Basic policy regarding labor issues
The Asahi Kasei Group believes that all of the human resources working at the Group are the source of new value creation based on their diversity and capability to change.
As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, the Asahi Kasei Group supports and respects the labor-related principles set forth therein. We also endorse the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Children's Rights and Business Principles, and we will use these frameworks to grasp and appropriately address labor issues in our business.
The United Nations Global Compact stipulates the following labor principles.
- Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
- Businesses should uphold the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor
- Businesses should uphold the effective abolition of child labor
- Businesses should uphold the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
Furthermore, the Asahi Kasei Group Code of Conduct clearly states that the Group, as well as its suppliers, does not allow inhumane practices such as child and forced labor, prohibits discrimination for any reason including employment status, respects human rights and diversity, and carries out its business with sincerity and a sense of responsibility.
Based on the above approach, we will not only comply with domestic and international labor laws and regulations on the following labor issues, but also strive to create a work environment where employees can reach their maximum abilities while working with safety and peace of mind.
- Prevention of child and forced labor
- Reduction of excessive working hours
- Formulation of working conditions based on consultation between labor and management
We will maintain a certain standard of living for our employees through compliance with locally stipulated minimum wages and the payment of fair wages.
- Guarantee of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights
We guarantee the freedom of association and collective bargaining rights for the employees we hire.
The Group's working conditions are formulated and implemented based on consultation and agreement between labor and management.
General Affairs and the Human Resources and Organizational Development Group at Human Resources oversee initiatives related to personnel and labor management and human resource development. Each Group company operates its own personnel system and strives for human resource development. The Group-wide status is confirmed through regular audits to ensure there are no violations of laws and regulations or improprieties.
Initiatives for compliance with labor standards and work style reform
Consultation between labor and management regarding labor standards
We strive to ensure legal compliance through such means as sharing information on topic and amendments to labor-related laws with Group companies in order to ensure Group-wide legal compliance.
In fiscal 2017, our Group also established an expert committee for the labor union and company to examine work style reform, and measures such as a telecommuting system have been implemented.
Moreover, we have promoted the use of annual leave days to reduce working hours. In addition to this, we monitor workplaces that have comparatively long working hours with the aim of preventing excessive working hours at the level of each organization.
Specific work style reform initiatives (adopted in fiscal 2019)
- Work from home program
- Availability of paid annual leave in one-hour units
- Increase in number of annual leave days by one day, etc.
Promoting diverse work styles (July 2022 onward)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily expanded the work from home program and other provisions, but this was changed from a temporary measure to a permanent system starting July 2022. In addition, we introduced work-from-home assistance. Specifics are as follows:
|Work from home program||Eliminated limit on number of times the program can be used|
|Expanded eligibility for new employees, etc.|
|Introduced work-from-home allowance|
|Flexible work hours without core hours||Systematized concept of “interval” between working hours and applied to eligible employees|
In fiscal 2021, there was one violation of the Labor Standards Law. The amount of overtime and holiday work exceeded the monthly limit (80 hours).
Immediately after the violation occurred, the labor union and human resources held a hearing with the supervisor of the organization in question to confirm the cause of the violation and the organization’s measures to prevent any recurrences. In addition to the workload being adjusted and the workplace support system being reviewed, compliance training was conducted to raise awareness. Moreover, the Human Resources Department shared the case with other organizations, alerted the entire company, and conducted work-time management training in the affected area. To further strengthen company-wide management of working hours, we plan to provide e-learning focused on work-time management.
Improving Employee Work Engagement
We aim to create an organization that can enhance vitality and spur the growth of both individuals and the organization. In fiscal 2020, our Group reviewed the content of our existing employee awareness survey and introduced KSA (Vitality and Growth Assessment), a new survey that aims to confirm work engagement and behaviors conducive to growth. The survey is provided once a year to all employees in Japan, and the report is provided to line managers as a reference for understanding the current state of their organizations. We also promote activities aimed at creating a better workplace through dialogue with employees. At the same time, we conduct stress checks to identify health risks and create an environment in which each employee can achieve sustainable growth while maintaining good physical and mental health.
In addition, the Group as a whole is also working to promote diversity in work styles, expand the Group Masters system to recognize employees with high levels of expertise, and cultivate the next generation of leaders. We aim to be a company where a diverse array of human resources can take on challenges, play active roles, and develop even in a time of rapid change.
Overview of KSA (Vitality and Growth Assessment)
Reference: KSA Index "Behavior Leading to Growth" Average
Note: Answers on a scale of 1 to 5.
These figures are disclosed internally and externally in the Medium-term Management Plan.
Communication between management and labor
The Asahi Kasei Group supports employees' freedom of association and right to collective bargaining and strives to maintain a constructive partnership between management and labor.
Discussions on the overall management of the Asahi Kasei Group are held on a regular basis between the management of Asahi Kasei Corp. and the labor union, and separate discussions are periodically held at each business unit and operating site. In addition, regular meetings with the federation of labor unions are held to provide the venue to enhance open communication between management and labor.
We have concluded a union shop agreement with the Asahi Kasei Labor Union (an agreement under which all employees, except managers and supervisors, are members of the union), and the union has 9,693 members (as of June 1, 2022).
Creating Regional Employment
In the regions where our Group‘s businesses operate, we will contribute to local communities through employment and procurement activities in those communities.
Our human resources policies are focused on the maintenance and reinforcement of a corporate culture emphasizing our characteristics, the personal growth of each employee, and the creation and expansion of business through superior people and organizations, based on the understanding that the source of our competitive strength is the exceptional power of our people and organizations.
The Human Resources Principles established in March 2006 outlines the values and behavioral guidelines that should be shared by each employee. By ensuring that our employees act in accordance with these principles, we aim to establish it as part of our corporate culture and achieve both growth for each and every employee and development for our Group.
Human Resources Principles
In accordance with these principles, our human resources development is focused on the mutual growth of individuals and organizations. As part of the medium-term plan beginning in fiscal 2019, efforts for human resources are focused on the growth of management and leaders, growth of professional groups and line managers who manage them, and growth of global personnel.
Diagram of human resources development system in fiscal 2021
Creating a foundation for a diverse array of individuals to play an active role
Based on the idea that everything starts with people, our Group has been working to develop our human resources infrastructure and implementing a variety of measures. In addition, we aim to improve the well-being and job satisfaction of our employees and the competitiveness of our Group by achieving independent career development and growth, improving management skills to help individuals and teams realize their strengths, and utilizing joint creativity that makes the most of diversity.
In this era of rapid change, it is important for employees from all generations, from the youngest to the most experienced, to continue to develop their expertise and grow. We will take concrete measures to achieve lifelong growth going forward.
Human resource development
A wide range of training programs
We utilize a combination of training based on job level and purpose to help employees develop their skills and perform their duties, improve their fundamental skills as they proceed with their work, develop personnel who can work globally, support line management, and develop next-generation management leaders.
Starting fiscal 2020, we are also taking a proactive approach to implementing digital learning, and we are working to develop an effective training system and curriculum that will allow employees to take advantage of high-quality learning opportunities on their own, regardless of their work location or work hours.
Reference: Our Group's investment in training per employee (actual)
|Investment in training (total)||2,053,238 (thousand yen)||756,367 (thousand yen)||1,419,710 (thousand yen)|
|Investment in training (per employee)||116.0 (thousand yen)||42.5 (thousand yen)||80.0 (thousand yen)|
|Time invested in training (per employee)||―||21.5 (hours)||22.3 (hours)|
Developing digital human resources to promote Digital Transformation (DX)
In 2021, the Group formulated DX Vision 2030 to promote the development of DX as a pillar of its growth strategy. We will strive to achieve a sustainable society a reality by maximizing the benefits of digital technology.
The most important factor in promoting DX is digital human resources. While enhancing DX training by employee level, we are working to increase the number of digital professionals who can promote advanced digitalization to 10 times as many as in fiscal 2021 by the end of fiscal 2024. As part of our DX training for all employees, in April 2021 we launched an internal “Open Badge System” to promote the acquisition of fundamental digital knowledge, and we are also developing a DX training program for business managers.
For the Asahi Kasei Group to achieve sustainable growth amid dramatic changes in the business environment, we must seek growth and win in the global market. Human resources hold the key for doing this.
In this situation, our Group employs a "Group Masters" program to broaden the segment of human resources with expertise that holds universal value through the appointment, training, and treatment of human resources expected to be actively involved and participating in creating new business and strengthening existing business as "Group Masters."
Under the program, we have defined five categories of Group Masters. We have clarified the respective roles of each Group Master category and enhanced treatment to create a mechanism that encourages the growth of human resources while securing outstanding external human resources at the same time.
We have also formulated a succession plan for Group Masters in each field, and have linked the succession plan to business reinforcement and human resource development, which will strengthen our competitive edge.
Categories and roles of Group Masters
Business unit-specific fields
The following fields were newly established at Asahi Kasei Pharma:
- 1. Pharmaceutical marketing field
- 2. China pharmaceutical business field
Core technology fields
- Unified the Fibers and Polymers fields into the “Fibers/Polymers” field
- The Digital Innovation field was changed into a Core Platform field
Core Platform fields
The following was newly established in the ESH field:
- Machine safety field
In the administrative staff domain, the following appointments were reviewed:
- Internal audit field
- Trade and customs field
To achieve the objectives of creating new business and expanding our businesses through the Group Masters system, we have been reviewing and enhancing our specialization fields every year in line with our business policy.
In fiscal 2022, in addition to changes in appointment requirements, the following new fields were established, and a review of appointment requirements was conducted.
- To enhance our sustainability-related technologies, we are integrating the previously separate core technology fields of “Fibers” and “Polymers” and will advance our sustainability-related technologies through further connectivity.
- To innovate management in the Group’s digital creation phase, the digital innovation field will be changed from a core technology field to a core platform field, and the scope of digital Group Masters will be expanded to encompass all employees across all job areas, organizations, and regions by accelerating the development and securing of human resources to lead management innovation. This includes improving management, reforming business models, and creating intangible asset value by utilizing digital technology to the fullest.
- In the core platform field of ESH, we established a new "machinery safety" field and adopted requirements for appointment as a Group Master to raise awareness about the concept of machinery risk assessment within the company and eliminate serious accidents through equipment design and improvements.
- In business unit-specific areas, Asahi Kasei Pharma, in the Health Care sector, has actively utilized the Group Masters system to achieve its medium- to long-term strategy. Following the establishment of the Pharmaceutical Licensing field, Pharmaceutical Business Development field, and others in fiscal 2021, the Pharmaceutical Marketing field and China Pharmaceutical Business field were newly established in fiscal 2022.
- In addition to the establishment of these new specialization fields and domains, there were also major changes in appointment requirements in the Internal Audit and Trade & Customs fields.
We define fields of technology to be strengthened business-wide as "core technologies" and appoint engineers to lead each core technology field as Group Masters.
As a result of organizing the core technologies, production technologies, know-how, business platforms, diverse market channels and business models, which have been cultivated as the source of the Asahi Kasei Group's competitiveness, we defined the 12 fields below as business-wide core technologies. We will also define the fields and occupational categories to be cultivated internally as experts for business-specific fields and key Group-wide functions (core platform fields) and will appoint human resources to lead those areas as Group Masters.
Number of Group Masters and Targets
In the new Medium-term Management Plan that began in 2022, the goal of increasing the number of Group Masters in our Group to 300 total in fiscal 2024 was set forth as a KPI.
Development of global human resources
To advance the expansion of our global business set forth in the medium-term management plan focused on the theme “Be a Trailblazer” from the perspective of human resources, our Group is implementing an overseas open study program for young employees to challenge themselves to an overseas experience, with the aim of developing human resources with a global perspective. To strengthen our joint development capabilities that take advantage of diversity, we are also working on measures to nurture human resources at overseas subsidiaries. To that end, we are implementing and operating overseas transfers of local employees, a succession plan for overseas posts, measures for raising awareness about our philosophy, intercultural communication training, and management training.
For example, in China, Asahi Kasei (China) Co., Ltd. provides all local subsidiaries of Asahi Kasei in China with open lectures, as well as human resource development programs based on their job function and level.
In the past few years, we have placed particular emphasis on training local employees to become select section chiefs (from fiscal 2017 to 2019) and training executive management candidates for prospective general manager positions and above (from fiscal 2020 to the present). We have been closely monitoring the trends in the Chinese market on an ongoing basis, and we have been promoting measures based on an understanding that localization of management is essential for our company to be able to incorporate these trends.
Supporting independent study
In October 2003, the Asahi Kasei instituted a program to support independent study by employees. To encourage employees to acquire higher level specialized or technological ability, the company will pay part of the cost of attending courses or lectures. In fiscal 2021, a total of 1,109 employees utilized the program.
The Asahi Kasei Group Code of Conduct clearly stipulates that "we must respect individuals' basic human rights and diversity, not discriminate on the basis of nationality, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, gender, ideology, age, physical characteristics, sexual orientation and gender identity, employment status, form of contract, etc., nor condone such discrimination" as company policy. We promote the establishment of a lively workplace which ensures equal opportunity and enables all employees to perform at their best without suffering discrimination. We seek to instill our company policy to prevent any discrimination or harassment through training on corporate ethics for employees at each level – new hires, and newly appointed assistant managers and managers. In addition, we implement corporate ethics training by business unit and geographical area.
To respond to the rapidly changing business environment and continue creating new value, we recognize that it is essential to enhance our co-creation ability to collaborate on business creation by leveraging the diversity of our human resources. The Diversity Promotion Office, a department dedicated to the promotion of diversity and inclusion (D&I), is playing a central role in these efforts.
Expansion of opportunities for women
Based on the belief that the expansion of opportunities for women is one of the key elements of D&I promotion and that advancing this initiative will ultimately lead to an environment in which a diverse array of human resources can play an active role regardless of gender and other attributes, our Group established a dedicated organization (currently the Diversity Promotion Office) in 1993 to foster an environment in which women can continue working through expanded job opportunities and support measures that help them to balance work and family life. Since the 2010s, we have also provided support for career development by distributing handbooks to supervisors that contain reference information on nurturing female employees who joined the company out of college, as well as held seminars before maternity leave and seminars on returning to work after delivery, parental leave, and other life events. We also instituted a mentor program to support the career development of female managers after they have passed through childbirth, child care, and other life events. This has resulted in the number of female managers increasing from three in 1994 to 277 (as of July 1, 2022).
In addition, in the Medium-term Management Plan announced in April 2022, we announced that we will focus on the percentage of women in managerial positions in addition to those appointed as Group Masters as an indicator for measuring our success in diversifying our human resources (10% in 2030). Based on these developments, our Action Plan for the expansion of opportunities for women has been revised as follows.
|Asahi Kasei Group Action Plan*||We have developed an action plan to promote the active participation of women more than ever. As part of our efforts to create an environment in which diverse human resources with various values and backgrounds can play an active role together and contribute to the growth of our business and organization.|
|Term||Fiscal 2022 to Fiscal 2025|
- *Action Plan for Asahi Kasei Corp., Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corp., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp., Asahi Kasei Medical Co., Ltd., Asahi Kasei Homes Corp., and Asahi Kasei Construction Materials Corp.
Employment of persons with disabilities
The Group supports all employees regardless of disability status so that they can fulfill their potential and work in comfort.
Asahi Kasei Ability Corp. was established in 1985 as a special subsidiary for the employment of persons with disabilities, performing a wide range of services for the Asahi Kasei Group, including office automation services such as data entry, digitizing documents (conversion to PDF files), website design, printing of business cards, document printing and binding, dispatch of sample products, cleaning, copying, and planter box gardening.
On March 1, 2021, the legal minimum proportion for employment of persons with disabilities was revised upward from 2.2% to 2.3%. The proportion for applicable companies of the Asahi Kasei Group was 2.38%* throughout the year, and as of June 1, 2021, stood at 2.35% (639 persons), exceeding the legal requirement.
- * The rate of employment and the number of persons employed are the average figures for each fiscal year for applicable companies of the Asahi Kasei Group. Calculations are based on total employment of 27,191 persons at the 20 applicable companies as of June 1, 2021 (number of persons calculated in accordance with the Act on Employment Promotion, etc. of Persons with Disabilities).
Initiatives at Asahi Kasei Ability
(1) Initiative for Hiring More People with Disabilities
Asahi Kasei Ability, which actively employs persons with disabilities, built a new office in the Fuji district (Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture) in October 2021 to expand its business in line with the increase in the statutory employment rate.
(2) Expanding Existing Operations
- 1. Supporting remote work for our Group’s employees
After the COVID-19 pandemic began, Asahi Kasei Ability, which also has multiple regional offices, has been receiving invoices en masse and uploading them to a dedicated system on behalf of the Group companies. This makes it possible to handle administrative work without requiring employees to come to the office, thereby making it easier for Group employees to work remotely. Currently, we are continuing further expansion as remote work becomes more established.
- 2. Creating banana paper business cards
We use banana paper, which is made from banana fiber extracted from organic banana stems, as a material for making business cards, whereas previously it was disposed as waste. In terms of SDGs, these business cards have been attracting a lot of attention within our Group as well, and requests for their production have increased, leading to their expansion.
- 3. Agriculture, ceramics (handmade ceramics,) and coffee processing (drip pack production）
We have been developing job duties suitable for the unique natures of various disabilities, and we have continued conducting operations in the agriculture industry, ceramics industry, and coffee processing. This allows us to ensure a wide variety of work processes and provide manufacturing work experience by having employees use their hands and fingers.
(3) Abilympics (skills competition for people with disabilities)
Many employees from Asahi Kasei Ability participate in the Abilympics (a skills competition for people with disabilities) in various prefectures every year and win prizes. 13 employees represented their respective prefectures in the 2021 national competition (held in Tokyo Prefecture), with one employee winning a gold medal in the sewing category and another winning a bronze medal in the Machine CAD category, demonstrating the skills cultivated through daily work and practice.
System to Support the Activities of All Motivated Human Resources
In addition to promoting the active participation of women and people with disabilities, we have developed a wide range of supportive measures to create an environment that supports the individual circumstances of our employees and allows them to fully demonstrate their abilities.
For example, we have established a rehabilitation work system that allows employees to resume work in a phased manner in accordance with the instructions of an industrial physician to support a smooth return to work after a period of medical treatment. Going forward, we will continue to study ways to expand support for employees who work while undergoing treatment for illness.
As globalization continues to advance, an increasing number of personnel have a spouse who is transferred to an overseas assignment. In fiscal 2013 we adopted a provision for such personnel to take a leave of absence to accompany their spouses living overseas. In fiscal 2021, this provision was utilized by 17 personnel (including 0 male employees).
In addition, in January 2021, we began treating same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage in our internal system.
Balancing work and family life
In order to improve the balance of work and family life, the Asahi Kasei Group complies with laws and regulations aimed at eliminating and reducing long working hours and provides various forms of support for employees to work with security and vitality in accordance with their individual circumstances and values from the perspective of balancing work and family life. At the same time, we also foster a workplace environment that facilitates utilization of the provisions by raising awareness of them through our corporate intranet and offering management support for superiors. Many of the provisions we offer are also available to non-regular employees with some changes to the details, and are actually utilized by them.
Our parental leave is available through the fiscal year in which the child turns 3 years old at Group companies in Japan*.
In fiscal 2021, parental leave was utilized by 707 personnel. This is included 420 men, with the rate of those who were qualified and actually utilized the leave exceeding 50% for the past two years in a row, and 287 women.
As an initiative to support male employees in taking parental leave, we launched the “Papa and Pre-parent Seminar” in April 2021. The program includes explanations of the parental leave system and other systems to support balancing work and child care, as well as case studies shared by those who have taken child care leave. A total of 111 individuals participated in fiscal 2021.
Shortened working hours for child care
At Group companies in Japan*, employees are able to utilize shortened working hours to care for preschoolers, with the working day shortened by up to 2 hours until the child enters elementary school. In September 2007, a provision called “Kids Support” was added to enable employees with children until the end of the third grade of elementary school can work in a short time as well. These provisions may be used concurrently with a "flex-time" system for flexible working hours.
In fiscal 2021, 459 employees took advantage of shortened working hours for childcare and kids’ support, two of whom were male employees. In April 2020, we began to expand the applicable period of the shortened working hours system for childcare for contract employees (up to the start of elementary school) and the application of the kids support system.
Platinum Kurumin certification mark
In 2016, Asahi Kasei Corp., Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corp., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp., and Asahi Kasei Medical Co., Ltd. received Platinum Kurumin certification from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Platinum Kurumin certification is awarded in recognition of proactive support for the development of the next generation which is particularly outstanding.
Support for family care
Group companies in Japan* have established systems to support caring for family members that go beyond legal stipulations to provide support for balancing work with care for family members.
- Leave of absence for family care:
A leave of absence of 245 days in total is available for each disease of each family member who requires care.
- Shortened working hours for family care:
A total of 1,225 days for each family member who requires care
- Flexible working hours for family care:
Flex-time system for working with short core times, etc.
Since 2011, our Group has held seminars on balancing work and family care at various locations throughout Japan. Since 2020, the seminars have been held online for our Group employees throughout Japan. We are working to meet a diverse array of needs, such as by offering a “Seminar for Supervisors with Subordinates Balancing Family Care and Work” from 2018 to 2020 and a “Seminar on Balancing Work and Family Care: Basic Knowledge” in 2021.
The free caregiving telephone consultation service (available 365 days a year and 24 hours a day to all Group employees and their family members), which was launched in April 2019, has been used for over 30 cases over the year. Furthermore, in April 2020, we expanded our short-time work program for caregivers as a measure in response to the increase in the number of at-home caregivers.
At the same time, in order to create an environment that facilitates utilization of these systems, we disseminate information on balancing work and family care and information about these provisions through our corporate intranet and distributed booklet on balancing work with care for family members (since January 2013).
- * Regular employees of Asahi Kasei, Asahi Kasei Microdevices, Asahi Kasei Homes, Asahi Kasei Construction Materials, Asahi Kasei Pharma, Asahi Kasei Medical, and major affiliates in Japan are eligible.
Re-employment of employees at mandatory retirement age
In fiscal 2001, we introduced a voluntary re-employment program for all domestic employees who have reached the retirement age of 60 to enable them to continue working and making use of their extensive experience and advanced skills. In fiscal 2013, we conducted a revision to increase the fixed amount of compensation by 1.5 times in order to maintain the same motivation and satisfaction as before retirement. In fiscal 2021, over 80% of employees who reached retirement age utilized the program to be actively engaged.