Major Insurance Co. to Provide Cash to Coworkers of Those Who Take Childcare Leave

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. will begin offering a lump-sum allowance of up to ¥100,000 from April to the colleagues of a company employee who takes maternity leave.

The company aims to combat the chronically low birth rate by creating an environment in which maternity leave is accepted throughout the workplace.

The initiative is rare among major companies.

The allowance will be paid to all company employees, including those at branch offices, and the amount will be determined based on the size of the workplace and the gender of the person who takes childcare leave. The amount will be larger for small workplaces where a vacancy places a greater burden on coworkers.

In the case of a female at a workplace with 13 or fewer employees, Mitsui Sumitomo will provide ¥100,000 to each of her coworkers. If it is a male employee, the amount will be ¥30,000 each, taking into consideration that the duration of paternity leave is often shorter than that of maternity leave.

In the case of a workplace with 41 or more employees, ¥10,000 will be paid to each colleague for maternity leave, and ¥3,000 for paternity leave.

More than half of Mitsui Sumitomo’s about 17,000 employees work in an office with 13 or fewer employees, the company said.

Mitsui Sumitomo is focusing on childcare support and is encouraging male employees who have a newborn to take at least one month of childcare leave.

The company estimates that about 600 employees will have taken childcare leave this fiscal year, which runs through the end of March.