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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 November 18 - 24  > Opposition-drafted bill for equal treatment of non-regular workers should be discussed without delay
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2020 November 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

Opposition-drafted bill for equal treatment of non-regular workers should be discussed without delay

November 19, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Seeking to eliminate the differential treatment of regular and non-regular workers, the Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, and the Social Democratic Party on November 13 jointly submitted to the House of Representatives a bill to revise the Act on Improvement of Personnel Management and Conversion of Employment Status for Part-Time Workers and Fixed-Term Workers. The opposition parties proposed the bill in reaction to two Supreme Court rulings which were issued on October 13. The two court decisions unjustly recognized no bonuses and retirement allowances for non-regular workers as reasonable. Non-regular workers now represent nearly 40% of the total Japanese workforce. Among female workers, more than 50% work non-regular jobs. Non-regular employees earn roughly 70% less than regular employees. Such a huge wage gap should be eliminated immediately.

The opposition party-drafted bill calls for changing the current law to one banning unequal treatment of regular/non-regular workers. This aims to prevent any justification of discriminatory treatment of non-regular workers and protect their right to equal treatment.

The bill will remove the current provision explaining differences in treatment between regular and non-regular works in terms of job transfers and job assignments. This is because this provision is often used to justify discrimination against non-regular workers by claiming that unlike non-regular employees, regular employees may receive an order for job relocations and job transfers.

Regarding bonuses and retirement allowances, the bill prohibits unreasonable discrimination and states that if this money is paid as a kind of deferred compensation and incentive for long-term service, they should be paid equally to non-regular workers in accordance with their jobs and the period of their service.

In addition, the bill strictly requires an employer to response to requests for explanations by part-time and fixed-time workers regarding the reason why differences between regular and non-regular workers are legally reasonable and the reason why non-regular workers receive unequal treatment in terms of job training, wages, and other working conditions and benefits.

The bill also proposes that a reduction in regular/non-regular disparities contribute to improving all workers’ working conditions, and states that this should be included in a basic principle of the law as well as in a provision stipulating employers’ efforts.

In order to enable non-regular workers to work with hope of realizing the “equal pay for work of equal value” principle and equal treatment of all workers, it is necessary to establish a legal system that prevents court decisions that side with employers.

The opposition parties jointly introduced the bill with the aim of making the current law more effective. It should be discussed and enacted without delay.

Past related article:
> Supreme Court OKs unequal treatment of regular and non-regular workers [October 14, 2020]
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