Respect for Human Rights :
Efforts Concerning Fundamental Human Rights
Prohibition of Forced Labor, Effective Abolition of Child Labor, and Attention to Young Workers
When recruiting employees, Panasonic adopts a perspective of protecting fundamental human rights and engages in recruitment activities that comply with the laws and regulations of the respective countries. It also prohibits forced labor, labor against the will of any employee, or child labor. In order to prevent child labor, we have built items such as age verification into the "Self-Assessment Checklist" used when individuals join the company. The risk that child labor will be performed is thought to be especially high in China and elsewhere in Asia, and Panasonic is thoroughly implementing age checks in these regions. The company does not make employees under the age of 18 engage in heavy labor and offers them consideration and support so that they may have opportunities to receive education.
Providing Employment Opportunities for Young People
Panasonic holds our Professional Internship Program (PIP) twice annually through industry-university cooperation.
PIP has the following three goals:
- To train human resources in industry-university cooperation
- To provide an opportunity for learning through work experience
- To eliminate employment mismatches by verifying work appropriateness
Employing Foreign Workers
Because there tend to be greater human rights and labor-related risks for migrant and foreign laborers, Panasonic has established items to be checked that include ensuring that Panasonic-affiliated entities are not allowing temp agencies to collect any fees and are not retaining workers' passports or identification documents, as well as ensuring that they are providing workers with employment contracts, including terms of employment, in those workers' native languages. Panasonic recruits employees and accepts temporary workers based on the laws and regulations of the respective country, so that no employees are made to work against their will or are unduly subjected to disadvantageous working conditions.
Prohibition of Discrimination
Panasonic strives to create workplaces where diverse and talented individuals can respect one another as vital partners irrespective of differences such as race, sex, age, nationality, beliefs, religion, social status, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, and can work in a lively and active manner in a supportive environment, with consideration of the laws and regulations of each country.
The company has established recruitment standards that select employees based on the applicants' aptitudes, capabilities, and desires. To thoroughly implement these standards, the company in Japan, for instance, educates interviewers based on the handbook "Recruitment and Human Rights," which the "Hellowork" public employment stability office established by the national government has drafted for the purpose of promoting fair recruitment selection.
For employee discipline, Panasonic has, among other provisions in its work regulations, those mandating respect for human rights, those forbidding illegal behavior, and those forbidding sexual harassment in the workplace; in the event of a violation of any one of these provisions, expressly stated disciplinary measures are to be taken.
Furthermore, the company is engaged in the following efforts to prevent sexual discrimination, including sexual harassment, as well as harassment based on power differentials, in order to create a more fair, equal, and pleasant workplace:
- Establishment, publication, and thorough implementation of policies concerning sexual harassment
- Distribution of leaflets and manuals concerning sexual harassment
- Seminars and training on sexual harassment, harassment based on power differentials, and revitalizing workplace culture
- LGBT training
Managing Working Hours
Based on labor standards legislation in the respective countries and on labor agreements, Panasonic has established in its work regulations provisions relating to appropriate working hours, break times, overtime work, holidays, leave, and so forth.
To abide by these provisions, the company operates a working-hours management system and is also engaged in comprehensive employee health management.
With a work management system, Panasonic has implemented a variety of measures with an eye to employees' health, including a mechanism by which warnings are issued and other steps are taken at the point when a certain length of overtime has been reached; optimal placement of personnel so that overtime is not overly imposed on only certain employees; and additional health checks performed in the rare event that an employee has worked excessively long hours.
Based on labor standards legislation in the respective countries and on labor agreements, Panasonic has established in its employee wage regulations provisions for adequate wages, allowances for commuting and other expenses, bonuses, other compensation paid on occasional bases, retirement allowance, and so forth.
The company has implemented a "Role / Grade System" that determines compensation based on the work or role in which employees are currently engaged; there are no gender-based inequalities in this compensation system.
In Japan, to ascertain whether employees' wages are being paid correctly, labor unions conduct annual surveys of wage conditions among their members and check whether those members are being properly paid the salaries resulting from wage negotiations decided between labor and management.
Overseas, Panasonic establishes, by country, company regulations that comply with all wage-related laws and regulations pertaining to matters such as the minimum wage, statutory benefits, and overtime. The company conducts its operations based on these regulations and—for the specified period of payment and at the specified time of payment—notifies its employees through pay statements and electronic data, and pays them directly.
In cases where the laws of the country or region in question do not prohibit monetary disciplinary action, Panasonic recognized such disciplinary action as a possibility, and does not prohibit it. However, this is all predicated on the procedures for such actions as well as the monetary amounts involved being established within legal limits with consideration given to the impact on the recipient's life, as well as such measures being codified in internal regulations and made well known to employees. Japanese law does not prohibit monetary discipline, but Panasonic's disciplinary rules within Japan do not include monetary disciplinary measures.
The Freedom of Association and Respect for the Right to Collective Bargaining
Panasonic believes that the freedom of association, combined with the right to collective bargaining, is one of the fundamental human rights that companies should respect.
In countries and regions that permit the formation of labor unions—for instance, in Japan—Panasonic and the Panasonic Group Workers Union Association have stipulated in their labor agreement that unions retain the rights to organize, to collectively bargain, and to strike.
In addition, even in countries and regions where the formation of labor unions is not permitted because of legislation, regulations, or conventional labor practices, the Panasonic Code of Conduct stipulates the de facto promotion of issue resolution through labor-management dialogues, which are the goals of the principles of the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. In addition, the company expressly lists these dialogues as one of the conditions for doing business with suppliers in its Standard Purchase Agreement and demands suppliers comply with this condition.
Panasonic Code of Conduct (Excerpts)
Chapter 3: Employee Relations
(2) Respect for Human Rights
5) Taking into account the laws and labor practices of each country, the Company will try to foster a good relationship with its employees and to resolve issues of, among others, workplace and working conditions by constantly having a sincere and constructive dialogue.
Standard Purchase Agreement (Excerpts)
(Demand on Suppliers to Respect Human Rights)
The Supplier shall try to foster a good relationship with its employees and to resolve issues by constantly having a sincere and constructive dialogue.
Panasonic has adopted a "union shop" system, whereby all full-time company employees automatically become labor union members upon being hired with that status, and it has concluded labor agreements and a basic agreement with the Panasonic Group Workers Union Association. Except for some employees engaged in work relating to management, all full-time Panasonic employees in non-managerial jobs belong to a labor union. In addition, the company respects the right of non-regular employees to join a labor union if they choose to do so. At Panasonic, important management issues are discussed in advance with the labor union, and Management-Labor Committees are established as a forum for people to express their opinions on these issues. Particularly, important decisions are explained to the labor unions, and Labor-Management Councils are held to provide an opportunity for people to express their approval or proposals for change.
Both Management-Labor Committees and Labor-Management Councils are held periodically and separately at the groupwide, Company, and business division levels. The groupwide-level Management-Labor Committee includes the Panasonic Group President, executives in charge of human resources, the head of the labor union's Central Executive Committee, and others, and is held once per month. The groupwide-level Labor-Management Council includes all executives who are managing directors or above, all members of the labor union's Central Executive Committee, and others, and is held twice per year.
There is no established minimum notification period when a vital matter for consideration, such as a structural change, has arisen. However, after the company has issued a proposal, there will be discussions, if necessary, every single day at every level—groupwide, Company, and business division—until both labor and management have reached complete agreement.
Following an EU directive* adopted in 1994, Panasonic set up a voluntary labor-management agreement to provide a venue for meaningful discussions between labor and management, and established the Panasonic European Employee Congress (PEEC).
In fiscal 2016, 29 employee representatives and 13 company representatives assembled in Warsaw, Poland; exchanged information concerning management strategy, business issues, and other matters; and had active discussions.
* EU directive: A directive that obliges all companies employing 1,000 or more employees in two or more countries of the European Union to establish a pan-European labor-management consultation committee
The unionization rate among private companies in China varies among different groups of firms, but nearly all Panasonic affiliated companies have organized labor unions (gōnghuì) and are actively engaged in labor-union related activities.
Specifically, Panasonic conducts—among other initiatives—periodic labor-management dialogues, proactive joint labor-management recreational events, and prior explanations to unions concerning important management decisions. The company is thus focusing its efforts on building good relations between labor and management—the basis for business development.
Structure of the Fundamental Human Rights that Panasonic Respects
The major structure of the fundamental human rights that Panasonic respects is shown in the following diagram: