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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 25 - October 1  > Overtime work violations found in 40% of inspected firms
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2019 September 25 - October 1 [LABOR]

Overtime work violations found in 40% of inspected firms

September 27, 2019
About 40% of workplaces, which were inspected in 2018 for illegal labor practices, imposed on their workers excessively long working hours in violation of established rules, the Labor Ministry announced on September 24.

Among 12,000 business establishments with working time violations, about 67% forced their workers to work overtime for more than 80 hours a month, the government-set danger line for death from overwork, and 44% forced on workers more than 100 hours of overtime per month. Furthermore, about 2% of workplaces imposed on workers overtime work exceeding 200 hours a month.

In one case, eight workers were forced to do extra work beyond the 100-hour monthly limit set under their company’s labor-management agreement based on Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act (the so-called 36 agreement). The number of monthly overtime hours they worked sometimes reached 170.

In another case where seven workers were required to work in excess of 100 hours a month under their company’s “36 agreement”, it was revealed that the agreement was concluded in a questionable manner. The Labor Standards Act requires employers to make a “36 agreement” with democratically elected labor representatives. However, at this workplace, those in managerial positions acted as labor representatives and signed the agreement on overtime.

Along with 36 agreement-related cases, cases of unpaid overwork and of failure to implement measures to protect workers from overwork-induced illnesses accounted for 6.4% and 12.1% of the 12,000 firms, respectively.

In the results of the ministry inspection in 2017, about 45% (more than 10,000) of inspected business sites exploited workers in violation of work-hour regulations.

Past related articles:
> Violations of work hour rules by transportation firms increase for fourth year in row [August 12, 2019]
> 69% of inspected workplaces in Tokyo area found to violate labor law [June 27, 2019]
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