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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1. National Personnel Authority Partially Revises Notice On Operation Of Rules
Announced on December 1st, 2016, and made effective on January 1st, 2017, this revision clarified that mocking someone's sexual orientation or gender identity will be considered sexual harassment and will not be permitted.


2. Possible Paid Holiday Amendment
It has become clear that the government's Regulatory Reform Committee is moving towards proposing an amendment to the Labor Standards Law that would permit workers to take paid vacation days starting from their first day on the job (instead of from six months after their first day).


3. Foreign National Workers Exceeds One Million
According to a survey by the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labor, as of October 1st, 2016, the number of foreign nationals working for Japanese companies exceeded 1 million for the first time (since this survey began).


4. Government Plans To Restrict Overtime Hours
The Government is considering setting the upper limit (with penalty) for overtime work at 100 hours per month, and aims to submit the proposal to the current Diet.

The "100 hours per month" limit is known as the “karoshi line” (karoshi - "death from overwork"), but the bill will likely not include the stricter penalties demanded by the opposition.


5. 2016 "Workforce Survey"
On January 31st, 2017, the Interior Ministry’s Statistics Bureau released the results of the”2016 Workforce Survey.

The survey revealed: (a) Irregular workers account for 37.5% of all employees (a higher proportion than ever before), (b) The proportion of workers shifting from regular to irregular employment is higher the older the age group is, and (c) The yearly average employment rate among those aged between 15-64 age was 74.3% (the highest percentage since statistics have been recorded).

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