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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 April 26 - May 9  > New law not enough to protect freelancers’ labor rights
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2023 April 26 - May 9 [LABOR]

New law not enough to protect freelancers’ labor rights

May 8, 2023

Akahata editorial (gist)

A bill aimed at improving the level of protection for freelancers was unanimously approved and enacted at the House of Councilors plenary session on April 28. The Japanese Communist Party has repeatedly urged the government to take measures to protect the labor rights of freelancers.

The government estimates that at least 4.62 million people in 2020 worked as freelancers.

Freelance workers perform work for companies on a contract basis and are categorized as self-employed. They are, however, for the most part working under client companies’ direction and supervision, which is normally recognized as an employer-employee relationship. Therefore, they should be included in labor protections, such as work hour regulations, the application of minimum wages and workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and the right to organize and strike.

In Europe, more and more countries are moving toward establishing a legal framework allowing freelance workers to exercise their rights under labor laws. In Spain, for example, a law recognizing freelance deliverers as “workers” having an employment status was established in 2021.

The EU Parliament is discussing a bill to improve the working conditions of platform workers. Under the bill, platform workers who have no right to determine their wages will be presumed to be “employees” and covered by labor law protections.

Japan should catch up with this trend in regard to the protection of freelance workers.

Past related article:
> Zenroren holds rally to demand application of labor protection measures to freelance workers [February 17, 2022]

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