Labor Update Bulletin #26 (01/2018)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #25 (01/2018)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #24 (12/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #23 (12/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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"What Can I Do To Prevent Contract Termination Penalties?"

sexual harassment"I am currently working for a company in Japan, but I must leave before the contract is over. I am concerned that my company is going to attempt to fine me or not give me my final salary before I leave the country.

What can I do to prevent this?"

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Labor Update Bulletin #22 (11/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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"Overtime Included In Salary"

In 2016, the Research Institute for the Advancement of Living Standards (RENGO-RIALS) found that some 38.2% of employees who worked overtime (in September of that year) were not actually paid for that work, averaging a total of 40.3 hours of unpaid overtime per person.

On a similar note, a former Bank of Japan official estimated that employees in Japan work an average of 200 hours of unpaid overtime per year, totalling around ¥440,000 of lost income per person (source).

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Danada Rin - The Labor Standards Inspector

Here's an interesting (Amusing? Inspiring?) Japanese series about a Labor Standards Office, now on YouTube with English subtitles.

While it's not quite the reality of what we see on a regular basis, the series apparently did inspire a sharp increase in job applicants for the Labor Standards Office.

(Hopefully it also inspired the LSO to enforce more cases with the arrest powers they hold, too.)

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Labor Update Bulletin #21 (11/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Dismissed? 30 Days Of Notice OR 30 Days Of Pay

We don't write about this subject quite so often anymore because most employers that the union deals with already know that if a company wants to (legally) dismiss someone, the employer must give the employee 30 days notice or 30 days of pay in lieu of notice.

It's a law we maybe should remind members of more often because it happened again just the other day...

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"Five-Year Rule": Questions From The Union To The Labor Ministry

Recently, the General Union spoke with representatives from the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labor (MHLW) in regards to the "Five-Year Limited-to-Unlimited Contract Conversion Rule" (henceforth referred to as the "five-year rule").

With employers reluctant to give limited-term workers the right to change to unlimited-term contracts, there are currently numerous cases across the country of employers attempting to limit (either retro- or pro-actively) the total length of employment that current and future employees will be able to maintain with the employer in question.

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Labor Update Bulletin #20 (10/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #19 (10/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #18 (10/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #17 (10/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #16 (09/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Health Care Card Changes For Transgender People

On August 31st, 2017, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare sent a notification to health insurance-related institutions telling them to allow transgender people to use their preferred name for their health insurance card.

Unfortunately, English versions of the neither the government notification nor the NHK article yet available (as of the time of writing).

Links to Japanese documents follow below.

Labor Update Bulletin #15 (08/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #14 (08/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Is A Mistake In A Labor Contract Legally Binding?

A few weeks ago, the General Union received an unusual query: the correction of one mistake in a labor contract had resulted in a new contract being issued.

However, the new contract had a different error of its own - one that put the employee's monthly salary at ¥50,000 higher than before.

Suffice to say, an extra ¥50,000 per month is quite an advantageous mistake!

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Labor Update Bulletin #12 (07/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #11 (07/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #10 (06/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Coming To Japan And Need To Drive? Make Sure You Don't Break The Law

If you're newly arrived and driving in Japan, it`s important to have the correct kind of license.

First, make sure you have a driver’s license from your own country. Be sure it doesn't expire soon or that is hasn't already expired!

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Labor Update Bulletin #9 (06/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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So, You're Being Evicted...

You thought that these kinds of things only happened to other people, but now it's happening to you: your company just decided to dismiss you without reason.

This alone would be bad news, but they're also demanding that you vacate the "company apartment" by the end of the week - and they're being very vocal about it!

They say that they can "legally" evict you, but do you really have to go?

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Labor Update Bulletin #8 (06/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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MEXT's 2018/2020 "New Course Of Study In Foreign Language Education" Plan

Continuing with its policy of "everything will work out in the end", the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is pushing ahead with its plan to overhaul the way that English is taught at elementary schools across the entire country.

Intended to be implemented between now and 2020, MEXT recently revealed how these changes to English will be implemented in its plan for a "Transition Towards The Smooth Implementation Of The New Course Of Study In Foreign Language Education" (外国語教育における新学習指導要領の円滑娱施に向けた移行指直).

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Labor Standards Law And Trade Union Law - How Are They Different?

David was working at a small Eikaiwa, full-time, 40 hours a week. He was told that he had to attend a summer barbecue on a Sunday afternoon. His employer insisted that he pay the fee for food like all of the students who were invited. When he asked whether he would received some compensation for his time, his employer responded that it was "required" that he attend since he was a full time employee. On top of his full week of teaching, David had to go to this event as well. He was not offered another day off in lieu of his extra day of work.

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Labor Update Bulletin #7 (06/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #6 (05/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #5 (05/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #4 (04/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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Labor Update Bulletin #3 (03/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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The "Five Year Cliff” vs. Article 19

In many companies and industries across Japan, contracts with wording such as "expires with fiscal year 2017” are quickly being penned with the aim of denying limited-term workers the chance to switch to unlimited-term employment in the spring of 2018.

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Labor Update Bulletin #2 (02/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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A Small Victory For LGBTQ Rights In The Workplace

It's fair to say that acceptance of LGBTQ rights in Japan have greatly progressed over the years, with even the Ministry of Education raising the issue with both the rights and equal treatment of LGBTQ students with schools.

However, while it can be said that Japan has never experienced the kind of homophobic attitudes that other cultures have, progress in the workplace remains slow.

Gay couples do not usually receive the same rights as their heterosexual peers, in part due to a lack of same-sex marriage equality.

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Labour Standards Law Q&A

Note: The General Union takes no responsibility for any problems you may encounter by using this information in your own disputes with your employer.

We have seen non-union members fired after talking about the law with their boss. It is far safer to join the union and negotiate with your company as an equal, rather than simply as an employee.

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Labor Update Bulletin #1 (01/2017)

This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

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"Knowing Is Half The Battle"

If you were a child of the 1980s, there's a good chance that you grew up with at least a passive awareness of Hasbro's ubiquitous G.I. Joe line of toys, comic books, trading cards, movies, and even a number of video games. There's also a good chance that you might be familiar with the iconic slogan of: "Knowing is half the battle."

When it comes to dealing with labor issues, the catchphrase of "knowing is half the battle" might be more applicable than you think.

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Benefits for Working Parents

Most people know that women are entitled to maternity leave prior to the birth of their child, and child care leave after the birth (child care leave is available for both parents). You might not know though that the law provides for other benefits to lighten the burden on parents.

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Of K-Mart, Unions, And How The Grass Isn't Always Greener On The Other Side

While you may not think it at times, when it comes to union protections and rights, we have it pretty good in Japan.

The following video was produced by K-MART in an effort to undermine the Teamster union (led by warehouse workers at the company's Newnan GA facility) from organizing. The (archived) video is full of misinformation and lies about unions. A copy was mailed to all workers in the bargaining unit days prior to their NLRB election.

Unfortunately, such activity is not illegal in the USA, and the same can be said for other countries, too...

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New Movement In Tohoku University's "Dismiss People Before The Labor Contract Act Revision Takes Effect" Plans

A while ago, the General Union reported on Tohoku University's plan to dismiss over three-thousand fixed-term employees in an effort to circumvent revisions to the Labor Contract Act that will force the University to improve its employment relationship with those who have worked at the University for five or more years.

Due to the incredible backlash and criticism from a coalition of unions in the area, Tohoku University has backpedalled on the issue somewhat, but the fight is still far from over...

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Is a Pokemon Go ban legal?

We recently received an interesting question.

Can a school ban a JET from playing Pokemon Go in their free time before and after school? This didn't happen to me but a friend.

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Accident Insurance, Bicycle Commutes, and You

Did you know that an accident during your bicycle commute to and from work or school is covered by ROSAI HOKEN?

Did you also know that some companies say that an accident during your bicycle commute to and from work or school is NOT covered by ROSAI HOKEN?

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A Guide To Privacy Laws In Japan

We've previously discussed privacy rights in regards to things like the "My Number" system, being recorded or photographed at work, drug testing, medical checks, and various other situations in which a person's right to privacy might be violated by an employer or other entity.

However, while you might be aware that you have a right to privacy, you might not know how the laws actually protect you.

To remedy that, let's take a look at the specific laws and acts that exist to protect your individual privacy rights.

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Bicycles, Insurance, and Laws (Oh My!)

On July 1st, 2016, in Osaka Prefecture, a new ordinance that requires all bicycle owners to have bicycle liability insurance came into effect. In addition, a lot of people might not know that, due to "a rise in the number of bicycle related fatalities, injuries, and accidents", a revision to the Japanese Road Traffic Law came into effect on June 1st, 2015.

If you've ever been unsure about bicycle laws, or if you've ever wondered if your bicycle adventures need insurance to prevent them from becoming costly misadventures, now is the time to look into things!

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Does Your Employer Have The Right To Record Video Of You?

Recently, a teacher working for Interac e-mailed the General Union in regards to the company's practice of recording video (and taking photos) of people during "ongoing training sessions", "observation lessons", and other occasions, without their prior consent. In addition, the teacher noted that even if people wanted to refuse, there is a clause in the employment contract which gives Interac the teacher's "understand[ing] and agree[ment]" to be recorded without permission.

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Paid Holidays: The Law vs Your Workplace

The July 24th (2016) edition of the Japan Times ("Questions About Paid Leave") provided a very good overview of the law covering paid leave (yūkyū kyūka). However, when taking this article into consideration, we must compare what the law guarantees versus the reality of your working environment.

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Berlitz Teacher Wins Court Case Against Japan Pension Service

On March 17th, 2016, at the District Court in Tokyo, an employee of Berlitz won a case against the Japan Pension Service for their decision (in 2008) to allow Berlitz to "kick [the employee] off" the Shakai Hoken system after his working hours dropped below thirty hours a week.

Berlitz had used the infamous "29.5 Hour Rule" as justification for their unethical practice, claiming that as the employee fell below the "30 Hour Threshold" he was no longer eligible for Shakai Hoken enrolment.

However, the "30 Hour Threshold" (and any claims that it is "the law") is nothing more than a myth - and the General Union recently proved this in court once and for all, paving the way for cases like this one to finally be considered seriously.

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