Businesses these days are hurting for workers. And if you get sick on the job, it might even wind up costing you more than just lost wages. J-Cast News (Feb 1) reported that a 7-11 franchise in the Tokyo suburb of Musashino City demanded a part-time employee who was unable to make it to work due to illness take a pay cut. Because she was not able to introduce a substitute to work his hours, the store reduced her accrued wages based on the hours work she'd missed.
The fine was calculated thus: 935 yen per hour x 10 hours of missed work equals 9,350 yen.
In the past, such practices -- obtaining a substitute when one is unable to work -- were unheard of, and this piece of news once again casts a harsh light on the tight market for workers at convenience stores.
According to the office of public information at the parent company, 7 and I Holdings, the worker who had been penalized at the shop in Musashino had been a 16-year-old high school girl. In late January, she came down with a cold and missed two work shifts, totaling 10 hours. On payday, which fell on Jan 26, she noticed that the missed hours had been deducted from payment for the 25 hours that she had put in.
According to the headquarter's PR office, this particular shop operates on its own "in-house rule" that levies a penalty on workers who cannot find a substitute to cover for their absence. The news came to light when the girl's outraged family tweeted their anger on Jan. 26, also posting a photo of the actual payment of wages slip indicating the 9,350 yen deduction.
Article 91 of Japan's Labor Standards Act states, "In the event that the rules of employment provide for a decrease in wages as a sanction against a worker, the amount of decrease for a single occasion shall not exceed 50% of the daily average wage, and the total amount of decrease shall not exceed 10% of the total wages for a single pay period."
Based on this, the parent company determined that its franchise's action was in violation of the law, and instructed it to compensate the worker for the difference. A spokesperson for the company apologized for the error, which occurred due to the franchiser's "ignorance of the laws."
"It's the store owner's responsibility to manage the entire operation, but he was out of line to make up his own rules and extract a penalty from the worker," the spokesperson added.
There are currently more than 50,000 convenience stores in Japan, and many, hard strapped to obtain enough workers, are constantly seeking new applicants. Many workers can easily be hired despite a lack of experience, but their unfamiliarity with work rules makes them easy to exploit.
The chairman of the Metropolitan Youth Union, a Tokyo-based labor union, told J-Cast News, "Nearly all the convenience stores hire workers at rates at or near the minimum wage. As these aren't well paying jobs, naturally it's hard to attract more workers.
"Also, the staff are required to move around, putting out merchandise on the shelves, operating the cash register, registering parcels for delivery and so on."
In other words, working at a kombini demands various skills, including people skills. So if you're good enough to do these things competently, then you're smart to seek work that pays better© Japan Today