business

Top court rules against Japan Post denying allowances to fixed-term employees

9 Comments

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that it is "unreasonable" for Japan Post Co not to provide its fixed-term employees with the same allowances it pays to regular workers.

The top court's judgement in favor of nonregular workers came two days after its rulings against them in two different cases over a law that prohibits unfair gaps between the treatment of such employees and regular workers.

The court's No. 1 Petty Bench, presided over by Justice Atsushi Yamaguchi, addressed allowances widely paid in Japan to employees whose family members are financially dependent on them as well as extra pay for work during the year-end and New Year holidays -- the busiest season for the mail service due to greeting-card delivery.

The court said it was "illegal" not to include the plaintiffs in the additional payroll, as they had been working at the company long-term through repeatedly renewed contracts.

Nearly half of the approximately 390,000 employees at Japan Post are nonregular workers. The ruling is expected to put pressure on the firm to dramatically revise its work conditions.

"We will swiftly conduct labor negotiations following the ruling, and work on reforming the system in light of the issue's importance," Japan Post said in a statement.

A total of 12 nonregular employees, including two who have since retired, had filed three lawsuits in 2014 in Tokyo, Osaka in western Japan and Saga in southwestern Japan, leading to different high court rulings in the respective regions.

After the law prohibiting unreasonable gaps in treatment between fixed-term and indefinite-term employees took effect in 2013, the government set a policy of equal pay for equal work but critics say it is unclear to what extent it prevents different treatment.

The employees, who worked at post offices in Tokyo, Chiba, Aichi, Osaka, Hyogo, Hiroshima and Saga prefectures, also took issue with their employer for not entitling them to summer and winter holidays or sick leave.

The top court said the damages awarded for lawsuits filed in Tokyo and Osaka needed to be recalculated, repealing a section of the previous rulings, and referred the cases back to their respective high courts.

As for a lawsuit filed at the Saga District Court, Japan Post had appealed the ruling given by the Fukuoka High Court ordering it to pay the nonregular worker about 60,000 yen in compensation, saying the lack of summer and winter holidays was unlawful.

The top court rejected the company's appeal.

On Tuesday, the top court's No. 3 Petty Bench rejected the provision of bonus and retirement payments to nonregular employees of Osaka Medical College and Metro Commerce, a subsidiary of Tokyo Metro Co, which runs the capital's subway system.

The top court had said in June 2018 that whether different treatment is unreasonable should be judged not only by the total pay but by the purpose of each item making up pay and allowances.

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9 Comments
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On Tuesday, the top court's No. 3 Petty Bench rejected the provision of bonus and retirement payments to nonregular employees of Osaka Medical College and Metro Commerce, a subsidiary of Tokyo Metro Co, which runs the capital's subway system.

The top court had said in June 2018 that whether different treatment is unreasonable should be judged not only by the total pay but by the purpose of each item making up pay and allowances.

It's quite interesting and extraordinary that in a week the supreme court has given different verdicts on the similar cases (though justices in charge were different).

8 ( +8 / -0 )

TIJ! There has always been an ‘us and them’ culture in Japan and there always will be. 60% of the workforce are on these fixed-term or part-time contracts and they are getting legally ripped off by unscrupulous employers exploiting both the legislation and the workers. TIJ!

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Japan Post had appealed the ruling given by the Fukuoka High Court ordering it to pay the nonregular worker about 60,000 yen in compensation

Appalling. This is a government-owned company.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

One step forward...but hard on its heels the step backwards is sure to follow. We can expect plenty more fireworks from the post-covid class struggle in the land of Reiwa.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Good ruling but in Japan the Diet can over turn this by passing a law that approves of Japan Post and other companies of not paying fixed term and temps the same allowance. Watch next session the Diet will do this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Welcome to life under the LDP. This ain't about equality, people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Appalling. This is a government-owned company.

The post office was privatized and while the government does hold a large portion of it's stock, it is not the "owner"

The government own 57% or so of the company.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Post

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's quite interesting and extraordinary that in a week the supreme court has given different verdicts on the similar cases (though justices in charge were different).

The problem is that it is not THE "supreme court" This one is Petty Bench, and not the "saiko-sai" or full court.

There are three petty benches: civil, criminal, and administrative. Which only I believe 5 members of the full court preside over. These cases could, if I recall correctly, be appealed to the full court.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Supreme-Court-of-Japan

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Another day showing inequality of rights...Never understood as for work, the only explanation is company corrupted bosses to exploit socially lower people.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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