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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 3 - 9  > More than 2K university hospital doctors working without pay
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2019 July 3 - 9 [LABOR]

More than 2K university hospital doctors working without pay

July 4, 2019

A survey the labor ministry recently released shows that 2,191 out of 31,801 physicians and dentists at university hospitals in Japan have been working without pay.

As 1,304 university hospital doctors are still being surveyed, the number will most likely increase even more.

They are mostly graduate students working ostensibly for self-improvement or for research purposes, but they actually do work that deserves to be paid. Many of them do not sign job contracts and are not covered by workmen's accident insurance.

Ueyama Naoto of a labor union of doctors said, "I'm shocked and angry to know that illegal practices have been taking place at hospitals where people's lives should be protected. It is necessary to fully uncover the situation."

Because of the absence of employment contracts, their working hours are not controlled and the locus of responsibility in the case of a medical accident will be vague, leading to impairing patients' rights.

Ueyama pointed out that many unpaid doctors hesitate to complain about no-pay work out of fear of suffering disadvantages in qualification exams and assignments of posts.

Ueyama said that the government should immediately instruct hospitals to conclude employment contracts with these doctors and pay them back wages. He added that the government should also determine their status and stipulate what they can and cannot do in the same way as it done for interns in order to end and prevent future unpaid work at hospitals.

Past related article:
> Physicians’ union: Labor Ministry proposes putting ceiling on doctors’ overtime which exceeds official gov’t-set danger line for ‘karoshi’ [January, 18, 2019]

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