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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 8 - 14  > Record high of 44.6 billion yen paid in back pay for overtime in 2017
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2018 August 8 - 14 [LABOR]

Record high of 44.6 billion yen paid in back pay for overtime in 2017

August 12, 2018
A record high of 44.6 billion yen was paid to workers in back pay for overtime in 2017, up 32 billion yen from the previous year, according to Labor Ministry calculations.

The number of companies which were instructed by the ministry to rectify overtime work without extra pay increased by 521 to 1,870 compared to 2016. Accordingly, 205,235 workers, 107,257 more workers than the previous year, recovered their unpaid wages.

In 2017, Japan’s largest door-to-door delivery service provider Yamato Holdings Co., was noted as a prime example of overtime pay violations.

Yamato’s wage theft was revealed by two delivery truck drivers. Seeking advice on excessively long working hours and unpaid overtime at Yamato, they visited the Kanagawa local of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren). With the help of the union, the two drivers filed a complaint against Yamato with a local labor standards inspection office.

On January 31, 2017 at a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting, Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Tamura Tomoko urged the government to properly deal with illegal labor practices at Yamato. Pushed by Tamura, Prime Minister Abe promised to investigate the delivery service company. Two days later, Yamato set up a department section to work on “work style reform”. The delivery service company ended up paying 23 billion yen in back pay for overtime to workers working not only at its head office but also at all its subsidiaries.

The JCP since 1976 has brought up the issue of unpaid overtime more than 300 times in the Diet. This extended effort led to a Labor Ministry notification issued on April 6, 2001 requiring corporations to eliminate unpaid overtime work. In addition, the ministry began releasing the results of efforts to redress the issue of overtime without pay.

Past related articles:
> 1,349 corporations paid 12.7 billion yen in back pay for overtime in 2016 [December 22, 2017]
> Yamato transport decides to pay unpaid overtime to 70,000 workers [March 5, 2017]
> Labor bureau instructs major delivery company to stop wage theft [November 17, 2016]

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