Promoting Work-Life Balance

Lion is working to reinforce organizational strength by utilizing the multifaceted talents of diverse human resources and giving decision-making authority and responsibility to all employees operating with deliberate autonomy. We are improving environments to leverage the various strengths of employees with diverse backgrounds, including differing lifestyles and values, and ensure that employees with fresh perspectives and ideas can thrive.

Balancing Work with Private Life

Building Vibrant Environments Where Employees Can Work with Enthusiasm

Since 2010, Lion has worked to reduce prolonged working hours and encouraged employees to take annual paid leave. Through e-learning for all employees on such topics as compliance, we promote understanding of proper work management, including the management of working hours. Aiming for an 80% use rate of annual paid leave in 2021, in line with a labor-management agreement, we are proactively encouraging employees to take at least five pre-scheduled days of paid leave per year.

Programs to Support a Balance Between Work and Nursing Care

Lion has enhanced support for employees engaged in nursing care of family members as part of efforts to create an environment that allows employees to continue to work with peace of mind while handling such responsibilities. In addition to ordinary annual paid leave, we have in place programs to support nursing care providers, including nursing care leave of up to 365 days, shorter work hours for nursing care (short hours flextime system), short-term nursing care leave and accumulated leave for nursing care (accumulated expired annual paid leave). Furthermore, we have set up a support website targeting employees aged 40 and over to better provide information on nursing care.

Programs to Support a Balance Between Work and Nursing Care
365 days of nursing care leave
  • Up to a total of 365 days of leave in one-day units may be taken per family member requiring nursing care
Shorter work hours for nursing care
(short hours flextime system)
  • Employees may reduce their work hours (by up to two hours per day) as long as necessary to provide nursing care
  • May be used in combination with the flextime system
Short-term nursing care
  • Employees may take up to five days per year to provide nursing care for one family member or up to 10 days per year to provide nursing care for more than one family member
Accumulated leave
(Close relative nursing care)
  • Accumulated expired annual paid leave (up to 60 days) may be used for the nursing care of close relatives

*Accumulated paid leave may also be taken for the employee’s own medical care or for volunteering

Programs to Support a Balance Between Work and Childcare

Lion is proactively enhancing its programs that support employees who are balancing work and childcare. We are expanding related programs in line with our action plans based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children and the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace and working to increase awareness among employees. As a result of these efforts, in 2020, 96.3% of eligible female employees took childcare leave. The number of male employees taking childcare leave is also rising across a wide range of departments.

Employee motivation often falters during the early childcare years. Lion offers support for employees to help develop their careers while raising small children. For example, we have set up a website offering information for employees returning from childcare leave and raising small children as well as support for employees wanting to learn new skills while on childcare leave. To ensure proper understanding of the programs available, we hold individual orientations, attended by eligible employees and their supervisors, as well as pre-reinstatement seminars and post-reinstatement interviews in order to facilitate a smooth return to work and support ongoing career development.

Furthermore, to promote the professional participation and success of employees who are raising children, Lion offers a new work style—the short hours flextime system—combining the reduced work hours system and flextime system (the flextime system applies to all employees, excluding those working in certain workplaces at plants).

Programs to Support a Balance Between Work and Childcare
Childbirth Maternity leave
  • Six weeks before and eight weeks after childbirth (paid)
Special leave for spouse’s childbirth
  • Two days (paid, with bonus)
Childcare Childcare leave
  • Employee may take up to 18 months leave until the child is three years old (may be extended by up to six additional months if there is no available spot for the child in a day-care center at the 18-month point)
    (paid for the first successive two weeks)
Shorter work hours for childcare
(short hours flextime system)
  • Employees may reduce their work hours by up to two hours per day until the child finishes first grade
  • May be used in combination with the flextime system
Exemption from overtime work
  • Employees with children below elementary school age may apply for exemption from overtime work
Leave to nurse sick children
  • Employees may take leave in hourly units to care for injured or sick children below elementary school age (paid)
  • Employees may take up to five days per year for one child below elementary school age or up to 10 days per year for more than one such child

Initiatives Based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children

Lion is aggressively working to create environments that allow employees to work while raising children so that all employees can exercise their abilities to the fullest.

As a result, Lion has fully accomplished the first five phases of its Action Plan based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children and received Kurumin certification for each. Through such initiatives as encouraging the use of childcare-related systems, providing support for smooth reinstatement after childcare leave and encouraging male employees to take parental leave, we have achieved a 100% retention rate for female employees one year after giving birth and a 71% usage rate for childbirth leave or parental leave among male employees (for the period of April 2015 to December 2018).

In addition, under the 5th Phase of our action plan, we advanced efforts to promote healthy work-life balance among all employees, not only those raising children, such as encouraging the use of annual paid leave and expanding the use of the work-from home system. As a result of these efforts, in 2019, Lion received special Platinum Kurumin certification from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

At present, under the 6th Phase of our Action Plan (covering February 2019 to December 2022), we continue to create employee-friendly environments that allow employees to work while raising children and exercise their abilities to the fullest.

6th Phase of Lion’s Action Plan Based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children: Goals and Status of Initiatives

Goal 1

Within the period of the Action Plan, implement support measures to create a working environment in which employees on childcare leave can smoothly return to work.

  • 2019: Launched the Lion Career Village and provided support for self-study while on childcare leave and for career development after return to work.
  • 2020: Holding discussions about career development with internal instructors at pre-reinstatement seminars. Continuing to provide explanations of childcare support systems to the supervisors of employees using said systems.

→Launched the Lion Career Village and provided support for self-study while on childcare leave and for career development after return to work. (Begun in January 2019)

Goal 2

Within the period of the Action Plan, have 13% or more of eligible male employees take childcare leave, one or more such employee take long-term parental leave and 30% or more of such employees take special leave (for childbirth).

  • 2019: Explained childcare leave systems to employees who filed childbirth registrations and to their supervisors and encouraged them to take leave.
  • 2020: Promoting the use of leave systems by featuring employees who have used them in the internal newsletter, thereby sharing real-life experiences of work-life balance improvement

→In 2020, of the 66 male employees to whom children were born, 23 (34.8%) took childcare leave, and another 30 (45.5%) took special leave for the birth. As such, we achieved the target.

Goal 3

Within the period of the Action Plan, promote measures for understanding and use of the work-from-home system and implement for support the establishing the system.

  • 2019: Expanded the departments and employees eligible to use the work-from-home system. Promoted understanding and use of the system through mass orientations, workplace orientations, individual meetings and other means.
  • 2020: Promoting the use of leave systems by featuring employees who have used them in the internal newsletter, thereby sharing real-life experiences of work-life balance improvement.
  • 2021: Analyze data on system usage by workplace in order to improve systems.

→In January 2020, we expanded the range of eligible employees to include approximately 70% regular employees and full-time contract employees, excluding production divisions. In addition, to promote flexible and autonomous work styles, we have eliminated the previous one day per week limit on telecommuting. The telecommuting rate is now around 50%, which allows for a better balance between work and private life.

Perspectives of Employees Balancing Work and Childcare

I started my maternity leave in September 2018 and gave birth to my first child that October. I then took childcare leave for a year, until my child’s first birthday, and returned to work in October 2019.

Since joining Lion, I had always worked in sales. Upon returning from leave, I hoped to return to sales full time. However, there were no other mothers of small children working in sales in my department, and I had a lot of concerns and unease about it. Would I really be able to handle a sales position while raising a small child? What if, by insisting on the position I wanted, I ended up causing problems for everyone else?

During the pre-reinstatement interview and on many other occasions, my supervisor and the director of the department, along with many others, took the time to listen to my concerns and desires.

Although I hoped to return to a sales position, it was not guaranteed. Nevertheless, rather than try to dissuade me, they enthusiastically gave me advice about what to do and how to solve the problems I was worried about, assuming that I would return to sales. This put me totally at ease, and I returned to sales without a problem.

I had also been worried about the decrease in the amount of time I would be able to spend with my child compared with when I was on leave. I found, however, that with less time together, the time we do have is that much richer.

For me, I think that having a fulfilling professional life has had a positive impact on my parenting.

Junko Oba
Tokyo Area Chain Unit 1, Chain Store Sales Promotion Department 2, Tokyo Area Branch, Health and Home Care Products Sales Division

When my second child was born, I took one month of childcare leave. This was partly because I regretted not knowing exactly what to do and, as a result, not being very involved after the birth of my first child.

However, the experience of caring for my first child helped me understand clearly, in advance, what I could do the second time around, so I jumped at the opportunity to focus on childcare and housework. In doing so, I not only gained a greater appreciation for the way that spending time with my children enriches my own life, but, building on our experience with our first child, my wife and I were able to enjoy parenting together.

My experience helped me see that to enrich my own life, it is important to make the most of both my professional and personal lives and, as such, I cannot simply focus all my energy on work. Going forward, I will proactively take part in childcare while prioritizing efficiency at work. I hope that, by telling others about how taking childcare leave was good for not just for my personal life, but also for my work, I can help encourage more men to take childcare leave.

Masaki Miyajima
Living Care Research Laboratories, Research and Development Headquarters

Volunteer Leave System

Lion has a special volunteer leave system (up to five days per year) to support employees participating in Company-designated volunteer activities as well as a general volunteer leave system (in which employees can use expired annual paid leave) to support employees participating in volunteer activities of their own choosing.

Japan is frequently affected by natural disasters, such as flooding and earthquakes. Through employees’ active participation in activities to promote recovery in affected areas, we aim to contribute to local communities and enhance participants’ awareness of social contribution.


Forest maintenance participants, including employees using the special volunteer leave system

Employees Using Volunteer Leave
2017 2018 2019 2020
Users (days taken) 12 (16days) 13 (16days) 15 (19days) 0

Work Styles

Rule Revisions to Promote Independent Work Styles

In 2015, we introduced a work-from-home system that promotes flexible work styles not bound to specific workplaces. This was done with the aims of accommodating autonomous work styles in line with the diversity of our employees and increasing productivity. In 2019, we improved our work-from-home related systems and their operation, including encouraging participation in the 2019 Telework Days campaign.*1 By the end of 2019, trial implementation had expanded to the point that the portion of employees who had used the work-from-home system at least once had grown to 49%.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, the adoption of work styles that do not require employees to be present in offices or commercial premises has rapidly expanded, and digital tools have been adopted throughout the Company. In January 2021, we reinforced our telecommuting and full-flex systems (eliminating core time and enabling employees to take discretionary off-the-clock breaks) in response to shifts in work styles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift toward more independent work styles that accommodate diverse needs has resulted in a usage rate for these systems of around 50%.*2 The practice of work styles suited to individual needs continues to take root, helping improve professional fulfillment. Furthermore, because it is difficult to enable production site employees to freely set their own hours, we have established a system for such employees to take time off in hourly increments. This system makes it easier for employees to balance their private lives and work, helping to bolster motivation.

*1The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, in collaboration with related government agencies and organizations, called on companies to implement telecommuting throughout Japan with the aim of expanding telecommuting nationwide and alleviating transportation congestion during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

*2Excluding periods under state of emergency declarations related to COVID-19.

Perspective of an Employee Using the Telecommuting System

An advantage of telecommuting is that it allows you to find better, more efficient ways of working. After getting my work done efficiently, I often have more time than I otherwise would to prepare dinner and can take more care with it. Being able to feel satisfied with the level of housework I do even on weekdays has felt like a real lifestyle improvement.

Iyo Takatsu
Beauty Care Business Department, Health and Home Care Products Headquarters

Smart Work

Since 2019, we have been relaxing rules about work attire. This is aimed at enabling employees to practice work styles that spark open innovation and creativity to the greatest extent possible.
In addition, we are enhancing workplaces to improve employee work styles and the quality of communication. We have remodeled some offices, creating spaces for collaborative and solo work. Through such efforts, we are testing new types of working spaces with the aim of effectively enhancing employees’ various work styles.

In these and other ways, we are fostering employees who focus their efforts on the essential creative, high-value-added aspects of their work as well as a corporate culture that rewards doing so.

Employee Awareness and Behavior Survey

Lion aims to ensure that all employees take pride both in their work and in the Company and that they work with enthusiasm. To this end, we have implemented an annual employee awareness and behavior survey of Domestic Group employees since 2013.

Based on the survey results, we explore measures to further enhance employee satisfaction

Employee Awareness and Behavior Survey
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Response rate Overall 89.4% 90.6% 91.5% 85.8% 83.0%
Employees take pride in their work* Male 97.3% 98.1% 97.2% 96.5% 97.5%
Female 95.3% 95.6% 94.5% 94.3% 96.8%
Overall 96.4% 97.2% 96.2% 95.7% 97.3%

*Scope: Lion Corporation, non-consolidated basis (excluding employees on loan)