Businesses are curtailing company expenses by cutting back overtime pay, which has impacted the monthly income of salaried workers and changed the after-hour office district atmosphere. Many now head straight for home or go to cheap izakayas under the railroad overpass.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, overtime labor hours have decreased by 45.8% and overtime pay by 44.7%. Not only have commuters increased between 5 and 6 p.m., more men are taking their coworkers home instead of bars for drinks – not exactly a welcome change for housewives.
An IT company employee in his 50s comments that he now gets home by dinner with time to spend with his teenage children, and gives advice on their studies to secure a steady income in the future – an effort that backfired. From the family’s perspective, he is meddling in affairs he was never involved in until then, thus creating a rift in the home and feeling alienated.
A housewife, whose husband is in his 50s and works for a paper manufacturer, complains, “The monthly salary’s been cut by half without overtime pay. My husband now comes home early and just lounges around. He nags about the meal but won’t help with the housekeeping. It’s becoming unbearable.”
Atsuko Okano, who specializes in spousal problems, acknowledges the rise in divorce inquiries related to the loss of household income. It’s a tough situation for company employees with a family, but Professor Masahiro Yamada of Chuo University, who specializes in family sociology, argues that the real problem has to do with the lack of interaction between spouses. “It’s time to review the spousal relationship… and find a new way of living.”
Perhaps salaried workers should consider spending more time to communicate with their wives. It may be worth the effort.© Japan Today