national

Chiba gov't workers punished for leaving work two minutes early

41 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

On March 10, the Funabashi City Board of Education in Chiba Prefecture announced it had disciplined a number of staff for leaving the office two minutes early. Staff say they left early because they wanted to get an earlier bus home. 

The Board of Education found 316 incidences of early departures from May 2019 to January 2021, involving seven staff members. The ringleader was found to be a 59-year-old woman in charge of attendance management, who was working at a counsellor level in the Lifelong Learning Department.

The counsellor was disciplined for taking the initiative in defrauding timecards, which recorded departure times as 5:15 p.m., although she and other staff were leaving at 5:13 p.m. in order to catch the 5:17 p.m. bus. 

Other habitual offenders included a 27-year-old male director and a woman in her 60s, both employed this fiscal year, who received written reprimands. Four other staff members, also employed this fiscal year, were given strict cautions for punching out early.

The time-swindling ringleader has been punished with a one-tenth reduction in salary for three months. This salary cut is expected to reimburse the Board of Education with approximately 137,000 yen to cover the unreported leave accumulated.

According to the Board of Education, when asked why they had knocked off before their assigned finishing time, staff said they “wanted to go home early.” If they missed the bus at 5:17, the next bus wouldn’t arrive until 30 minutes later, at 5:47 p.m.

People in Japan expressed sympathy for the plight of the workers, saying:

“How many companies pay properly on a minute-by-minute basis? If that were the case, then staff who work one minute overtime should get paid for it.”

“They’re still using timecards? So outdated.”

“It would be nice if, when they found out about the bus timetable, they could make some flexible arrangement for government workers like getting them to come in a bit earlier instead.”

“Wouldn’t it be nice if the bus service timetable could be changed?”

“Civil servants can’t have flexible work arrangements–they should talk to the union about changing working hours or switching to a flex-time system.”

“People already arrive at least five minutes earlier than their scheduled time for work, so you’d think it would be okay for them to leave two minutes early.”

In Japan, it’s often said that if you’re not 10 minutes early to an appointment then you’re late, so it’s common for staff to arrive ten minutes earlier than their scheduled start time to stay in everyone’s good books.

That doesn’t mean you can ever leave early, though, because just as unpaid early arrivals are the norm, so too are unpaid overtimes, which these workers may now find themselves doing for roughly 20 minutes a day, unless the bus company decides to change its schedule.

Source: Sankei News via Jin

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

41 Comments
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This is a joke, right?

So how about getting paid when you work overtime.

If not, how about getting your boss punished?

I mean, it should work either way, right!

33 ( +33 / -0 )

That good old bully culture just won't go away..never ever let anyone own your time.

32 ( +32 / -0 )

The "ringleader" lol wtf

31 ( +31 / -0 )

How about they just arrive 2 minutes earlier, or 2 minutes less lunch time. Crime of the century.

29 ( +29 / -0 )

And how many times have these people arrived minutes early and started working? I bet it's every day.

28 ( +28 / -0 )

a country were the corruption is systemic... they worry about clocking 2 min early?!

25 ( +25 / -0 )

Oh, for ....’s sake.

I’d guess some of the bosses huddled in the smoking area during working hours didn’t approve.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Yeah. I agree with all the above. as well as the comments by the Japanese people's comments. am encouraged that people in Japan expressed outrage as well.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Jesus wept, why are people in authority here so intent on treating everyone like children?

17 ( +17 / -0 )

This is just absurd, leaving only 2 minutes early to catch a bus is a perfectly justifiable reason IMO. I wonder how uptight the management in this office is? It really concerns me how some people can just raise hell for something so petty but would passively wave off something so concerning as a shouganai moment. When I was attending university, I had my watch set six minutes in advance to the train's schedule so that I can run to the station with time to spare and would not take lip from people trying to hold me back when I need to catch the next train.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

OK, they left 2 minutes earlier. I agree, they must be severely punished. Such an outrage!

I wonder how long did they even discussed this "incident" and how much time they wasted in the end by investigating this. I bet it took longer than those outrageous 2 minutes. Someone has too much time on their hands, obviously.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

They should now work exactly to rule! Not a second extra overtime, never answer a mail out of work hours..nothing!

16 ( +16 / -0 )

This is the Bored of education? God help the students, teachers under their control. Habitual? Two minutes early? Ring leader? Two minutes early? This has to be one of the most stupidest stories I've read. Definatly emailing this one around the world, in two minutes.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

The people at the top in charge, being oxygen thieves, didn't like the people under them being time thieves.

Perhaps a more flexible employment environment would make for more productive and happier workers, but not in a Japanese govt department unless you are at the top end and being bribed by NTT or some other large organization.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Other habitual offenders included a 27-year-old male director Oh my lord! who are these people, knocking off a minute or two befor time? Jeees, crime of the century Oh my lord, do these clown realise how much hard work the staff has put in, sometimes skipping meal or lunch breaks? how many time have they stopped on for half an hour or more and not said anything to get the job done? personaly i would give the boss a big fat invoice for the all of the extra time thats been put in. Habitual offenders, my a*s you need to cut your staff some slack.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

This means the public in that town pay taxes just so someone can check time cards....

Would it be preferable to have them clock 30 minutes of empty overtime every day until the next bus comes?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I’m curious how many of these ‘offenders’ started work more than two minutes early every day. I’ll bet that many of them arrive to work early to do cleaning and other unpaid duties.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

19th century management at its best. pathetic. tax payer should worry about low standard of management not the staff

11 ( +11 / -0 )

And to think I used to take 90-minute lunches and leave the office a half-hour early every day. Except Fridays, when I went home right after lunch.

It's not about two minutes. It's about productivity. And productivity has little to do with time.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I worked at one company that strictly enforced the work time. Nobody was allowed to start doing any work till it was officially time. Everyone was at their desk and waited till the department manager said, "はい時間ですお仕事始めてください. " I was amazed that the company did this, even when we were on deadline. It was the same for clocking out. He would say, "時間になりました。あがってください." Everyone was supposed to have things done, so they could leave on the dot. I've never found another company like that one company.

Elsewhere (not in Japan), I've adjusted my start time or lunch hour on days I wanted or needed to leave a little early. My co-workers did the same.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

japanese way...

no komento

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I'm tempted to do this because i always fall seconds short of making the train home.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I'm also surprised they are working in an office and not remotely. If not remotely, it's wise to not leave the office at the same time as half the city to avoid creating a rush hour.

We are still in the middle of a pandemic right?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What a great example of Japan being an " advanced country ". Geez...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

We would wonder how many hours they have worked for free, giving their own time.

Hmmmmmm.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I used to do service work where someone took it upon themself to PUNCH OUT ALL the employees' Time Cards WHILE WE were STILL WORKING on a Customer's Car !

When I saw him do it regularly, I would simply WALK OFF and go home, because I knew he had punched our cards..but of coure it's OK to RIP OFF the WORKER, right ?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

When I was working in a hospital, we had timecards too, BUT the owner of the group allowed staff to use paid leave in 1 minute allotments. Plenty of women worked there, and many had young children who were in day care, and it was extremely difficult for them to be on time 100% of the time.

It's just an administrative thing, and most companies would never allow it, but this group figured out a system, and stuck with it.

It was a popular place to work, particularly from mothers!

(Yeah I know, it's a rare exception , like the place I am at now, only allows us to take leave time, in 1 hour intervals!)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Funabashi City Board of Education in Chiba Prefecture are fools.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This salary cut is expected to reimburse the Board of Education with approximately 137,000 yen to cover the unreported leave accumulated.

The person/s who OK'd this salary cut are reprehensible, vile, morally corrupt beings that have no place in a management role.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Union

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I remember the days when my salary was reduced by 15 minutes per day regardless if I clocked out 1 to 15 minutes early it was calculated in 15 minutes increments.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

On bad days at work stories like this make me feel better, at least my company are not so bad.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Most Japanese companies still rate workers according to time and not

what is accomplished! (My company as well).

My boss is a 課長 that got there because of the number of years and

overtime he has worked there and not because of what he's accomplished.

He doesn't know what he's doing so I'm doing his work for him and he makes more

than twice what I do. And this happens every time the 課長changes.

I'm at the age where if I quit it would be hard to find another job so I put up

with it but I can't wait for the day when I quit and the branch ends up in shambles. LOL

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Most people make misunderstanding. Normally, politician and civil servant are occupations of the foolish people in the most countries. You expect them too much.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I worked at one company that strictly enforced the work time. Nobody was allowed to start doing any work till it was officially time. Everyone was at their desk and waited till the department manager said, "はい時間ですお仕事始めてください. " I was amazed that the company did this, even when we were on deadline. It was the same for clocking out. He would say, "時間になりました。あがってください." Everyone was supposed to have things done, so they could leave on the dot. I've never found another company like that one company.

This is how clerical work was done in the Edo period, correct?

I'm no expert, but it was in one of Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy films, probably Twilight Samurai.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She is a HERO! I pray for her.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

> Mar. 16  01:00 pm JST  

The Board of Education found 316 incidences of early departures

Whoa! What a KO IN KI DINK!!!! This article was published on 3:16! And that's the bottom line!!!!! Cause Stone Cold Said So!!!!!

The time-swindling ringleader has been punished with a one-tenth reduction in salary for three months.

> According to the Board of Education, when asked why they had knocked off before their assigned finishing time, staff said they “wanted to go home early.” If they missed the bus at 5:17, the next bus wouldn’t arrive until 30 minutes later, at 5:47 p.m.

Sounds like a trouble maker to me. How dare the ringleader allow their workers to go home and see their families!!!!!!

> the Funabashi City Board of Education in Chiba Prefecture announced it had disciplined a number of staff for leaving the office two minutes early. 

So, the next time they stay 1 minute to 5 hours after 5:15 pm and get paid NO overtime, then what? Will they get some kind of bonus or recognition? No. Hey BOE, STFU!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Joe Blow I don't know if that's how clerical work was done in the Edo period. The company I was referring to wasn't formed in the Edo period. It's not one of those companies that's been around for centuries. It seems whether temp or not, the staff are all similar in temperament. I was the oddball. I was grateful that they kept calling me back for several of their projects over the years.

I haven't heard of Twilight Samurai.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another way around this would be to have electronic swipe cards, these swipe cards can be worn around a parsons neck, it also would help with security, and you cound put magnets that hold doors closed to more sensative areas, a central computer would monitor a staffs movement through a building, thus eliminating times cards, no one can take your card thus stopping people clocking you in or out, the computer would monitor your times, this way a boss could see if you was early or late.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm surprised that people are surprised about this. One of the drawbacks of public sector employment has always been a lack of flexibility. The strict enforcement of the rules exists to reassure taxpayers that everything is above board.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

It's not about how many minutes, it's about tampering with timecards

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

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