Voices
in
Japan

poll

Should commuting to your workplace count as work time?

44 Comments
© Japan Today

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

44 Comments
Login to comment

absolutely, BUT not holding my breath.

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

That would be nice. I'd move a lot further away from work, arrive later and leave earlier, and still get my '40 hours.' Let's make it happen.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

After several years of waking up at 5:30 to make a two-hour commute to my office, in order that my manager could observe what his team was working on and find fault with it, then a two- hour commute back so I could eat my dinner at 10 pm, I was in a way very grateful to have the pandemic prove that commuting was unnecessary.

If my employer wants me there, he/she/it can pay me for the 20 hours a week I would have to spend on packed trains to get there.

Otherwise, I will work for a rational employer whose prime motive is to give pointless middle managers the kabuki role of being seen to stand over and criticise people who are perfectly capable of working unsupervised.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

I honestly don't care because this can be abused in certain scenarios and everyone would just move 3 hours away. I'd rather have shorter working hours.

But one thing is for sure, having the ability to work remotely has allowed me to gain roughly 2 hours of time not commuting to do things that benefit my own health like going to the gym and still be able to get all other aspects like cooking, cleaning, bathing done in the same day. I also feel a lot sharper having proper sleep and getting the exercise I need in the morning. Very grateful to have the ability to work either way.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

If my employer wants me there, he/she/it can pay me for the 20 hours a week I would have to spend on packed trains to get there.

It's not your manager's fault where you choose to live. Move closer.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Does receiving a travel expense for gasoline count? If not, then I consider myself fortunate to get anything at all.

S

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seriously - People voting 'Yes'. You'd never get a job with me with those ridiculous demands. Nor would this job allow you to do this. It's open to abuse of the wildest order WHATEVER the job. If you want to live hours away, rent a place in town for Monday To Thursday, I know many people in my line of work that do just that.

People who only want to work their 38 or 40 hours in my opinion lack any kind of drive or ambition anyway, and then have the cheek to say that salaries are low here.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

No, the business reimburses costs through a generous travel allowance, accompanied with work from home, flexi hours where applicable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Of course not, you are not given a contract and wages for sitting in a train playing with your smartphone. Also quite some people have tax deductions or helping with commuting costs by the employer, so you would in fact have kind of a double income for doing nothing job related which would be paradox. In rare cases commuting could be counted as working time, for example when you sit in a Shinkansen and design a webpage or write a computer program on your notebook computer or make some phone calls selling an insurance or ordering some parts for your company from a seller etc. Such work while commuting could of course counted job related and then also should be counted as working time and fully paid.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Can you imagine the time and resource required to calculate and then create a system of compensation related to the differentials associated with work-time and travel. Then combining the two/too.

Travelling to work bears no relation to business related time spent identifying products and services related business plans and models.

Nothing at all.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If you choose to live 2hours away from your place of work....that is your choice.

No, your employer should not pay.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

People who only want to work their 38 or 40 hours in my opinion lack any kind of drive or ambition anyway, and then have the cheek to say that salaries are low here.

Salaries are seriously low though. Whenever any company here sends me an offer and includes their annual salary range I just send back a mail with "thanks, for that amount you can get me for 16h a week. With salary ceilings set so low in Japan I can never understand people putting so much extra time in, the return they can get on it is basically already set.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Oh definitely a YES. But in Japan unlike the US we get commuter allowance in addition so its paid commute from the company. It would be nice if we can get paid for the commuting hours or leaving work an hour earlier to compensate for the time spent commuting.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I would say yes if one lived with in one hours time one way! If a person lives 1.5 or more hours from where they live then its there choice, because they could live closer.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Work should be merit based, no one really cares how long you spent doing it. The merit can be coverage that isn't called upon. So if that is true than you can't be paid for commuting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@JRO: Investigate changing your field of work then in all fairness.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No way! Just think about it. If a person is doing their 38-40 hours a week on a job their travel time would be overtime. If you commute an hour each way every day that is ten hours a week overtime. Commodity prices would skyrocket and companies would go broke.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You are employed to work...if you want to be paid to ride a train, get a job with JR. They will pay you to do it all day.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Some companies order their employees to drive all over the prefectures in which they live and this can take hours, so, yeah, this should be included.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Once you're on the trains to and from, yes. You can easily track rides, so those should count, as should long car rides, and bike repairs or what have you should be covered if it can be proven you use them for work. As for walking or the time from stations to home, not so much. Why should a company have to pay for Jiro to stop by the izakaya on his way home to have a few drinks, or for a person to sit in the park and enjoy the flowers or what have you en route to home or to the station? But for those gruelling two-hour commutes (one way at that!) and what have you, absolutely!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I think all forms of expenses inucred traveling too and from work or on business trips for employees should be paid by the employer and be counted as work time because your spending your time physically going to your place of work.

I pay myself because I meet clients often in the Kansai region for my own business and I can take it off as an expense on my 確定申告 kakuteshinkoku which is Japanese tax form.

Also the dreaded 残業zangyo or what I called slave time when I worked as an employee. This is often unpaid time by the employer. This needs to be regulated but this will never happen due to the 昭和showa mentality of the 親父自民党LDP. The zangyo issue needs to be addressed if they really want to improve the birth rate in Japan and the over all preformance of an employee. Any working after your shift is done should be heavily regulated with higher pay twice the rate of your normal working pay or NO ZANGYO! This really needs to be addressed to really improve the working life, family life, and health and mentality of a worker. If a healthy work life balance is developed in Japan, I believe you will see an increase in productive and inovation in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@藤原

I admire your stand - but you are very much living in the wrong country (however much you love it), if you think any of this will come to fruition in your lifetime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

no, unless you live less than 15 minutes away and take the commute as your morning and afternoon “break”.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@JRO: Investigate changing your field of work then in all fairness.

No I'm fine, I'm just not doing business with Japanese companies.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As a business owner allow me comment.

When I took over the tool/die business from the FIL many of the office staff had two demands: Train passes and clothing allowance. Odd thing, the shop staff had no demands at all.

I told the office staff I will give you all a 5% raise for train fare, and I see the point on clothing, so let's dump the formal wear and go to casual. They got shocked, "But as office staff we ought to dress like this." So I said, want to go casual I will have a polo with the company name on it, and give each of you three, but if you want to stay formal you burden the cost.

To this day no office staff took me up on it. But those polos went to the shop staff. They all accepted the 5% raise for travel costs though. Office staff are pampered and entitled. The blue collar chaps are grateful just to have a job. Go figure.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thanks Bill. Interesting comment.

I don't think people should be paid for time spent commuting because they won't be working. You can also make a strong case for commuting expenses to not be paid either. Travel expenses for my father in the UK were from the workplace to a job sites he went to, not from home to work. I find it weird for people to refer for commuting expenses as "travel money". It's not the company's problem where you choose to live.

The office job I did in Osaka had an office junior who came from a distant part of Kyoto. Her train pass was over 50,000 yen a month, about a third extra on top of what she was paid.

On workers' rights however, any work people do outside office hours, answering emails or the like, should be paid. If you work in customer services, there will be massive pressure now to reply to customers 24/7. Renumeration must recognize this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I got travel expenses covered when working in eikaiwas and as an ALT,so cycled.

Saved money ,and got to work when public transport or roads shut due to typhoons or snow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a stupid question. People choose where they live. Why should one employee who commutes 3 hours get paid more than the employee who commutes 30 minutes?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course if you have a 3 hour commute then that's on you, but a company having their office in Roppongi for example shouldn't be paying people 400万 a year and think that their employees can have a family and live 10min away. I'd say if you place your office in such a spot and still pay close to minimum wage then you can pay for up to an hour extra for the commute.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

LOL... yeah and once you start counting the commute what comes next, breakfast before you leave? The other thing... employers will just adjust hourly wages lower to make up for the cost of paying for the commute. Bottom line, you'll still be making the same once it ripples through over time.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I've gone from a 3 hour commute to a 30 minute commute in near on 30 years of working here. The 3 hour commute time was spent napping and studying. It helped get me through my Masters program. Now, my 30 minute commute is strictly for napping and listening to my podcasts. I don't expect that commuting tine will ever be paid but at least they pay for my commuter pass that I can use to save money on weekends and holidays. Works for me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That would be nice. I'd move a lot further away from work, arrive later and leave earlier, and still get my '40 hours.' Let's make it happen.

No joke. I knew a guy who would have done just that, if possible, AND demand a fully-paid commutation pass to boot. His work day would have been hardly more than a turn-around at Shinjuku Station.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Should commuting to your workplace count as work time?

If you apply for the job initially, no. They shouldn't.

But if the transfer you, as they generally do, without your wanting to, then yes. They should.

You could have the nicest and coziest house, just a few minutes from the office.

Then they suddenly transfer you out to the sticks and you have to take a one hour train both ways, they most definitely should either shorten your hours or pay you for that time.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What are you doing on that train that adds value to the company you work for?

What a stupid question. People choose where they live

The astro-turfed corporate shillery on this poll is almost painful to read .

For those who opined that commuting must add value to corporations besides, commuting, this is a rationale for the collapse of late stage capitalism.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No unless your doing work on the train.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Any time over 30 minutes should be classed as work time.

Unfortunately some would abuse such a system by having breakfast on the way to work, extending the time it takes from leaving home and deducting it from work time. Perhaps tracking mobile phones to ensure non abuse for the first week or so to get an average time to work to calculate a fair traveling time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For those who opined that commuting must add value to corporations besides, commuting, this is a rationale for the collapse of late stage capitalism.

Err, no.

Companies should pay living wages and workers should spend them as they see fit.

It is unfair for Worker A who lives nearby (by paying a higher rent/mortgage) to be left with less money in their hand than Worker B who lives miles away, pays a lower rent/mortgage, and gets a company-paid train pass costing 50,000 yen a month.

The current system rewards Worker B. Given that over 50% of bus routes in Japan lose money and are subsidized by the taxpayer, its actually better to have more Worker As. The "15 minute city" environmental idea is about people moving less, not more. In the worst case, suburban USA, vast resources are wasted by folks driving everywhere. It is also very bad for their physical and mental health.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aly Rustom

absolutely, BUT not holding my breath

I tend to agree but:

fatrainfallingintheforest

That would be nice. I'd move a lot further away from work, arrive later and leave earlier, and still get my '40 hours

Is the reason why it will never happen.

JRO

Of course if you have a 3 hour commute then that's on you, but a company having their office in Roppongi for example shouldn't be paying people 400万 a year and think that their employees can have a family and live 10min away. I'd say if you place your office in such a spot and still pay close to minimum wage then you can pay for up to an hour extra for the commute

Valid point, true in most major cities. If it is too expensive to live close to work, it is irrational to expect it. From a company point of view they would be hard pushed to be able to recruit just from the labour pool within easy journey time so accessing a larger pool is to their advantage, but there is lnevitably a cost to that.

If a large proportion of your staff have to travel 2 hours each way, perhaps it is time to move your offices and probably save a fortune on property costs!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@shogun36 has it right:

Then they suddenly transfer you out to the sticks and you have to take a one hour train both ways, they most definitely should either shorten your hours or pay you for that time.

Everybody is saying "you choose where you live", but in fact you don't choose where you work. You can get a job in the middle of the city (say Roppongi), move to within walking distance at tremendous expense so you don't have a long commute... and then at any time your company can have you work in some other office out in Saitama or Kanagawa that the company deems to be within an acceptable commuting distance, and you don't get a choice in the matter. The vastness of the Tokyo shutoken makes this a huge problem.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is there any country in the world that has that in place ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

YES

°

First, if you analyse the commuting time, you realise director don’t have any in comparaison to the main labor. There can be local people free to hire and they don’t because this is a bit more expansive than to hire people from a place where the salary is less expansive because the life cost is lesser too. So the competition is a bit illegal. Commenting hour payment solve the problem.

-

Globally rich first stay together and never goes where they hire their main workers load. This is why we pay commenting hour and those commuting time are considered like work time if you have an accident travelling it.

°

NadAge

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Depending on what the workers do for. If things they do for their business during commute, times for their work need to be counted as a working time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites