business

Gov't sets sights on improving pay for contract workers

24 Comments
By Stanley White and Izumi Nakagawa

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The government will tackle Japan’s notoriously-long working hours by setting limits on overtime that could be submitted to parliament sometime next year, he said.

Right, this is all talk as "official" overtime has already gone down but "unofficial," and unpaid, overtime continue to rise and will keep on going up as long as businesses can get away with it.

Making new laws, rules, regulations, mean absolutely NOTHING, without putting some teeth into the legislation and a way to accurately monitor what businesses are doing. Not to mention hefty fines, and as a last resort and if necessary, criminal investigations, into any illegal practices.

Just creating something new means zero otherwise!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Good story.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

agree with all the above. The problem has not been regulation as much as one of enforcement.

The guidelines say that companies should provide equal payment to nonregular employees who engage in work equal to that of regular employees. It also said bonuses and commuting allowances should also be given to nonregular workers.

Sounds great. What will the gov do to companies that don't comply with those regulations and how will they go about checking up on the companies?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

No the problem is not the gap between the two but the the disgusting gap between minimum wage and the poverty line. Fix this, then there will not be a problem but win for the local economy

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"The government's minimum threshold for death by overwork is 80 hours of overtime per month" This pretty much sums up Japan's labor standards.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Keep talking about it.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I'm wondering if this will be extended to include foreign contract employees, specifically public school ALTs. The public school salaries have been declining for over a decade and it's now totally unlivable amount.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

What a load of dribble.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

gap between minimum wage and the poverty line

Well, they are working on it. Minimum wage has gone up every year for the past several years. In Tokyo it has increased 10% in the last 3 years, from 850 yen to 932 yen. At this pace it will definitely hit the 1000 yen mark before 2020.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Japanese government has placed a high priority on narrowing the gap in pay and benefits between regular and contract employees

Typical Japanese beaureaucratic foot-dragging. Instead of concentrating on the real issue which is to make agency contract employment tougher for employers, they talk about reducing the gap.

My company is typical. If the job is lower down the ladder or you are female or young, they stick new hires on agency contracts. This should be outlawed if the job role is required on a full-time basis. A lot of temp agencies are making good money from this scam.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Companies can afford to narrow the pay gap without cutting salaries for regular workers, because companies have enough profits and reserves to increase labor’s share of profits

This guy hasn't got a clue. Prices are set by supply and demand, and it's no different for labour.

The problem in Japan is that the regular workers feel there is no great incentive to take their labour elsewhere to get a better deal. Hence they get the same crappy pay forever, because they offer abundant supply of labour to their employers and do not threaten to take it away.

If Japan had a more fluid labour market, wages would inevitably go up as employers would have an incentive to pay more to retain and attract talent.

guidelines on narrowing the pay gap

Just clueless.

improving pay gives more people the chance to work and improve their pay

Circular...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is nuts. Without enforcement it'll continue to do nothing and mean nothing. The chief receiver of cashola is going to upset the hand that feeds him and his friends? As if

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fxgai: Your the clueless one, the area is the permiment minimum wage worker gap to contracted causals minimum wage worker, Not your world. Permanent workers get benefits along with the Y730 per hour. A casual get compensated for not having benefits and is pay more per hour ( not much more ) but can be lay off at anytime is no benefits. So the P worker see the C worker getting more money per hour for the same work. So the C worker get piss off and his work attitude, performance and productivity goes down. In turn the P worker see C worker his proformance goes down. So his performance slackens. A 3% or 4% unemployment rate does not help Companies to retain minimum wager workers. The next part will be very hard for you to digest. If they double the minimum way and link it with productivity over the next 5 years, You will see productivity go up, Companies retaining staff will go up and more money in the local ecomony.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fxgai: The area is the permiment minimum wage worker gap to contracted causals minimum wage worker, Not your world. Permanent workers get benefits along with the Y730 per hour. A casual get compensated for not having benefits and is pay more per hour ( not much more ) but can be lay off at anytime is no benefits. So the P worker see the C worker getting more money per hour for the same work. So the C worker get piss off and his work attitude, performance and productivity goes down. In turn the P worker see C worker his proformance goes down. So his performance slackens. A 3% or 4% unemployment rate does not help Companies to retain minimum wager workers. The next part will be very hard for you to digest. If they double the minimum way and link it with productivity over the next 5 years, You will see productivity go up, Companies retaining staff will go up and more money in the local ecomony.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Isn't there an economic system available that discourages mass consumption of things you do not need or want?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nonsense. The job descriptions for regular workers and temporary workers are different. Preaching equal pay for equal job does not work. Different pay for different work.

DisillusionedDEC. 21, 2016 - 09:48AM JST

I'm wondering if this will be extended to include foreign contract employees, specifically public school ALTs.

The job description of ALTs is totally different from that of a real teacher.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm wondering if this will be extended to include foreign contract employees, specifically public school ALTs.

The public school ALT's are overly paid, probably double the Japanese contract teachers.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

John-San, that there is a gap between different types of worker is why the government should reform the labour laws (to eliminate wage gaps based on worker type, eliminate the different types of worker). Reforming the labour market to abolish the caste-like system that has been established is the best thing that could be done to help low income workers. (Raising the minimum wage would help some, but result in others ending up out of work, as well as pricing some youngsters out of their initial forays into the job market.)

The idea expressed by the Minister in the article that because a business has money implies it should "share" it with the workers (who are employed for the purpose of working in exchange for salaries in the first place) is fundamentally wrong and not a sustainable economic strategy. If workers want a share of profits made by their company on top of the wages that they agreed to work for, they should buy shares in the company with their wages and become shareholders/owners. This kind of communist, anti-shareholder view expressed is indicative of why Abenomics has failed.

Companies will pay better wages and bonuses when it is in their interests to do so, e.g. to retain and attract talent. Labour market reforms that increase worker productivity and competition for labour and would incentivize that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Too early for April Fools' i guess-- right?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is the government's fault that such contacting services exist in the first place. The amount of bureaucracy, rules, regulations, and whatnot makes it difficult for small and midsize companies to hire workers directly, so they end up using contacting agencies, who exist mainly because they can navigate through the red tape.

Hiring a full time, permanent worker is expensive and risky, so much so nowadays that it is almost inevitable for companies to avoid doing so. Most companies in Japan are smaller businesses, which in an economy that is ever shrinking, resulting in ever lower sales and profits, it is impossible, or nearly so to hire full time workers. Many companies have no idea how much business they will be doing 3 or 4 years down the road, or even if they will still be in business. And once you hire a full time worker, you can't easily let them go, so it is seen as better not to take the chance.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Again this is a good move, however as usual will only be done on a small scale and not come close to fixing the problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese gov only makes worker's lives harder by passing these laws.

Overtime laws only resulted in companies asking workers not to report overtime, resulting in the same overtime work but lost overtime pay.

This law will not increase contract workers salaries, but instead dramatically decrease regular worker salaries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fxgai; There is basic Computer entry work that people do. It use to be a skill Job that only a few could master. Today that skill is as basic has reading and writing yet is not class has a minimum wage work. I know cost could be save by down classing these basic computer job form spreadsheet data entry down. . It not brain surgery and should be class as a basic skill. Which I am in no way for. Where a production line worker need to be a labour and problem solver when things go wrong. Something a Computer or Computer entry worker does not do ( they are not pay to problem solve only to enter data, techo are pay for this ). So it is the minimum wage area at most concern for Company retaining staff due to digesting rate of pay for this work and a unemployment rate of 3%. Your theory is just the old copy of the Reganmonic were the rich get fillfy rich and the poor stay in the same position with the elites boots on the throat of the minimum wage earner. Ask your self this are you in a better position then your parent were at the age you are now. This is the first generation were the % of achieving this has gone backwards. This is due to greed for ever increasing margins. These Companies have been increasing profit every year. If they were not their share price would drop considerably and this is not show on the S&P. The Day of Bonus are over Fxgai. Company realise that it is not profitable stradergy for retaining staff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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