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Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group launches flexible leave for employee fertility treatment

A sign for the MUFG Bank, one of the companies in the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, is seen in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on March 21, 2019. (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda)

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG), one of the biggest firms in Japan's financial sector, has introduced a special paid leave policy for employees undergoing fertility treatment.

It is rare for a large Japanese company to put such a program in writing. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is poised to create a manual encouraging firms to establish similar policies within the fiscal year. The move indicates that public and private initiatives toward a more treatment-friendly working environment are gaining momentum.

MUFG's new system, which went into effect on July 1, offers employees the chance to take up to five days of special paid leave per year, regardless of gender or age. The scheme is targeted at approximately 37,000 men and women aged from their 20s to 40s working in the group's various sections, including banking, trust banking and securities.

The time is split into units of half-days rather than as a long-term break, so that employees can continue working while undergoing treatment. Until now, employees had to resort to taking existing leave or working shorter hours to receive treatment. The company says the number of consultations with its human resources department on the issue has increased in recent years, with some cases even leading to people leaving the firm after finding it difficult to receive treatment while maintaining their jobs.

From October 2018, Daiwa Securities Group Inc. introduced "support leave" as part of a package of measures to encourage women to play a more active role in the firm. The initiative, aimed at women undergoing fertility treatment and those suffering ill effects from menopause and other issues, includes a support system and financial assistance for care.

CyberAgent Inc. implemented special leave measures for its female employees, dubbed "F leave," in 2014. Japan Airlines began its program for time off relating to fertility treatment in 2016.

(Japanese original by Yusuke Matsukura, Business News Department)

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