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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 April 1 - 7  > Abe to allow overtime without pay while introducing law to prevent death from overwork
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2015 April 1 - 7 [LABOR]

Abe to allow overtime without pay while introducing law to prevent death from overwork

April 4&7, 2015
The Abe Cabinet on April 3 tabled in the Diet a bill to revise the Labor Standards Act to justify excessive long working hours without pay despite the enactment of the law on prevention of death from overwork (karoshi) last year.

The bill proposes the so-called “zero-overtime-payment” system under which white-collar workers who earn a salary of at least 10.75 million yen a year and engage in highly specialized job categories will be exempted from the 8-hour work day and the 40-hour work week regulations. They will also be excluded from entitlement to overtime pay as well as extra pay for working on public holidays and engaging in shiftwork.

The revised bill also indicates an increase in job categories for the existing “discretionary” work system which allows employers to pay wages for the previously agreed-upon working hours and not for actual hours of work. As the system lacks a minimum income threshold, it can be applied to a wider range of workers than the proposed “white-collar exemption” system.

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) on the same day published a statement demanding withdrawal of the bill.

Just three days after the government proposal to introduce the “zero-overtime-payment” system, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) President Sakakibara Sadayuki at a press conference demanded that the categories of workers included in the system be expanded.

Past related articles:
> Zenroren in day-long action protests against introduction of ‘zero-overtime-payment’ system [March 5, 2015]
> Shii: Amount of overtime per worker in Japan 8 times more than in Netherlands [February 21, 2015]
> Labor ministry panel begins discussing zero-overtime payment system [January 17, 2015]
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