Employers, Bank Accounts, and You

"Can my employer order me to open a bank account in order to receive my salary?"

Many dispatch companies and eikaiwa often insist that their new employees and contractors open a specific account with a specific bank at a specific branch - on occasion, even going so far as to send a member of staff out with the new employee to oversee the process.

In some cases, this can be viewed as being beneficial to the employee.

For example: a person who is new to Japan (who can neither speak nor write Japanese) may find that having someone to help them with opening a new bank account is of tremendous help.

However, what about people who can open an account without assistance, who may not wish to use the specific bank that their company is instructing them to use?

What about people who have been in Japan for a while, and already have an existing bank account?

Can their company order them to open a new bank account?

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CAN A COMPANY ORDER YOU TO OPEN A NEW ACCOUNT?

In short, no, they cannot.

The law is clear: while a company may insist that an employee open a new bank account with a bank of the company's choosing, this is neither required nor actually allowed.

An individual has the right to decide which account their salary will be paid into.

ARTICLE 24 of the LABOR STANDARDS ACT states:


    "Wages shall be paid in currency and in full directly to the workers..."


This secures the right for the employee to be paid DIRECTLY for work provided. It does not dictate HOW, only that it MUST be paid. It is simple and clear: work MUST be paid for.

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HOW IS THAT PAYMENT MADE?

On the subject of how payment is to be made, ARTICLE 7-2 (METHODS OF WAGE PAYMENT) of the ORDINANCE FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE LABOR STANDARDS ACT states:


    "(1) With the worker's consent, an employer may pay a worker's wage by any of the following methods:

    i.  By transfer into the worker's account at a bank or other financial institution designated by the worker."


The key phrase here is "designated by the worker" - not by a company or an employee. You have the right to tell them where you want your salary to be paid - they don't have the right to tell you.

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WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOUR EMPLOYER IS MAKING DEMANDS?

So, what can you do if your company is insisting, under no uncertain terms, that you absolutely have to open an account with a bank of their choosing - or ELSE?

In this situation, while the law IS clear, discretion is the better part of valor.

The General Union does not recommend immediately standing up for your rights if you are in the situation described above.

As companies have a legal right to fire you within the first fourteen (14) days of employment without having to give a reason, rocking the proverbial boat over a banking issue might just be the excuse that they need to cut you loose and save themselves the trouble of dealing with you and your pesky "rights".

Therefore, if this is an issue that is affecting you, we suggest waiting until you at least receive your first salary, and then asking the union to address the issue and negotiate with your company on your behalf.


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