SustainabilityHuman Rights and Human Resources

The Sawai Group (hereinafter, “the Group”) has established a Code of Conduct to define its approaches toward respect for human rights, consideration for the health and working environment of employees, and fair and appropriate treatment of employees. In line with the code, the Group is actively and proactively addressing these issues.

Policy on Respect for Human Rights

Everyone is born with the right to live a full life as a human being, or human rights. We believe that human rights must be respected to the fullest, although minimum restrictions are sometimes imposed on those rights when necessary to secure public welfare (common interests of society as a whole). The Sawai Code of Conduct provides that the Group shall support and respect the internationally proclaimed protection of human rights, oppose any form of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, ideology, political opinion, sexual orientation, disease, or disability, and refuse any involvement in the infringement of human rights.

Our Group operates a healthcare business focusing on generic drugs in Japan and the United States. As a healthcare corporate group closely related to life, we respect the human rights of various stakeholders, including patients, employees in Japan and abroad, and business partners, and promote initiatives in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Initiatives to Respect Human Rights

1. Group companies in Japan (Sawai Pharmaceutical and other companies)

The Group companies in Japan are implementing the following specific initiatives.

Recognizing employees and labor unions as important stakeholders, we maintain sound and good labor-management relations under the union-shop system (where all employees are union members, in principle).
Even in the event of employee misconduct, from the perspective of respect for human rights, we will not punish the employee arbitrarily but treat them in accordance with in-house regulations such as the Work Rules and give them an opportunity to explain before the Committee of Reward and Punishment determines the measures to be taken.
We also provide all employees with education on sexual harassment, power harassment, and other forms of harassment multiple times every year to raise employee awareness of harassment.

2. Overseas Group companies (Upsher-Smith Laboratories and other companies)

Since our overseas Group companies are more racially diverse than the Group companies in Japan, they devote special efforts to preventing racial discrimination, which they recognize as an important social issue.

At Upsher-Smith Laboratories (USL), a Group company based in Minnesota, where the Black Lives Matter movement originated, members of senior management have taken the initiative to receive education on equality and social inclusion with the belief that the diversity of employees is a source of the company’s strengths and greater performance. In addition, the CEO Advisory Council on four minority groups (Blacks, women, Asians, and Hispanics) meets every month to identify the potential biases of employees and devise measures to increase mutual understanding between them. Moreover, USL is committed to recruiting and developing human assets from a long-term perspective so that the racial composition of its employees will become nearly equal to that of the U.S. population by 2045.

Consideration for the Health and the Working Environment of Employees

1. Health

Sawai Pharmaceutical has been selected as an outstanding company in health and productivity management under the 2022 Health and Productivity certification program organized by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Nippon Kenko Kaigi. Our consideration for the health and work environment of employees is also recognized accordingly by Nikkei Smart Work® and other ESG rating organizations.

With the belief that better drugs are born from both mentally and physically healthy workplaces, we are striving to maintain and improve the health of our employees in accordance with the Plan for the Promotion of Mental and Physical Health. We have also established systems for helping employees enhance their health, including Cafeteria Plan-type financial support to cover the cost of medical examinations.
In addition, our Work Rules require employees not to smoke during working hours, including breaks, appropriate for the staff of a healthcare company. We also provide financial support for employees who smoke to cover the cost of their smoking cessation treatment.
With the aim of creating a healthy and safe working environment, we have also assigned full-time public health nurses to each business site to facilitate coordinated occupational health activities.

2. Working Environment

We have formulated various regulations, including the Flextime Regulations, Telecommuting Regulations, Childcare Leave Regulations, Nursing Care Leave Regulations, and Regulations on Support for Employees with Depression to Return to Work, to enable employees to adopt diverse work styles or return to work. We have also established a new career support system that allows middle-aged and older employees to choose from various work styles and decide when to retire according to their own diverse career plans.
Every time we change or improve the working environment, we listen to the opinions of the labor union through the Labor-Management Working Hours Committee and Workplace Meetings to maintain sound labor-management relations.

We have worked with the labor union to create a work environment where employees can take paid leave more easily. Although the percentage of paid leave days used had steadily grown, it continued to decrease slightly from the previous year in fiscal 2021 partly due to the stay-at-home trend amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Percentage of paid leave days used

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
64.4% 68.5% 74.6% 75.0% 72.9% 71.1%

While the number of employees has increased in parallel with the rapid expansion of our business in recent years, the turnover rate also rose temporarily. However, we recognize that the turnover rate has likely peaked because of the revisions we made to our personnel systems to increase the retention rate (including making factory workers permanent employees).

Turnover rate

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
3.3% 4.8% 5.6% 5.7% 2.8% 3.3%

3. Consideration for Employees’ Nursing Care, Childbirth and Childcare

The number of employees taking nursing care leave, maternity leave, or childcare leave has been steadily increasing.
Our ordinary childcare leave system includes various specific systems that enable employees after childbirth to achieve a good balance between work and childcare after returning to work, including the Angel Flextime System for employees raising children below three years of age and the Kids Flextime System for employees raising children up to the third grade. These systems have enabled us to have most employees who have given birth return to work.

Number of Employees Taking Nursing Care Leave, Maternity Leave, or Childcare Leave

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Nursing care 0 2 0 4 3 0
Maternity Leave 23 39 36 44 40 38
Childcare Leave 55 57 65 74 74 42
Total 78 98 101 122 117 74

Fair and Appropriate Treatment

We believe that, for our sustainable growth in the future, it is of utmost importance to create an environment that allows every employee to fulfill their potential. Accordingly, our various personnel systems, including those for evaluation, grading and promotion, treatment, assignment and transfer, and capability development, are designed to encourage every employee to develop their abilities, based on the Definition of Competence Requirements, which clarifies the abilities we hope employees will improve.

Based on these systems and the principle that the character and abilities of our employees are our greatest asset, we provide motivated and capable individuals with opportunities to demonstrate their talents to the fullest, and evaluate and treat all our employees transparently, impartially, and fairly. In addition, we not only conduct questionnaire surveys on personnel evaluation and analyze the results but also conduct employee awareness surveys to address personnel issues based on the results.

Enhancing Diversity

We believe that it is necessary for us to respect the diverse viewpoints and values of employees with different experiences, skills, and attributes, including women, foreign nationals, and mid-career employees, and to leverage the diversity of employees to increase our corporate value. Therefore, we are actively promoting diversity to create a corporate culture of producing new ideas and values in an open atmosphere and with a feeling of solidarity through communication and teamwork based on mutual respect.
Another aim of our commitment to promoting diversity is to increase our productivity through the creation of new ideas and value based on diverse values by embracing diversity in terms of not only gender and race but also age, character, values, and disability, thus fully utilizing our diverse human assets.

However, we acknowledge that women account for only a small percentage of staff in managerial positions, compared with the gender composition of all our Group’s employees. Therefore, Sawai Pharmaceutical, the core company in the Group, has set a target of raising the percentage of female managers to 8% by 2024.
Moreover, we have more than the legally required percentage of employees with disabilities, thus providing employees with various disabilities with opportunities to demonstrate their talents.

Percentage of female managers (Sawai Pharmaceutical only)

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
4.5% 5.5% 6.0% 6.1% 5.8% 6.6%

Percentage of employees with disabilities (Sawai Pharmaceutical only)

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
2.20% 2.13% 1.80% 1.78% 2.48% 2.38%

Policy on Human Asset Development

It is people who support the existence of our Group. For this reason, the Group describes its employees as “human assets.” We believe that surviving the competition in an extremely uncertain and ever-changing business environment requires us to have human assets with diverse perspectives who can quickly detect changes in the situation, make decisions on their own, and autonomously take necessary action. Therefore, we must encourage employees to improve themselves as professionals with full awareness that they are representing Sawai and to continue to take up challenges with ambition and motivation for change.

To foster such human assets, the Group has developed new employee education programs, including the Sawai Web School and Sawai Open School, in addition to conventional collective training and correspondence education programs. Using these programs, we will enhance and train our human assets by helping them increase their skills.

1. Training system

Based on the definition of competence requirements, which defines the abilities and expected roles and behaviors required for each position and grade, we have established job-grade-based training (mandatory) for each position by year and grade, as shown in the figure below.
In addition, we offer various forms of voluntary training (optional), such as the Sawai Web School (e-learning), the Sawai Open School (external training), and a wide range of correspondence courses, to support employees' self-directed skill development.

Training system

2. Number of Participants in Training

In recent years, we have significantly expanded and enhanced our company-wide training menu, including online training programs, which offers greater flexibility in terms of learning location and time, and this has led to a significant increase in the number of participants.

Number of participants in training

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
660 579 654 600 4,038 2,840

Policy on Ensuring Workplace Diversity

Our Group is working on the following policies we have established to improve the workplace environment and consequently ensure diversity.

Policy and Initiatives

  • Design job-grade-based training programs to help trainees understand the importance of ensuring diversity.
  • Recruit and assign human assets in a way that enables them to demonstrate their talents in a diverse manner afterward.
  • Accelerate the creation of a comfortable working environment for people with disabilities.
  • Implement awareness-raising and career-development programs for female leaders.
  • Conduct periodic audits to ensure that each workplace provides a comfortable environment for employees while fully respecting diversity.
  • Adopt systematic methods of selecting diverse trainee candidates and educating and training them from the perspective of enhancing corporate value over the long term.
  • Regularly send messages from the top management on the need to ensure diversity.
  • Consider enhancing personnel systems to maintain diversity and ensuring that evaluation results will reflect employees’ initiatives.

Please refer to the “ESG data” for the progress of our measures to ensure diversity among employees, including women, foreign nationals, and mid-career employees.

Click here for “ESG data”