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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 30 - June 5  > Top court recognizes gaps between regular and non-regular workers as illegal
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2018 May 30 - June 5 TOP3 [LABOR]

Top court recognizes gaps between regular and non-regular workers as illegal

June 2, 2018
June 2, 2018

The Supreme Court on June 1 in two lawsuits issued rulings that the nonpayment of fringe benefits to contingent workers violates Article 20 of the Labor Contract Act banning “unreasonable differences” between regular and non-regular workers. This is the first time that the top court made a judgement of this kind.

One of the two lawsuits was filed by a male contract worker at a logistics company, Hamakyorex Co., Ltd (Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Pref.). The plaintiff in the lawsuit argued that it is illegal that the company does not pay allowances to non-regular workers doing the same work as regular workers.

In the ruling, the top court’s Second Petty Bench upheld the July 2017 Osaka High Court decision ordering the company to pay four allowances, including transportation expenses. The Second Petty Bench also recognized that the plaintiff’s demand to be paid the perfect attendance allowance is legitimate.

The plaintiff’s lawyer Nakajima Mitsutaka welcomed the ruling saying that this will help narrow the gap between regular and non-regular workers.

Another suit was brought by three truck drivers at a Yokohama-based transport company, Nagasawa-Unyu. In their court battle, the three plaintiffs, who were reemployed after reaching mandatory retirement age, claimed that in addition to nonpayment of allowances, their wages were unilaterally reduced although they were assigned to the same tasks as they performed previously. The Supreme Court Second Petty Bench judged that nonpayment of allowances is illegal, but wage gaps between regular workers and reemployed "retired" workers is reasonable.

Lawyer Miyazato Kunio, the counsel for the plaintiffs, said, “The Supreme Court acknowledged the illegality of unequal treatment of rehired retirees in light of Article 20 of the Labor Contract Act. However, the top court judgement left pay cuts untouched.”

Past related article:
> Pay cuts for reemployed workers are illegal: district court [May 16, 2016]
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