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7-Eleven penalizes 16-year-old part-timer for taking 2 days off due to illness

52 Comments

A 7-Eleven convenience store in Tokyo withheld 9,350 yen from the pay of a 16-year-old girl working part-time because she missed her shift on two days due to a cold last month.

However, the store's parent company, Seven & I Holdings Co, has acknowledged that the penalty was in violation of the Labor Standards Act, and has reimbursed the girl, Fuji TV reported.

According to the company, the girl works part-time at the store in Tokyo’s Musashino City. She was absent for 10 hours because she had the flu. When she received her pay on Jan 26, the pay slip had an affixed note indicating that 9,350 yen (payment for 10 hours) had been deducted from the total of 23,375 yen owed to her for 25 hours of work because she had been absent without arranging for a replacement.

Although the Musashino store has told part-time employees that it is their responsibility to find a replacement if they are unable to work their shifts, Seven & I Holdings said that is not company policy.

According to the Labor Standards Act regarding pay cuts, “The deduction must not exceed 10% of the total wages in a single payment period.” The reduction of 9,350 yen from the student’s 23,375 yen wage exceeded the 10% mandate. The Labor Standards Bureau says it is the employer's responsibility to find a replacement for part-time workers who are unable to cover their shifts.

The girl’s mother complained to Seven & I Holdings Co which has issued an apology and paid the girl the 9,350 yen.

The girl has since quit her part-time job, the store said.

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52 Comments
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Good on the parent company. They should actually fine the Musashino store for violating the labor standards code.

29 ( +29 / -0 )

At less than 1000 yen an hour, the company should also be outed for not paying a living wage!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

There is also a big possibility that the store was merely a franchisee owned by a separate entity.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

the Musashino store has told part-time employees that it is their responsibility to find a replacement if they are unable to work their shifts

That's fine if the absence is for leisure or to attend a wedding, for example. For illness or bereavement, it's ridiculous.

Shame on the franchisee, and to head office for not effectively (as opposed to balance sheet-friendly efficiently) training the franchisees. What other sub-par practices have fallen through the cracks?

15 ( +17 / -2 )

living wage for a 16 year old?

10 ( +17 / -7 )

There is also a big possibility that the store was merely a franchisee owned by a separate entity.

So? Read the article again, this wasn't a franchise, and even if it were, they still are responsible, by law, to follow labor standards.

However, the store’s parent company, Seven & I Holdings Co,

Whomever is operating this store should be made accountable for this, AND 7 Holdings now has a responsibility to review the stores records and see whom else has been affected. When there is one, there is more.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I was, once upon a time, docked my monthly bonus and a day's pay because my pet had died that morning and I was an hour "late" because of that. Late, with permission, I should add.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

There needs to be some stiff financial penalties for wage theft against vulnerable employees like this. It is outrageous that 7-11 can get away with this by simply paying the girl her salary - such a system actually incentivizes them to do this again in the future because the worst consequence they face is just having to pay their employees what they would have anyway.

I would totally be in favor of a boycott, but I would not be surprised if all convenience store operators rip their workers off like this so I doubt it would be effective. The government needs to put some teeth in the regulations to actively punish this sort of thing, otherwise it will just continue completely unchecked.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Wait! This means that the 2 weeks of pay cut I got from my former dispatch company and the phone calls threatening to fire me if I din't return to work immediately where actually illegal? Did the laws change since 2008? I got 50% pay cut that time and had a hard time paying my bills.

Does anybody know where we can complain about this sort of thing?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

According to the Labor Standards Act regarding pay cuts, “The deduction must not exceed 10% of the total wages in a single payment period.” The reduction of 9,350 yen from the student’s 23,375 yen wage exceeded the 10% mandate.

Under the mandate does this mean that a deduction under 10% for what happened is, in fact, legal ?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

How the hell are you suppose to find a replacement when you're sick. That's the store manager's job!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

living wage for a 16 year old?

she is a part timer, best guess is a high school student looking to earn some pocket money. Chill out.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Now she was probably forced to leave her job all over a measly 9350 yen the company tried to rob her of. Why..?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Disgusting behavior by the store, and 'sorry' through gritted teeth and then handing over the money belatedly doesn't sound like reasonable compensation. You can bet she will have a hard time being scheduled for shifts from here on.

@ GaikokuJim, you can go the Labour Standards Board (? someone correct me) and they can provide a free consultation with a lawyer. However most disputes end in 'Well..you did sign the contract therefore agreeing to everything'. Even when dispatch companies act illegally they are prepared to have you take them to court and wait for you to run out of money and abandon the case.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Where I'm from, if you're sick with the flu, the employer wants you to stay at home. In terms of industrialized countries, Japan has got to be near the bottom in terms of the way they treat their workforce.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Another daily typical JapanToday "Japan so bad" story.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Haha good old 7 eleven, never their responsibility. They did the same in oz a few months ago when young employees (often foreign students) complained they had been exploited. Never their fault, always some pseudo franchisee who didn't follow/understand company's values and guidelines. Right.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Following up on @spinningplates, @gaikokujim, you should look for your local labour consultation office. http://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/koyou/gaikokujin12/pdf/english_0010.pdf (list of offices throughout Japan that have services specifically for the gaikoku types).

At 9 years on, you may be barking up a dead tree, mind.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

no wonder labor participation is falling... workers are treated like shytte.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You can bet she will have a hard time being scheduled for shifts from here on.

Last line of story:

The girl has since quit her part-time job, the store said.

Just another example of the exploited workforce in JLand. At least the girl's mother has some sense and looked into it, Kudos.

...they are prepared to have you take them to court and wait for you to run out of money and abandon the case.

Same goes for fraudulent internet sites (take your money and send nothing). JCops won't lift a finger to stop them...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This Bloke as not a leg to stand on, the young girl should be support by the Parent Company. Very Bad PR for Seven & I holdings. And I give this brave young girl a big "Give em Heaps" This action need to be encourage. Even if they are proven wrong in the out come. They should be encourage and suported by follow workers. I lay money this is not a isolated case. I just have to say how disgusting this hourly rate is and the period of the shift has be 5 hours in the evenings. At the same age my !6 , 12 years ago 2005 my daughter was working part time in the evenings just like this girl for a major Supa. Her wage then was $15 an hour. The labour standard in Japan are verging on Slavery. Simply Disgusting. Even Japanese Executive should hold the heads with shame.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Although the Musashino store has told part-time employees that it is their responsibility to find a replacement if they are unable to work their shifts, Seven & I Holdings said that is not company policy.

If you are sick the LAST thing you should be doing is trying to find someone to fill in for you. It's up to the management to handle that. Jeez. You do NOT punish people for being ill... that leads to people going to work who shouldn't be, perhaps being so ill that they need to be taken to hospital. The fear of losing wages through illness should NEVER be used as a way to stop people taking time off...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is awful on so many levels, steal your pay, make a REAL part time employee(not the ones that work 40+hrs & are still ""part time"") FIND replacements for when they get ill, GET REAL!!

When will this country PROTECT its people for the evils of Japan INC!

My wife is just recovering from the flu, doctor ordered her eto take at least 5days off NO WORK, she works a few days a week so missed some shifts, thankfully a phone call was all it took, so kudos to where my wife works & SHAME on 7-11!!!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

You have to be pooping me! It's the flipping company's responsibility to find a substitute! This is where Japanese business culture fails miserably! She is a part-time employee at a convenience store. She is the CEO of a major corporation. Penalising people for getting sick is nothing more than bullying! I work in a private high school and was nearly fired last year because I got a herniated disc in my lower back and could not go to work. However, it was not because of the herniation I was nearly fired, it was because I didn't call them at 7am every morning of my absence, even though I had clearly stated I would not be able to attend for the rest of the week. The head teacher called me and was actually yelling at me through the phone and then, after I returned to school on the following week o was hauled up to the principal's office and had to make a formal apology to him. Of course, my salary was not paid for the absent days either. I was also subjected to a somewhat racist tyraid exclaiming that I come from a strange country where calling the company every morning is not necessary. I was not absent without notice. I made it very clear I would not be able to attend and told all the necessary peers. They were just peeved that I hadn't played 'suck up to the boss' for my absence. I'm so glad this girl was paid, but there are many more employees in similar situations. There is a list of 'black companies' in Japan, but just about every company in Japan has black practices of intimidation and withhold payments for panalties. Then, you can add the ridiculous amounts of overtime people are ordered to do. All of these practices are highly illegal where I come from.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Every Company I work for I tell them this and Make sure they understand. Before I except the Position. if I am not here I am not coming and I am not ringing, That means I am crook or sick. If I was fit enough to call you that I will mean I am fit enough for work. So It does not make any sense to call you because that means I fit enough to work. OK you get that. And if your that concern about my heath which you should be and not my absent, ring my next of kin which have on your book under ring in case of emergency. I you ring me I will not answer becaus eI am sick and unable to answer. When I am sick boss the last thing I be thinking is my loyally to the Company. First in my loyalty in my family then come me then close friends then come you boss on the list of important people to call when I am flat out in bed crook.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

my neighbor works at a 7-11 here in Northern Japan. She can take time off when she or her kids are sick and has never had a problem with her bosses and has even had pay raises. I would guess in cases like these it's owners bending the rules not the parent company. Not a good look either way.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

18 for sex, 20 for voting, but 16 for working nights in a dodgy area in a combini for about 800yen.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Managers in these shops come and go because of pressure to make sales. Really anyone can be the manager, there's no requirements for it, not even training, all they have is a thick manual that we know nobody ever read. So if you're unlucky, you get a jerk of a manager like this guy who doesn't take responsibility, shift it and punish the employees.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I know this will be unpopular, but I actually find myself in some sympathy with the company side.

Based on the article, the girl worked for only 60% of her contracted time and got 60% of her wages. Legal fictions aside, it is hard to consider this a penalty - it is just paying her for what she really worked for, with little details like how the company was indeed inconvenienced by her sudden disappearance ignored.

If she was a full-time worker (even de-facto), that would fit with the spirit of the law, since it probably presumes a certain number of off days as an inevitability. But pretending 40% is nothing seems just a bit too demanding.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

If she was a full-time worker (even de-facto), that would fit with the spirit of the law, since it probably presumes a certain number of off days as an inevitability

In the law, part-time work does as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Isn't there such a thing as statutory sick pay in Japan? Here in the UK if I am off sick I don't lose anything... if it's expected to last more than a week then a doctor's certificate that you are unable to attend work due to the illness or injury, less than that a self certification is all that is required. You phone in, yes, but not every day. Is it seen as a sign of weakness? I read somewhere that when someone was off sick their boss said they were stealing money? As much as I love Japan, it really does have a dark side.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Kasuaki

I read it as they 'fined' her for the hours that she didn't work, and deducted that from the hours she did work. So she ended up working 10 hours for free before she complained.

Some scuzzy restaurant tried to do the same to my daughter, so she quit. It's quite common in yakuza businesses, they use it to keep control of the employees. Disgusting if you ask me.

If you don't come to work I won't pay you, but I won't demand you reimburse me.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

18 for sex, 20 for voting, but 16 for working nights in a dodgy area in a combini for about 800yen.

16 for sex, 18 for voting and 16 to work at nights up until 10 PM. She is a HS kid.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I can't believe just how lucky I was when (in France) I worked part-time for a travel agency. Studying and working can be a mean mixture and one day, I found myself given a doctor's certificate for TWO MONTHS rest ! I stayed at a "Student's Rest Home" for those two months and guess what ? My employer sent me half of my salary for each of the two months...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

At less than 1000 yen an hour, the company should also be outed for not paying a living wage!

A few issues with this. I'm very concerned about the lack of living wages here, more so for single moms. However, if places are going to be expected to ay living wages, can the government then stop giving spouse benefits and start expecting ALL people, regardless of their marital status, to start paying taxes like FT working folks? This is a PT student. She doesn't need a living wage and actually won't be expected to start paying things like pension and health care unit she hits 20. Frankly, the per hour rate in Japan is shocking. But it is shocking because of the way the benefits system works. The ones really hurt by this are the working poor and single moms, not 16 year old students with a mom who cares enough to complain about her daughter's crappy PT job.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

my living wage comment was a sarcasm if u too dumb to notice.. why would a 16 year old be making more than 800 at a conveni is beyond me

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Considering the chronic labor shortage, especially for convenience stores, you'd think they would treat employees better. And it is the manager's responsibility to arrange schedules, not employees. That is why they are called "manage"r.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Being employed also mean being able to take care of your health as not to affect your work.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And what happens to the store that fined her for her absence? Nothing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Boss reluctant to give sick time for cold, then be sure to have frequent lengthy job related conversations with him especially when sneezing and coughing. When giving change, use two hands, one hand hold the money the other under the customers hand thus a opportunistic chance to keep on giving that customer satisfaction. A little light tap on the customers hand helps with the cheerful redistribution.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the store or company does not have a backup plan then they should be fined for stupidity. I'm sure most stores or cafes will have more than 2 people per shift to mitigate such problems which arise very frequently. Expecting an ill part time employee or even full time to find a replacement is ludicrous. Assuming you did pull someone of the street or even a family member or friend, what use would they be if they have never performed that jon or task. If finding someone within the staff rota is the extent of it then the store manager or owner can do that unless they're incompetent. Personally I hope these types of establishments just go bust and better ones thrive. Exploiting 16 year olds is not good business in any sector.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I was once fired from a minimum wage job like this.

The boss said no problem when I asked and provided a written request for 2 days in a row off 3 weeks before I needed them (sporting competition). Then he scheduled me on those days anyway - which didn't check the schedule and was out of town. Came in the week after to check my schedule and get my paycheck - TERMINATED was written across my name.

Taught be a good lesson.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As far as I know about Seven and I holdings in Japan, all 7/11 stores are owned, not franchised.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My wife is just recovering from the flu, doctor ordered her eto take at least 5days off NO WORK, she works a few days a week so missed some shifts, thankfully a phone call was all it took, so kudos to where my wife works & SHAME on 7-11!!!

One find a new doctor, no need for everyone to take 5 days for the flu. But you are correct.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Actually five days off for the flu is warranted as you are infected and pass it around. 24 hours after the fever is gone is recommended.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

that is a big no no employee has to find the replacement for being off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Although the Musashino store has told part-time employees that it is their responsibility to find a replacement if they are unable to work their shifts

That's why managers get paid the extra bucks to handle these types of issues. If a person calls in sick you don't want them in to possibly expose the rest of the work force, so you call around and see who can cover her shift. That's what being a leader means. If people have personal leave plans, then it is on them to make sure that they try to plan out as far in advance as possible, to allow management the time to work the schedule so one can go. If you can work out an exchange of work hours between employees and then notify the manager for final approval, I can live with that since I have done that before. But never when I was sick did I have to call around and ask if someone could cover for me.

Looks like the management needs to go back to training to learn what they can do within the law and better management skills.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The girl has since quit her part-time job

Damn straight! Seriously what kind of nonsense is that? She's a part-timer who called in sick (which is pretty commendable; you know, since she's being sensible enough to not get the rest of staff / customers sick with the flu), then gets reprimanded for not doing the manager's job (of finding a replacement worker - but not getting paid for that task), and then still gets her pay docked anyway.

You can guarantee there's other scummy wage-theft tactics that have occurred that they've gotten away with in the past that hasn't gotten reported, if 7-11 store management feels embolden enough to do what they did to that kid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Waiting for more to come about this issue (while eating the popcorn)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sounds like an eikaiwa

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So would the store manager rather the sick girl come to work, coughing and sniffling in front of the customers? If she is sick, she needs rest! This case smells like a lawsuit!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is very few store own out right by 7 & i holding which are the petrol combine convenience store. The rest are least out on a franchise basis.This bloke has to keep to the franchise work ethic. But this is not part of 7 & i holding work ethic but they do have some dodgy practice concerning workers. Like when there is no hot chicken left during your shift you have place more out for sale but if you put too many out and they don,t sell during your shift you have pay for it. This happen to my Partner when she was work at 7/11.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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