Employment and Benefits
Policy and Basic Concept
In running a global business in a wide range of domains, consolidated group companies join together to operate as the ITOCHU Group. ITOCHU has more than 110,000 consolidated employees as of the end of FYE 2023. ITOCHU is implementing various initiatives that aim to create a working environment where our diverse body of employees can reach their full potential. Some of our notable initiatives include: enhancing our early morning-focused work system to promote workstyle reforms, the establishment of various systems to support employees with caring duties, and the promotion of social activities among employees at our recreational facilities.
ITOCHU’s Code of Ethical Conduct stipulates respect and consideration for human rights and the development of a rewarding work environment. Furthermore, ITOCHU’s labor standards have been formulated in accordance with the principle of “Elimination of Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation” of the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s “Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (and its Follow-up)”*. For this reason, ITOCHU adheres to the statutory minimum wage and applies a consistent compensation system for the same qualifications and position level (equal pay for equal work).
- The ITOCHU Group expresses its support to the Declaration through its Human Rights Policy, Section 2. Endorsement of International Agreement.
Targets and Action Plan
* Percentage of taking employee acquiring paid leave; 58.8% in FYE 2022, 52.6% in FYE 2021.
Structures and Systems
When Group companies in Japan and overseas develop business in their respective domains and regions, the Division Companies of ITOCHU Corporation, the parent company, take the lead depending on the business area. The company presidents secure human resources and put the right person in the right position in accordance with laws/ordinances under the human resource strategy based on the management strategy. Furthermore, ITOCHU supports the creation of a management structure for ensuring that Group companies provide optimal labor environments for their employees.
Risk Assessment for Labor Practices in Business Investments and Financing Projects
When assessing potential investment and financing projects, in addition to economic aspects, ITOCHU uses an ESG checklist to identify and assess key ESG (environmental, social, governance) concerns relevant to the project, which includes topics related to labor practices – e.g. working conditions, occupational health and safety and stakeholder dialogue. We also monitor the progress and performance of our existing investment and financing projects and take necessary measures to make improvements.
For further details, please refer to the ESG Risk Assessment for New Business Investment Projects.
Ensuring Compliance to Labor Standards
At ITOCHU, it is mandatory for employees upon recruitment to complete training on working conditions, which includes issues related to salary, working hours and holidays, occupational safety and health, benefits, and service regulations. We are working to ensure all employees comply with the labor standards of ITOCHU by making them available at all times on the Intranet in both Japanese and English. For domestic and overseas group companies, in addition to supporting the development of optimal work environments, we are also promoting the adoption of labor standards equivalent to ITOCHU standards.
In addition, ITOCHU continues to dispatch HR staff every year to the Tokyo Labor University Lectures held by the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training, an affiliated organization of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Based on the current situation regarding human resources and labor management in general, including skill development, working hours and compensation, the course systematically teaches the structure of wages, the current issues of the modern labor market with its increasingly diverse employment patterns and the state of labor-management relations from the perspective of labor economics.
ITOCHU Corporation believes that continuing to raise the level of Employee Engagement (the degree to which employees with a strong desire to contribute to ITOCHU can capitalize on their own abilities optimally at their own initiative) will improve corporate value.
We conduct a large-scale engagement survey once every three to four years. In the latest survey conducted in December 2021, the positive answer rates for Employee Engagement and Employee Enablement were among the highest for all Japanese companies. These results represent an ongoing trend since the previous survey (conducted in FYE 2019). This indicates that many employees are proud of working for ITOCHU Corporation and engage in work with strong motivation to contribute to the company and with the aim of achieving better-than-expected results on a voluntary basis. We are also adopting new measures through workstyle reforms and independent career development support to respond to the issues identified through this survey. We are verifying the effectiveness of these measures and building a structure to promptly take countermeasures.
Engagement Survey Score
- The score is affirmative response (%)
Promotion of Work-Style Reforms
As a business managed by a small group of people, ITOCHU Corporation believes that employees are its greatest asset, and that individual employees exerting their full potential will lead to improvement in corporate value. Since FYE 2011, we have aggressively promoted workstyle reforms as we implement various measures aimed at creating an environment that allows all employees to apply their unique traits and feel secure as they focus on their work.
Evolving Our Morning-Focused Work System / Managing Work Time
The morning-focused work system we adopted in October 2013 has promoted workstyles that reflect the ITOCHU philosophy by encouraging a mindset among employees: leaving work early in the evening and coming to work early in the morning leads to more efficient work. This also had a significant impact on society by serving as a positive case study for the government’s initiatives related to reducing long work hours.
The results of the employee engagement survey conducted in December 2021 pointed out a need for further initiatives related to supporting diverse workstyles. In response, in May 2022 we adopted a morning flex-time structure. We also adopted telecommuting. These initiatives enable early work start and end times, allowing free time to be used towards self-improvement, child care, and family care. We hope these initiatives will help increase employee motivation and lead to improvements in work productivity and in our corporate value.
In addition to ensuring compliance with labor union agreements and relevant laws, we will promote further workstyle reforms as a method of reducing total work hours.
ITOCHU believes its initiatives as a pioneer in work-style reform will both empower individual employees to change their approach to work, and promote balanced operational reforms. In this way, the Company is striving to achieve a work environment that enhances operational effectiveness, helps maintain and improve employee health, support the activities of employees who face time constraints from raising children or caring for family members in poor health and allows a more diverse set of employees to make full use of their capabilities.
Change in Labor Productivity with FYE 2011 as a Value of 1
Outline of Initiatives
Morning-Focused Work System Diagram
- In principle, prohibit work between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm and shift any remaining work to the next morning. 5:00 am to 8:00 am is the recommended timeframe for starting early morning work.
- For employees who start work before 7:50 am, up to 9:00 am pay the same overtime rate (25%) as employees who work overtime as an incentive.
- Work between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am is prohibited.
- We distribute three snacks to employees who arrive at work before 8:00 a.m.
Balancing Work with Childcare and Nursing Care
ITOCHU Corporation goes above and beyond the requirements of the law to arrange programs regardless of gender that help employees balance work with their childcare and nursing care obligations. This allows them to continue making full use of their skills during their careers at the company, while resting assured they can handle stages of life where they must take care of children or elderly family members at home. In FYE 2017, the rate of male employees who used childcare leave exceeded 50% and we saw an increase in the number of male employees who took medium- and long-term childcare leave of one month or longer. Meanwhile, in FYE 2017 we introduced a telecommuting program which employees who meet certain conditions can take advantage of. Eligible employees include those with time constraints due to childcare or nursing care obligations, as well as those who face difficulty making the commute to work due to pregnancy, illness or other such reasons. We expanded the program to make all employees eligible to take advantage of it from May 2022. In addition, we continue to hold nursing care seminars every year in light of the fact the importance of preparing for nursing care has also become a social problem. At the same time, we introduced a service to provide nursing care information online in FYE 2018. We then introduced a one-stop nursing care assistance service to meet the needs of those seeking advice in April 2019.
Support Programs for Balancing Work with Childcare & Nursing Care
Support for Childcare
Support for Nursing Care
Use of Childcare & Nursing Care Programs★
For details, please refer to ESG Data.
Regardless of whether male or female, if an employee who chose to leave the company to accompany his or her spouse relocating for work wishes, he or she can register with our reemployment system for three years (five years in the event an extension is permitted). During the registration period, we devise ways in which to keep that employee in contact with our company. For example, we provide opportunities for self-improvement, send bulletins, and inform him or her of the system status and updates.
ITOCHU Kids Day for Visiting Mom & Dad at Work
Since 2014, we have regularly invited employees’ elementary-age children to ITOCHU Kids Day for Visiting Mom & Dad at Work. The children come to work early in the morning with their parents. They then participate in the event after eating a morning snack provided by the company. This event gives them an experience of morning-focused work. Moreover, they get business cards made especially for the event, which they exchange with employees at their parents’ workplaces. They also attend a mock meeting in the executive meeting room and eat lunch in the employee cafeteria. These activities provide the children with a deeper understanding of the company where their parents work. The response from employees has been very positive for instilling an interest in what the children’s parents do at their job and for sparking a desire to work at ITOCHU in the future. As we consider this an incredibly meaningful event for building family bonds and teaching children about ITOCHU, we plan to continue holding it.
- We have canceled this event since FYE 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
ITOCHU Corporation employs a variety of welfare facilities and schemes to stimulate communication between employees and provide opportunities for exchange. Stimulating communication helps foster a sense of belonging and job satisfaction in individual employees. It also helps to invigorate the organization as a whole.
We have taken steps to make the cafeteria a more attractive space for employees. These include introducing a Wellness Cafeteria menu created under the supervision of Kagawa Nutrition University* which aims to help employees improve their health. We have revised our menus based on employee feedback as well. Furthermore, we offer a seasonal event menu every month to make coming to the cafeteria fun. We also provide collaborative menus so that employees can easily enjoy the taste of famous restaurants in the cafeteria. The employee cafeteria is used by many employees.
- Kagawa Nutrition University is a pioneering force in nutrition education. The menu it helped create focuses on daily specials with healthy dishes that fulfill different nutritional requirements. These include an energy value of around 600 kcal, salt content of 3 g or less, and vegetable servings of 140 g or more. (Currently suspended since FYE 2021 due to COVID-19 prevention measures.)
- Can be used by both full-time and part-time employees
In June 2012, ITOCHU Corporation introduced Cooldown Rooms on the first floor and first basement floor of its Tokyo Headquarters. These rooms seek to help beat the summer heat by keeping visitors comfortable inside the building and giving employees a comfortable place to work. To help fight global warming and save electricity in summer when demand for power is high, ITOCHU stipulates that air conditioners in the building not be set lower than 28 degrees Celsius. However, the Cooldown Rooms have lower ceilings than other rooms and can be cooled more efficiently. Cool air is supplied at 15 degrees Celsius to keep room temperature below 20 degrees. This makes them great spaces for visitors to the building and employees returning from sales activities to cool down on hot summer days. We also established a permanent history exhibition corner called “ITOCHU History” so that many people can learn about the founding principles of our company while effectively utilizing the Cooldown Rooms.
- Can be used by both full-time and part-time employees
Shower Lounge and Shower Room
In the summer of 2016, ITOCHU installed a shower lounge on the third floor of our Tokyo Headquarters, and a shower room on the second basement floor. Their goal is to help create a workplace environment that encourages job satisfaction. The seeds of this idea were accounts from employees who often found airport shower rooms crowded when returning from business trips on early morning flights. Many reported using external facilities (such as gyms and saunas) on their way to work. In response to this feedback, ITOCHU established shower facilities at Headquarters so that employees returning from business trips can be more comfortable as they begin work. The facilities are equipped with overhead shower heads, which warm the body quickly in winter, and amenities like towels, hair driers, shampoo, and conditioner. The facilities have been well received, with employees reporting they are able to work in comfort. The facilities now stay open longer and can also be used by employees who exercise to improve their health. They are also open to employees of affiliate companies.
- Can be used by both full-time and part-time employees
The Hiyoshi Dormitory
In March 2018, ITOCHU Corporation opened the Hiyoshi Dormitory in the Kohoku ward of Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. The dormitory has approx. 360 units to house unmarried employees. It brings together unmarried male employees who had been scattered across four locations in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. The design concept for the dormitory is “under the same roof,” as opposed to positioning it as a mere welfare facility. Accordingly, it is equipped with a variety of common areas designed to bring residents together and deepen communication across boundaries like age and department. These include a dining room with shared kitchen, a multi-purpose meeting room, a large bathroom with a sauna, and communication spaces on each floor (including study areas and an open terrace).
The dormitory is aiming to create an environment in which employees voluntarily reform their work styles and improve their health based on the corporate policies such as health management. For example, it serves nutritionally balanced breakfasts and dinners in the cafeteria, it provides exercise opportunities in partnership with a nearby fitness club, and it prohibits smoking throughout the building, including private rooms, except in designated smoking areas.
Moreover, this dormitory is designed to function as a secondary office for the Tokyo Headquarters and is vital to our business continuity plan (BCP) for disasters. It uses the same Internet environment as our offices and we have installed emergency generator equipment. We have also stocked the dormitory with food, water, emergency supplies and other items.
- Intended only for full-time employees
“SOGO-KAI” associations are groups where fellow employees can assemble to enjoy the same sports or cultural activities. Spreading out from Tokyo and Osaka, there are more than thirty such associations active within the company nationwide. They boast a combined membership of more than 1,000 employees. The associations are not limited to current ITOCHU Corporation employees. Many former employees and Group company employees also take part. These associations use sports and cultural activities to promote exchange and communication across different generations and organizations.
- Both full-time and part-time employees can join