60 percent of women public workers are concerned for health

A union survey has found that about 60 percent of women government workers are concerned for their health, an indication that their working conditions have worsened since the Legal Protective Provisions for Women Workers was abolished in 1999.

The Japan Federation of National Public Service Employees' Unions surveyed about 6,300 female and 2,300 male government workers last November and December. This is the first survey the union conducted after the abolition of the legal protective provisions.

17.6 percent of the women respondents said that they did not have any overtime work last October, down 8.9 points from the previous survey five years ago.

Women who have worked overtime more than 80 hours in a month accounted for 3.2 percent, which is three times larger than the previous survey (1.1 percent). About 32.6 percent had overtime work without being paid.

Women workers who are worried about their health accounted for about 60 percent. 66.5 percent of the women, 13.1 points more than the men respondents, said they had to go to work even they do not feel well.

About 60 percent of women said they suffer from an irregular menstrual cycle. 79.5%, up about 9 points from the previous survey, said they cannot take menstrual leave.

Abe Harue, secretary general of the union's women council, pointed out that abolition of the Legal Protective Provisions for Women Workers and cuts in the workforce under the Koizumi Cabinet's "administrative reform" have forced women into longer-hours of work like men. Women in this situation cannot keep working while taking care of their family at the same time, Abe said. (end)