Labor Standard Law Japan〔水野健司特許法律事務所〕

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Labor Standard Law Japan
Despite Japan’s reluctance to accept foreign workers, Japan’s Labor Ministry has reported a record number of foreign workers which shows country’s increasingly turning to people overseas to provide for its labor shortages.
With the increasing number of foreign workers in Japan, it is important that each of them have enough knowledge on labor laws that will protect them while they are working in Japan. Country’s Labor Standard Law also applies to foreign workers.
Labor Standards Act is a Japanese law enacted on 7th of April 1947 to govern working conditions in Japan. According to Article 1 of the Act, its goal is to ensure that “Working Conditions shall be those which should meet the needs of workers live lives worthy of human beings.”
In Japan, the following laws and regulations related to labor standards apply (extract):
  1. Determination of Working Conditions (Article 2)
Working Condition should be determined by the workers and employers on an equal basis. The workers and employers shall abide by collective agreements, rules of employment and labor contracts, and shall discharge their respective duties faithfully.
  1. Equal Treatment (Article 3)
An employer shall not engage in discriminatory treatment with respect to wages, working hours, or other working conditions by reason of the nationality. Creed, or social status of any worker.
  1. Equal Wages for Men and Women (Article 4)
An employer shall not engage in discriminatory treatment of a woman as compared with a man with respect to wages by reason of the worker being a woman.
  1. Forced Labor (Article 5)
It is prohibited to force workers to work against their will by means of unfair restraint on their mental or physical freedom.
  1. Intermediate Exploitation (Article 6)
Unless permitted by act, no person shall obtain profit by intervening, as a business, in the employment of others.
  1. Guarantee of the Exercise of Civil Rights (Article 7)
An employer shall not refuse when a worker requests time necessary to exercise franchise and other civil rights or to perform public duties during working hours; provided, however, that the employer may change the time requester by the worker to the extent that such change does not hinder the exercise of the right or the performance of the public duty.
  1. Contracts Violating the Labor Standards Act (Article 13)
A labor contract which provides for working conditions which do not meet the standards of the Labor Standard Act shall be invalid with respect to such portions. In such a case, the invalid portions shall be governed by the standards as specified in said Act.
  1. Period of Contract (Article 14)
Labor contracts, excluding those without a definite period, and excepting those providing that the period shall be the period necessary for completion of a specified project, shall not be concluded for a period exceeding 3 years (or 5 years with respect to labor contracts that fall under any of the following items.)
  1. Labor contracts concluded with workers who have expert knowledge, skills, or experience, that expert knowledge, etc., being of an advanced level and coming under the standards prescribed by the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare.
  2. Labor contracts concluded with workers aged 60 years or older.
  1. Clear Indication of Working Conditions (Article 15)
In concluding a labor contract. The employer shall clearly indicate the following matters by issuing a notice of working conditions to the workers:
  1. Period of the labor contract
  2. The standard in case of renewing a labor contract with a definite period
  3. Workplace and work in which workers are to be engaged
  4. Working hours
  5. Wages
  6. Matters related to retirement
  7. Matters concerning increase in wages
  8. Special wages, expenses for food, dormitory, etc. to be borne by the workers, matters concerning compensation for industrial accidents, vocational training, commendation and sanction, administrative leave, etc., matters concerning travel expenses.
  1. Ban on Predetermined Compensation (Article 16)
An employer shall not make a contract which fixes in advance either a sum payable to the employer for breach of contract or an amount of compensation for damages.
  1. Compulsory Savings (Article 18)
An employer shall not require a contract for savings or make a contract to take charge of savings incidental to the labor contract.
  1. Restriction on Dismissal of Workers (Article 19)
An employer shall not dismiss a worker during a period of rest for medical treatment with respect to injuries or illness suffered in the course of duty nor within 30 days thereafter, and shall not discharge a woman during a period of rest before and after childbirth nor within 30 days thereafter.
  1. Notice of Dismissal
Article 20 states that in the event that an employer wishes to dismiss a worker, the employer shall provide at least 30 days advance notice. An employer who does not give 30 days advance notice shall pay the average wages for a period of not less than 30 days; provided, however, that this hall not apply in the event that the continuance of the enterprise has been made impossible by a natural disaster or other unavoidable reason nor when the worker is dismissed for reasons attributable to the worker.
Article 21 the provisions of the preceding article shall not apply to any worker coming under one of the following items; provided, however, that this shall not be the case with respect to a worker coming under item (i) who has been employed consecutively for more than one month, a worker coming under either item (ii) or item (iii) who has been employed consecutively for more than the period set forth in each such item respectively, nor a worker coming under item (iv) who has been employed for more than 14 days:
  1. Workers who are employed on daily basis;
  2. Workers who are employed for a fixed period not longer than 2 months;
  3. Workers who are employed in seasonal work for fixed period not longer than 4 months;
  4. Workers in a probationary period.
  1. Certificate on Retirement (Article 22)
When a worker, upon leaving employment, requests a certificate stating the following matters, the employer shall deliver one without delay. Furthermore, a worker who has received prior notice of his dismissal may request a certificate stating the reason for dismissal. In this case, the employer shall issue said certificate without delay, even if the worker’s request is made prior to dismissal. However, the employer shall not include in the certificate any matters that the worker does not request.
  1. Period of employment
  2. Kind of occupation
  3. Position in the enterprise
  4. Wages
  5. Cause of retirement
  1. Return of Money and Goods (Article 23)
Upon worker’s death or retirement, in the event of a request by one having the right thereto, the employer shall pay the wages and return the reserve funds, security deposits, savings, and any other money and goods to which the worker is rightfully entitled, regardless of the name by which such money and goods may be called, within 7 days.
  1. Payment of Wages (Article 24)
Wages shall be paid in currency and in full directly to the workers; partial deduction from wages may be permitted in cases otherwise provided for by laws and regulations or in cases where there exists a written agreement with a labor union organized by much of the workers at the workplace. Wages shall be paid at least once a month at a definite date.
  1. Allowance for Absence from Work (Article 26)
In the event of an absence from work for reasons attributable to the employer, the employer shall pay the worker an allowance for absence from work equal to at least 60 percent of the worker’s average wage to each worker concerned during the period of absence from work.
  1.  Guaranteed Payment at Piece Rates (Article 27)
With respect to workers employed under a payment at piece work system or other subcontracting system, the employer shall guarantee a fixed amount of wage proportionate to working hours.
  1. Minimum Wages (Article 28)
Minimum standards for wages shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act (Act No. 137 of 1959)
  1. Working Hours (Article 32)
An employer shall not have a worker more than 40 hours per week, excluding rest periods. An employer shall not have a worker work more than 8 hours per day each day of the week, excluding rest periods.
  1. Day Off (Article 35)
An employer shall provide workers with at least one day off per week. 
Mizuno Kenji Patent and Law’s attorney is dedicated to handling civil litigation cases involving unfair labor practices against employees. If you suspect that you may have a potential labor or employment case, talk to us at: 052-218-6790. W offer free initial consultation.
English Translation of Labor Standards Act:
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