Regular vs Irregular workers. What's the difference?

What are SEIKI (正規) and HISEIKI (非正規)?

NEITHER HAS A LEGAL DEFINITION

Literal translation: SEIKI means regular, formal or genuine. HI (means not) so HISEIKI would be non-regular workers.

SEIKI workers are basically those who work full-time with undefined-term employment contract and usually with bonuses and a retirement allowance.

There exist various forms (names) of HISEIKI workers such as;

  • Part-timers, often called HIJOKIN (非常勤), PAATO (パート), ARUBAITO (アルバイト) who usually work part time hours.
  • Dispatched worker (HAKEN SHAIN 派遣社員)
  • Contract worker (KEIYAKUSHAIN 契約社員)which usually refer to HISEIKI working full time hours
  • SHOKUTAKU (嘱託社員) often, but not always, used to define a worker who has retired from and then re-employed by the same company as a HISEIKI

 

How many HISEIKI are there?

In the past ten years, the number of SEIKI workers has decreased by 850,000 from 34,490,000 to 33,640,000.

HISEIKI has increased by 2,810,000 from 17, 350,000 to 20,160,000 and is now 37.5% of all workers.

 

Wage disparity

(Source : “Basic Survey on Wage Structure in 2016” released on February 22th, 2017 by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare)

a. Average monthly salary of SEIKI worker : 321,700 yen
b. Average monthly salary of HISEIKI worker : 211,800 yen
c. (b)/(a) = 65.84%

While this figure compares SEIKI and HISEIKI that might be working less than 40 hours per week, which may be a little misleading, it does clearly shows how much of the economy both SEIKI and HISEIKI occupy.


Additional information