Japan – Prime minister seeks to help temporary workers

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By memberservices@staffingindustry.com (Adam Pode, CCWP)

After limited success in convincing companies to raise wages, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has turned to improving the treatment of the nation’s legion of temporary employees, who make up more than a third of the workforce, Bloomberg reports. Full-time, non-regular workers earn more than a third less than their permanent counterparts while the pay gap in hourly wages for part-timers is even bigger. Non-regular employees also receive fewer benefits. Abe plans to fix those inequities by requiring companies to treat non-regular workers as well as permanent employees.

Many commentators believe that Japan needs to overhaul its labor market by reducing the strong protections enjoyed by permanent workers, however, Prime Minister Abe is, instead, seeking to extend these generous protections to all categories of workers. The Japanese government published draft guidelines in December calling for a revision of labor laws that allowed “equal pay for equal work,” including comparable bonuses. The government also believes employers should offer non-regular workers benefits that are more normally afforded to permanent employees such as commuting allowances, bereavement leave, overtime pay, late-night and holiday work allowances, as well as holidays and the use of facilities such as company cafeterias.

The new guidelines have no legally binding power over employees and still need to be turned into legislative action. One outstanding question is that the guideline does not provide objective criteria to determine each worker’s skills, experience or performance.

During his tenure of office, the pro-business Abe has opened up the Japanese economy to more contingent forms of flexible work. His reforms in 2015 ended a number of restrictions on the use of temporary workers.

Source:: Staffing Industry Analysts Daily Newsfeed


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