Government to remove regulations on working hours

As part of the government move toward lifting legal regulations on working hours, a Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry team on June 23 approved its final report proposing that provisions on working hours be removed from the Labor Standards Law. The government is expected to submit a bill to the next ordinary Diet session that will be convened in January.

The reason the report gives for proposing such deregulation is the need to "create diverse types of employment".

Akahata of June 24, however, warns that the proposed deregulation would destroy the 8-hour work day.

Although the report says that the deregulated system will be applied to those workers who opted for it, such workers will be excluded from legal protection concerning working hours, and they will be forced into unlimited hours of work. Their employers need not pay them for their overtime work, or oversee their working hours.

Amid the prevailing performance-based wage system, workers will find it very difficult to reject the new system by "not opting for it."

Akahata also said that the report says that those workers who do not opt for the new system and want limitation in their working hours and places of work will have to submit to lower wages or job insecurity.

Akahata criticized this as an exact copy of the request from the business sector and large corporations, in which workers are unreasonably forced to choose between long working hours and low wages.

Akahata said that corporations have the responsibility to correct their long working hours and unpaid overtime work, and the government is responsible for having corporations comply with existing labor laws. (end)

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