politics

Parties spar over overtime system as gov't accused of bending data

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HahHaha

The Japanese work system is a joke....

One that's not really funny at all, weak and corrupt unions, weak laws and law enforcement and now you have the president trying to tell us including mandatory overtime in contracts is a good thing?

How about you introduce performance based pay, abolish the seniority system, make overtime hours payed at time and a half or double time and actually enforce such as system, put work hours down on contracts not just simply a salary per year.

If they actually changed the system companies would have cry for a few years then actually be forced to change the inefficient and unhealthy way they operate and workers might actually want to go to work and god forbid want to go home on time.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

What the labour force really needs is a culture of job changing, but this runs contrary to notions in Japan of group behavior and a sense of belonging to ones company and colleagues before oneself.

I suspect the proposed law changes do nothing to address the cultural roots of working overtime.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Oh yeah my previous place did that. Said your pay included 70 hours per month of “already paid” overtime. But instead of traditional overtime they would use those extra hours to make Saturdays and sometimes Sundays full work days.

Yet there was no way that monthly Salary amount included payment for 70 hours more work.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Under the discretionary labor system, employees are given a fixed number of overtime hours and are paid on the assumption that they worked those hours, meaning any further overtime is unpaid.

Why is any further overtime unpaid? This is a stupid system.

The system is currently only applicable in certain fields, but a proposed working practices reform bill would expand its application.

Again, why only certain fields.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

reading this article made me feel that the LDP is just trying to run circles around the problem without actually fixing it. Its really very simple: starting from the 41st hour you work in the week, the hourly wage is doubled. If you are a full time worker, it can be deducted by dividing your salary by 160 since that is the number of hours you are supposed to work a week. simple. All of the above complicated crap is totally unneccessary.

But its useless to tell them that. Japan won't change

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The way they set up the contract with extra pay and expecting one to do overtime is just another scam of slave labor. In most cases the extra pay is based on 10-20 hours overtime per month. However, many employees do far more hours of overtime, which means they are working for free = slave labor! I guess it's pretty easy to build a strong economy when people are working for free. I don't know of any other culture that has a word for 'death from overwork' "Karoshi" and Japan seems proud of it. The labor ministry's overtime cap of 100 hours per month is still a death sentence. It works out to nearly an extra three weeks work of 8 hour days in a month. I cannot understand why any company or employee needs to work in excess of 100 hours per month to do their job. Are the companies under-staffed or are the employees under-trained? Or, is it a combination of both? At present, around 60% of workers are on those short-term contracts with yearly evaluations. These semi-permanent workers are doing all the work and have to do as much overtime as they can to keep their jobs. Then, there is the issue of annual leave. Every Japanese company I've worked for has been very proud to offer x-amount of vacation days per year in their contract negotiations. However, if you try to take the days off you will not have a job to go back to. And, there is also the intern and general employment system. People attend interviews and are given jobs based on their education, skills and experience. Then, they are just told what to do by some old fella who has not been in school for more than 40 years. The whole system is a farce and contributes greatly to Japan's economic failure.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

How about a system that prevents overtime work?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Was an interesting discussion on Overtime that i saw on TV the other day here, listing the 4 (maybe 5) reasons people do overtime in Japan:

Because they feel like they have to (culture of overtime perpetuated by bosses)

Trying to complete an impossible workload

For a sense of accomplishment, self satisfaction

I cant remember the 4th and 5th reasons, but at any rate, the point is that there are multiple reasons for people doing overtime, and one fix cannot hope to resolve all of them. There is a guy in my office who regularly stays until 9pm or later, on his own, for what i can only imagine is the third reason above. He clocks out at 5:30 like the rest of staff, just that he then goes back to his desk and keeps working. He doesnt need to do that, the bosses go home early, the workload isnt that bad. Try telling him "just go home", it wont work.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Time Japan looks at the Australian System ... Time and a half for over time, double pay on Saturdays and Sundays .. Problem here in Japan is that all the companies now days are hiring people as part-timers, forcing them to work full-time and paying next to nothing, and as they are hired as part-timers, over time is not paid. And I always claimed the Chinese were bad at ripping people off, the Japanese are beginning to look just as bad!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This sounds like them trying to define the problem away.

There are so many engrained poor practices in Japan that ultimately the government needs to step in and stop them. "Guidelines" and "recommendations" will achieve absolutely nothing. Since the big trend is away from seishain, everyone on a contract should have set hours written on the contract and anything above that should have mandatory overtime pay at a set hourly rate calculated in no longer than 15 minute intervals. Any shorter and people will be doing 30 minutes for free every day. My wife's last job had a mandatory one hour break from 5.30 every day, basically to get one hour of unpaid work from everyone. This too has to be outlawed.

afanofjapan describes someone voluntarily doing overtime and yes, that happens to. Maybe its easier to hang about at work than to go home to an unhappy household (he wouldn't be the only one) or some idea of long hours/self-sacrifice being good has taken hold after years of doing hours of club after school/college.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

why not stop overtime completely? Get some sleep? You need more time, pay for more workers. Stop being suckers

6 ( +7 / -1 )

When I first started at my company I used the company lunchroom and would chat with JP guys such as "how are you?", and the responses were "I am so busy" "Busy" "So busy". Stopped going there after day 2.

My company also institutes the 20 hours of paid overtime system for non-managers but I think a little background is in order. They apparently want to encourage employees to go home earlier if there is nothing to do because in the past you actually had to put in the 20 hours to get the extra pay. The expectation is that you will work 20 hours or less overtime per month, with less pressure just to sit there for no reason. For large JP companies there is now a lot of pressure to avoid karoshi.

More senior people with balanced views of life seem to take advantage of this system in the spirit it was implemented and leave on time and pocket the difference, but new employees and junior employees are terrified and will work the full 20 hours overtime and more.

Regarding afanofjapan's comment about the guy staying until 9 pm after clocking out, one other reason is fear of going home early. The wife will invariably ask, why are you home so early? However, such workers are not harmless as I think they lower morale of those wanting to leave earlier for work-life balance, and can cause peer pressure to conform if they are more senior.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Then, there is the issue of annual leave. Every Japanese company I've worked for has been very proud to offer x-amount of vacation days per year in their contract negotiations. However, if you try to take the days off you will not have a job to go back to. 

This is a good example of what I was talking about in my comment about culture.

In Japan, the culture is what it is. 

When a bunch of rules are introduced from outside (e.g. the government or wherever), the Japanese people just nod their heads and work around those rules as they see fit, because they as a group don't want to change their culture. 

The culture is defended by the group, at the expense of each of the individuals within it and changes that outside interests would like to effect.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The current employment laws actually contain many of the things mentioned in the comments above. For example overtime should be paid at a 25% premium to the standard hourly wage and if overtime exceeds a certain amount in a month the premium increases to 50%.

You are allowed a 45 minute break for 6-8 hours work. Then, if you work over 8 hours you get another 15 minute break. So, if you worked from 9 am to 6 pm you would get a 45 minute lunch break, a 15 minute break from 5 pm to 5:15 pm and overtime should be paid from 5:15 pm to 6 pm. This is how it worked when I was a company employee and they did pay for all my overtime.

If you are a manager or working on the "discretionary labour" system you won't get overtime. Maybe you would get a lump sum instead. People working under those conditions must be able to set their own work hours, i.e. their bosses should not be able to tell them what time to arrive and when to leave, and they should not give them so much work that they work themselves to death.

The existing laws are good enough, the problem is they are not enforced. Instead of forcing companies to obey the law, Abe wants to change the system so that people will be forced to work long hours for no overtime pay. This is why he is lying about the number of hours worked under each system. Abe doesn't care about workers at all.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Since the big trend is away from seishain, everyone on a contract should have set hours written on the contract and anything above that should have 

I think the two-tier employment system itself must be abolished, rather than tinker with the rules for each type.

All employees should be employed under the same type of contract. 

Having two types of contract just leads to the creation of a group of relative winners and a group of relative losers. That's not fair.

Of course, abolishing the current two-tier system would be politically difficult because those vested interests currently in the "winners" group would kick and scream blue murder.

But making for a system under which everyone is treated fairly, is what politicians with guts would do. And with the playing field leveled for all, the best workers would find themselves in high demand, no matter the type of contract they were previously employed under. The only ones who need scream blue murder be those who are not worth their current salary.

Alas, today's rule makers will never make the system simple and fair, like this.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The survey asked workers in the discretionary system how many hours they worked in a day.

But the conventionally employed workers were asked to recall the day they had worked longest in the space of a month. The number of overtime hours they worked on that day was added to the legal working day of eight hours to come up with the figure.

And there you have an insider's view as to how numbers and surveys are fudged by the Japanese government in order to meet their agenda, which is to have the entire population enslaved with no recourse or any possible way of changing things for the greater good. A 'democratic' yet totalitarian leadership.

But the Japanese people have proved time and time again that this is, in fact, what they want. The mindset is so entrenched through the generations now that the Japanese cannot imagine anything other than a life of subservience and slavery.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Nick in Japan - Time Japan looks at the Australian System ... Time and a half for over time, double pay on Saturdays and Sundays

Yeah, but, Turdbull and his Liberal cronies are trying to wipe it out. Australia was also the first country to introduce the 8-hour working day. 8 hours work, 8 hours rest and 8 hours sleep. It was introduced in the mines during the 1880's. Penalty rates for overtime would kill Japan. Japanese don't work hard, they just work long. They seem to toil for hours, but it's actually procrastinating.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Work get pay, no work go home. Extra work extra pay. Is it so hard.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

fxgai

I agree completely. Two-tier employment is the biggest problem. Maybe the introduction of AI will bring the change needed there. I don't see how any company can be expected to commit to employing people for forty years any more in such a changing environment.

Since there is a de facto shift to people working on contracts, it would be good to ensure that these are beneficial to workers and are actually enforced. The more people on contracts are abused, the more seishain will fear a shift to a system where everyone is on a contract.

Regarding the self sacrifice/martyrdom idea AgentX mentions, it is huge, but I wonder how much of it is innate Japanese culture and how much is social engineering that was ramped up at wartime and has been kept for convenience's sake ever since. Rather than being a reflection of society, I think Japanese schools are set up to a create a certain kind of citizen which then feeds back into what people think Japanese culture is.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

compared data measured using two different methods

Sort of like when someone brings a kid early to daycare, and then picks them up late.....and does not want to compensate for the extra hour daycare has watched the precious little brat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"After the reliability of the data came into doubt last week, he retracted that remark and apologized."

Ahem, to use Abe's own words: "It is pathetic. A deplorable excuse typical of Abe. It was as I expected."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Regarding the self sacrifice/martyrdom idea AgentX mentions, it is huge, but I wonder how much of it is innate Japanese culture and how much is social engineering that was ramped up at wartime and has been kept for convenience's sake ever since. Rather than being a reflection of society, I think Japanese schools are set up to a create a certain kind of citizen which then feeds back into what people think Japanese culture is.

Couldn't agree more! I think it is precisely the result of the type of social engineering you allude to. It's now been going on for so long that it's not even questioned anymore, not because people don't want to - but because people are too busy, tired and afraid of repercussions to question it. It's self-policed. Further, the Japanese just don't have the 'social tooling' needed to combat the government - even when it shows such contempt for its people as in the article above.

As for schools here, they are not about education so much as they are about indoctrination. And so with each generation the cycle becomes more entrenched. Positive change will never come from within in Japan. And if you ask me, these are not only domestic labor rights issues, they are basic human rights issues.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Under the U.S. OT rules, there are a number of exceptions for management, professionals, agriculture, police, firemen, etc. Generally though, working more than 40 per week or 8 hours a day is OT and should be paid OT rates.

From the description of the rule in Japan, it seems like a major hole in the rule if a company can just say that they are paying a salary that includes OT, and the company can then work the employee beyond a set number of days/hours.

The rules should require OT pay if the total hours exceed some standard hours per work day, e.g., an 8 hour day with some exceptions for people who get bonuses tied to profits, etc. Even those exceptions should be rational and tied back to a OT rate. For example, bonuses tied to profits should compensate someone more than OT rates. It is the only way to keep a company honest.

I agree with some of the comments that there is a culture in Japan of being at work regardless of whether there is work to do, probably especially if there is no work to do because maybe you are not needed and your job is at risk. Some companies are trying to change that culture by adopting a work/life balance culture, but it isn't easy to change culture even at large international companies in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is it so hard to track employees hours? After 40hrs get paid for it? Perhaps a computer might help? If you work get paid, or do it out of Love that's not returned. It's a Japanese marriage looks count more than substance.

Last time Shinzo dabbled with work place laws he increased the OT to 100 hours so expect nothing but a lashing mmmm a lashing. Can not get my shirt off fast enough for another lashing. Please sir may I have another?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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