2008 年 19 巻 p. 58-73
This paper shows that family friendly policymaking combined with equal opportunity has resulted in positive effects, including improvements in financial performance, and that the positive relationship of the so-called "win-win" approach will probably be seen in Japan as well. In addition, various perception gaps have been found among companies (personnel managers), managers, and staff members. Such gaps are larger than expected, especially in terms of awareness of policies and programs, appraisal methods and the ideas on promotion associated with childcare leave. This suggests that using legislation to force companies to introduce work-life balance (WLB) policies and programs will not help to solve the issues. The companies for which survey data are used in this paper are considered relatively advanced in Japan with respect to family friendliness and WLB. Even in these companies, however, there exist large gaps. It is, therefore, necessary to promote family friendliness and equal opportunity based on the assumption that these gaps do exist. The points made above are confirmed with matching data. I expect that this kind of research and study will be conducted on a continuous basis in the future. Lastly, I would like to discuss ways to implement and promote family friendliness. It is important to discuss the matter at workplaces, using "discussion bases" such as labor unions, labor-management meetings and similar forums, not only to introduce the programs but also to let all concerned people know and understand the issues. Specific discussion materials (themes and points) are in such WLB indices as briefly introduced in this paper. First, workers who know where weak points are in a relevant workplace, and who know their workplaces very well, can discuss and determine how to overcome the weak points with managers and other workers. For example, if an employee wishes (or is supposed to wish) to take childcare leave, what should be done is just to try to obtain agreement on the method of reviewing job assignments and the salary and promotion of the leave-taker. If this was merely an uncompensated company cost entailing no profits, only a few people would be serious about discussing the matter. However, since the "win-win" relationship, which enhances company profitability, is made clear, the effort will never be fruitless but will promote the development of the company.