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Japan's top court backs lower pay for nonregular employees

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Soon enough everyone will be nonregular. Will Covid-19 even notice?

26 ( +27 / -1 )

""The rulings come as a major disappointment for the growing population of nonregular workers in Japan that has topped 20 million out of all employees totaling 56 million, according to latest government data for August.""

A SAD day for 35.7% of the working Japanese force. Just because they are unable or companies will NOT even give them a full time regular employee jobs does NOT in anyways mean they should be paid less, this is a game employers play and exploit the system.

Appeal this court if possible Or start over again till you win.

30 ( +30 / -0 )

This is unfair. Most of the time there is no distinction between regular and non regular workers. It is unreasonable to imagine a situation where a Japanese non regular worker refusing to do a job they are assigned just because they are not regular workers. They are all the same set of cogs in the machine.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

Judges won't walk in the shoes of workers; they have their own career prospects to consider and are more concerned with feathering their own retirement nests.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

It's not like these employees have a choice these days. It is either take the contract position, or there is no work. They then live up to their part of the contract, but the companies, and now the supreme court feel they do no need to be compensated fairly. Just another example of how Japan is moving backwards in regards to workers rights!

24 ( +24 / -0 )

A disappointing decision. This will only encourage more companies hire people on short term fixed contracts to save money and shirk their responsibilities as employees.

More Japanese people need to refuse to work free overtime and unreasonable hours for companies who take everything and offer nothing.

I hope we see a generational shift as younger people wakeup to the fact that they owe nothing to companies that seek to merely exploit them and then discard them.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Lower than low? How low can you go?

Ah, Japan! The world’s third largest economy. It is also the world’s largest shrinking violet! More taxes, increased health insurance and pension premiums with deceasing salaries. Get out of Japan while you still can!

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Japan has embraced the gig economy where it is possible to work and just about to survive, but only barely.

Banzai!

19 ( +19 / -0 )

serfdom continues

15 ( +15 / -0 )

And Japan Inc is looking to become more attractive to foreign workers?????

I just spit my coffee up on my keyboard!

27 ( +27 / -0 )

The cronies running Japan wonder why they are short workers and no one is spending, ALL OF THIS BEFORE the pandemic hit. To solve the problem they raise taxes and spend more on useless projects hoping to kick start the economy all the while pulling harder back on the stick. In aviation terms, they are about to put Japan into an unrecoverable stall that will have disastrous long term effects.

It takes an incredible amount of stupidity at all government levels not to see that they are shooting themselves in the foot.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Workers who do the same work under the same conditions should get the same payments - that's it.

Japan is going backwards on this issue.

24 ( +24 / -0 )

Once again the little guy gets a slap in the face, it's a tough life now made even tougher by this ruling

14 ( +14 / -0 )

The upper tier in the corporate world continue to fall behind in competitiveness with falling revenue and to make up for it, they lower their labor cost by increasing the number of working poor in Japan. Get rid of the old geezers on the top who have no vision and no flexibility and incentivize your workforce; you'll be surprised at how much better the company performs. Duh....

11 ( +11 / -0 )

More Japanese people need to refuse to work free overtime and unreasonable hours for companies who take everything and offer nothing.

Unfortunately employers pay a low base salary but then write 'fixed overtime' into their contracts to bring it up to the 'actual wage'. This means employees are obliged to pull the long days and sit through ridiculous meetings in order not to 'breach' their contracts.

How such a clause is contractually legal in a supposedly democratic nation defies logic...

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I am starting to sound like a bracken record "Kangaroo Justice is what we have in Japan". Majority of temp staff do same or near same job as full time, but receive much lover salary and no bonus or company pension. This system is totally unfair as companies are shifting to use temp staff because they can fire them with just one month notice with no financial penalties or responsibilities and giving all this a fancy name such as "Flexible work force" sounds nice doesn't it? But it isn't so nice for the workers....

13 ( +15 / -2 )

This is a direct result of the "economic/market reforms" that everyone on the JT board was cheering about a few years back, if you remember. I was one of the very few who said "bad idea," and was consistently downvoted for my warnings.

Japan needs to bolster its labor unions to give their members greater bargaining power, because without it, the working people of this country will be ****ed. And that will sink the economy once and for all, given that 60% of Gdp is driven by consumer spending.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

This news story should be the headline and lead for every network news show and newspaper. It is a stark illustration of how the system only pretends to offer equality of opportunity and limit exploitation by the already entitled.

And the timing during the impact of the pandemic couldn't be worse.

Absolutely scandalous.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sadly the decline I have personally watched for 30yrs now continues.

And Japan wonders why people dont marry or have kids well..............................DOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

14 ( +15 / -1 )

This ruling was on every news agency yesterday morning. It was a very disappointing ruling. Even if you are required to put in more hours and work harder than regular employees, you can't receive benefits. Especially during a time where most Japanese companies are moving towards an hourly system.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The bonuses are not "real bonuses" in the sense that they are extras for work done well or whatever.

They are in fact a part of the real wage, bringing a lower per hour rate up to a basic standard over the course of a year.

So when companies don't pay full bonuses for permanent workers they are in effect cutting the "real " hourly rate.

And in the case of contracted workers, no bonus means that the "real" hourly rate is severely under paid.

The bonus system is a scam to con workers who believe they are getting a gift from their magnanimous employers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

I saw it on TV, shameful.

On the other hand what did you expect if they will say they are eligible for bonuses then no-one will want to do full time, shain enslavement.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The bonuses are not "real bonuses" in the sense that they are extras for work done well or whatever.

I have been saying this for years! Just another way for companies to hold on to cash! On average, the bonus payments equal between 1/4 to 1/3 of an individual's annual income , and easily cut by the ownership when times seemingly get rough.

But they still get the same amount of work, paid or not.

It is also not uncommon to see employees QUIT the month of, of following the bonus payment, as bonus payments keep people at their jobs, even if it's only for a few extra months!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

JJ

This ruling was on every news agency yesterday morning. It was a very disappointing ruling. Even if you are required to put in more hours and work harder than regular employees, you can't receive benefits

It was and immediately after that dumped into the news scrapheap. Who really cares for those DT will call losers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If all of the Diet members were nonregular, things would change in a heartbeat.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Unfortunately this is a task for the legislature to change the laws.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The non-regulars will all be eventually replaced by cheap recruits aka robots from Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar etc who don't complain and do as they are told and after 5 years they are shipped back and a

new batch brought in. The companies practicing this modern day slavery expect their exorbitantly priced

products to be selling when the majority of their staff are on peanut wages and the robots brought in

not spending as well and only saving as they know they will be leaving after 5 years.

It is happening at a faster rate than one can imagine and the mainstream media not highlighting it does not

draw the attention of the population and you wonder why the standard living of citizens of the 3rd largest economy is even lower than in some 3rd world countries.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Total exploitation of already desperate workers.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I agree with the comments above. This is non unexpected but still very disappointing.

All I will add is that this mistreatment of workers has been happening while there was a labour shortage. For entry positions, there have been more "jobs" than graduates in the last few years. If, as seems likely, Covid-19 is driving us toward an extended recession, employment conditions are going to get much worse. With more people likely to be employed on irregular terms (though often completely regular hours), this ruling will affect a greater number of employees.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The economy will continue to stagnate. People will live in substandard housing, or with their parents, won’t get married, won’t have children. Suicides up. Yay, Japan!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

not spending as well and only saving as they know they will be leaving after 5 years.

Exactly. In many cases, it's less than five years. And I believe in some cases they have to return home after a few years in order to come back to Japan for a few more. Their freedom of movement in Japan is extremely limited. This whole system is nothing but slavery and exploitation. It's absolutely sickening and the world should be aware of Japan's disgusting behavior in this area.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Infact the robots/slaves from South East Asia have also been rendered jobless.They cant even afford to pay rent and most have debts.Cant even afford to save anything.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1316/

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If all of the Diet members were nonregular, things would change in a heartbeat.

Oh really? Guess you dont know that NON of the Diet members are "regular" employees, they are elected into their positions and for the overwhelming majority, if they lose, they go back to "real" life!

They have to serve, I believe it is at least 4 full terms, to be eligible for "retirement" benefits. That goes for locally elected officials too. However dont quote me on the number of terms, I am not 100% sure on that one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Way to go Supreme Court's No. 3!

Let's make more people in Japan insecure with their work and retirement.

People insecure with their work & future are FAR less likely to have children!

Now we know the current legal interpretation, how about some new laws that address this?

Or do we want to let Japan's population continue to age and shrink?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

To judge working conditions that legitimize the difference, in any respect to employees carrying out similar core of paid, full /part-time work/employment relationships, the Judiciary is countenancing the behavior that could be construed, open to the accusation of direct political influence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And Japan Inc is looking to become more attractive to foreign workers?????

Thanks to Ronald Reagan, the God of Voodoo Economics and Trickle down economics. He has been inspirational for the Tories in the UK and LDP cronies in Japan, where each side gradually destroys their own national economy to accommodate foreign domination over their own economy.

This is a direct result of the "economic/market reforms" that everyone on the JT board was cheering about a few years back, if you remember. I was one of the very few who said "bad idea," and was consistently downvoted for my warnings.

I don't think anyone here cheered for that. The issue with market reforms here is that the LDP cronies follow and emulate the toxic Anglo-American model, while the German model is much better. Voodoo economics has been revived since Abe's era, and now Suga is going to push it further. Japan is gradually becoming Americanized, and it isn't funny anymore.

LDP cronies worship Ronald Reagan, and you already how it ended badly in the USA after Reagan was gone.

Infact the robots/slaves from South East Asia have also been rendered jobless.They cant even afford to pay rent and most have debts.Cant even afford to save anything.

Fortunately for the Vietnamese guy in the article, he may find better opportunities in Vietnam or in the EU/USA. It is highly possible that the EU and USA will grant Vietnam the special status to allow foreign workers in their countries. Vietnam is also experiencing a miracle economy, so there are much more to it. Definitely, both options are better than working in Japan. Soon, many SEA countries will follow suit to ditch Japan for better jobs prospect of their own people.

A SAD day for 35.7% of the working Japanese force. Just because they are unable or companies will NOT even give them a full time regular employee jobs does NOT in anyways mean they should be paid less, this is a game employers play and exploit the system.

Japanese labor statistics are the most unreliable data in the world. Many foreign investors may trust the financial statistics from Japan but not the labor ones. The actual number of temporary and part-time workers in Japan should be more than 50-60% because the labor market never recovered from both assets bubble burst of 1990s and Great Recession of 2008. Lifetime employment was already eliminated after 2008 Great Recession, more officially.

The economy will continue to stagnate. People will live in substandard housing, or with their parents, won’t get married, won’t have children. Suicides up. Yay, Japan!

You have to thank Saint Reagan for that. He is bringing "America" to Japan. The legendary philosophy of Trickle Down Economics that has been a divine testament for LDP cronies, akin to the Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung for the Chinese Communists.

Japan needs to bolster its labor unions to give their members greater bargaining power, because without it, the working people of this country will be ****ed. And that will sink the economy once and for all, given that 60% of Gdp is driven by consumer spending.

The USA will scream and sanction if Japan attempts anything so radically "Communist". The Americans, like Warren Buffett and Paul Singer, are investing billions of USD into Japan. They don't want any "socialist" crap halting their ways, especially labor unions. When Obama sanctioned the Yakuza in 2008 that permanently killed the Japanese underworld dominance, the USA was already locked on Japan for many neoliberal changes to make the islandic nation favorable for American economic dominance.

Before the Plaza Accord, Japanese Socialists, unfortunately eliminated politically by the CIA, called for the nationalization of important sectors of Japanese economy to ensure the rising status of a consumer economy. The USA screamed and accused Japan of cozying up with the USSR and Communism, so Japan abandoned all plans of making the country more friendly to the labor unions, socialist policies and Japanese national sovereignty.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I was denied being a regular worker, but I still work from 8am-6pm. I don’t understand the differences.

I asked why am been denied?

replied ( CEO) : you don’t speak Japanese ( which is not true ) You’re a Muslim and you pray in a company , if we knew you’re a Muslim, we wouldn’t hired you. This totally discriminatory

6 ( +6 / -0 )

said giving no bonus to a per-hour worker tasked with light work and subject to no job rotation does not constitute the unreasonable disparity

This is probably in the contract, but we all know the reality.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If companies say they don't have the money to pay contract workers equal pay why not cut the bonuses of regular workers by let's say 25 percent and at least pay them some kind of bonus. The regular workers would still rake in a minimum of 500.000 yen and the contract workers would be somehow pleased and rewarded for the work they do

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gotta change the laws. Get to the root of the problem. Only way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"you don’t speak Japanese ( which is not true ) You’re a Muslim and you pray in a company , if we knew you’re a Muslim, we wouldn’t hired you. This totally discriminatory"

I am not surprised at all. Human rights almost do not exist in Japan. Had this happened in democratic countries that value human rights there would be serious consequences.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And they wonder why the population is in freefall.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Look, this is bottom up, not top down, equal pay is not an imagery illusionary concept.

However, within this ruling government, the demands/festering expectations of core political establishment, commercial vested interests, J economy will continue to stagnate, the sovereign debt increase, the servicing costs already unstainable, the depopulation rate resulting in a political and economic train wreck.   

The current inertia within an aged political institutional , will always be unwilling to accept change or innovative new ideas.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Low birth rate, higher suicide rate and THIS! kudos!!! I bet govt deduct the same amount of TAX from a non-regular workers compared to a regular workers with same range income.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The government has set a policy of equal pay for equal work but critics say it is unclear to what extent it prevents different treatment of nonregular and regular workers. 

The government can set whatever policies it likes, but unless it abolishes the existing law which establishes two classes of worker, it's hard to believe that disparity will ever be addressed.

Stream-line and simplify the labour law, that's what Chairman fxgai of Socialist Republic of Japan would do.

One single type of worker under the law.

To retain good workers, let companies do whatever they please in order to do so.

Workers who are unsatisfied with their conditions should jump ship for greener pastures. (Don't look to the courts to rule in your favour when the law is set up to put some on a second track, that's something that the politicians need to make law changes for. Chairman Suga has decreed that mobile phone plans must be cheaper so he can proceed to change labour laws too if the democracy forces him to)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Shameful.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm one that thinks that people should, when the opportunity is present, read the actual verdicts for the reasoning instead of relying on news reports. These are the numbers:

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To their credit, the justices were able to identify some differences between the jobs being performed, as well as differences in the risk burden (especially the risk to have jobtype and location transfers). Also, both defendant entities were smart enough to have promotion programs where their part time workers can undergo selection and upgrade to being full-time contract workers and then to the Japanese ideal of the tenured seishain worker. The statistics suggest that being promoted is a genuine rather than theoretical possibility, but neither of the plaintiffs at hand seemed to have tried to climb that ladder.

Having said that, allow me to suggest the justices don't justify their stance that a reversal is necessary. Especially since the phrase "does not quite reach the point of un-reasonableness" is in their judgments, meaning that it is not perfectly reasonable either. The previous judgments had already taken into account the genuine differences between the different job categories as well as the principle of freedom of contract by only ordering **partial equalization of the differences.** In jurisprudence terms, it doesn't unduly restrict the employers' legitimate options.

Further, I notice virtually no analysis is done to interpret the relevant statute using literal-grammatical, systematic, historical or teleological interpretation, so the reading seems arbitrarily decided rather than reasoned. In fact, the ruling risks neutering the entire purpose in writing Article 20 of the relevant law in the first place. At the very least, the clear intent of Article 20 is to protect workers and it is not hard to suspect what two adverse rulings despite apparent gaps in treatment will do to the deterrent power of the statute, and how it would be exploited.

The Supreme Court clearly hadn't learnt from its experience with the Kimigayo debacle. Unlike many, I can understand the initial rulings because otherwise the very right of principals to give work related orders risk being neutered. Unfortunately, as it turned out the intitial, relatively proportionate, punishments (official admonitions) chosen by the principals was due to perceived legal uncertainty. Once the court ruled their way, instead of recognizing the admonitions as about the limit, schools continued to push the line and admonitions escalated into disciplinary firings over the Kimigayo and the courts ended up having to push in the opposite direction.

Overall the Supreme Court should just have sent its usual two line note of dismissal to settle both cases instead of accepting them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"And Japan Inc is looking to become more attractive to foreign workers?????

I just spit my coffee up on my keyboard!"

I concur; foreigners should stay home where things are so much better.

I was about to drop my dentures, then realised I haven't got any.

"Almost three-quarters of a million jobs have been lost from company payrolls since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, with the youngest and oldest workers bearing the brunt of the employment crisis."

"https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/aug/11/coronavirus-730000-workers-fall-from-uk-payrolls-between-march-and-july"

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Voodoo economics has been revived since Abe's era, and now Suga is going to push it further. J

In which part of Voodoo economics did Dear Leader provide everyone with crappy abenomask, without understanding that the free market would act to produce a plentiful variety of masks of adequate quality and price?

In which part did Dead Leader decree to the mobile phone companies that their prices were too high and they must lower them to 5,000 yen? (This one really bugs me, since I only pay 1,800 for my plan anyway, so wtf is this interference by government in price setting)

I would love to see some REAL Voodoo economics here in Japan, thanks!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As Kazuaki ably pointed out the ruling was decided by ( his words)

"...To their credit, the justices were able to identify some differences between the jobs being performed, as well as differences in the risk burden (especially the risk to have jobtype and location transfers). Also, both defendant entities were smart enough to have promotion programs where their part time workers can undergo selection and upgrade to being full-time contract workers and then to the Japanese ideal of the tenured seishain worker. The statistics suggest that being promoted is a genuine rather than theoretical possibility, but neither of the plaintiffs at hand seemed to have tried to climb that ladder..."

As a point of law. I have no reason to doubt this analysis - I have zero training.

My Big Take on all of this is the undermining of the simple principle of a fair hourly wage for workers regardless of permanent or casual status. If the actual work is the same and handled with the same efficiency and results, then it is only natural that a similar rate is to be expected. If the possibility of transfer exists then that should be a different matter and adjustments made accordingly. But while workers are in the same environment working equally it is literally a discriminatory practice to pay one less than the other. The problem is the notion that casual workers are not taken seriously because they are casual. This is such an outmoded view considering the majority of women in the Japanese workforce are casual - many by default not by desire.

As a comparison to recognizing the value of workers ( I only know Australia case a little) , here are 2 examples of similar work done by similar workers as the above article outlines.

Higher Education Staff - Clerical, Administration etc

Permanent Fulltime starting level 1.1 - hourly rate A$21 ; 1st 2 hours overtime A$32 ; 2nd 2 hours A$43

Casual Fulltime starting level 1.1 - hourly rate A$ 27 ; 1st 2 hours overtime A$37 ; 2nd 2 hours A$ 48.

I'm not applauding the virtues of the Aust system over the Japanese system, but simply want to point out that the casual worker in Australia is Paid Well Above the rate of the permanent worker because of a recognized deficiency in benefits (accrued leave, sickness, etc).

For me this is about societies ability to comprehend the worth of it's most valuable resource - people. Creating fickle structures or adhering to past outdated models reflects strongly on a country's ability to progress fairly for all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan have out dated models.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This article is misleading (or you're misreading). The content and responsibility of the job between regular workers and non-regular workers are different. The point is whether management can trust and disclose confidential info to non-regular workers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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