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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 January 14 - 20  > Labor ministry panel begins discussing zero-overtime payment system
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2015 January 14 - 20 TOP3 [LABOR]

Labor ministry panel begins discussing zero-overtime payment system

January 17, 2015
The Labor Ministry on January 16 at its Labor Policy Council sub-committee meeting proposed that a new system legalizing overtime without pay be created.

The proposal was made in relation to discussions on revision of the current work hour system which has been taking place in the tripartite sub-committee composed of representatives of labor, management, and so-called labor experts.

According to the ministry, the proposed system will apply to white-collar workers earning at least 10.75 million yen a year whose jobs are categorized as highly professional, such as financial product development, consulting, and research and development or whose job duties are considered to be difficult to make a job evaluation based on number of hours worked. They will be excluded from work hour regulations.

In the proposal, the ministry stated that a list of job categories and job duties as well as workers’ income levels will be specified by a ministerial ordinance, which means that the range of workers covered by the no-overtime-payment system could easily be expanded.

The ministry is intending to finalize the proposal by the end of this month.

Criticizing the ministry for proposing a system that will inevitably lead to more deaths from overwork (karoshi), two of Japan’s three national trade union centers, the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo), jointly held a protest rally during the sub-committee meeting in front of the ministry office building.

Using a microphone, Zenroren President Odagawa Yoshikazu said, “What the labor ministry should do is to keep the 8-hour day principle through the enforcement of various measures, including a tighter restriction on overtime.

Another national trade union center, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), also staged a protest before the Zenroren and Zenrokyo rallies were held.

Rengo President Koga Nobuaki expressed his determination to oppose the ministry’s move to weaken the legal protection of workers.

Past related articles:
> Give up introducing ‘zero-overtime-pay’ system [September 18, 2014]
> Labor-related ministers agree to no-overtime-pay system [June 12, 2014]
> Business world wants a no-overtime-pay system, inviting more stress-related deaths [April 23 and 24, 2014]
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