care or illness may use a work style able to accommodate their unique situation using an application and approval process.

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