Part-time workers are also protected by Japanese labor laws by stimulating how many hours they can be made to work, how long they should be allowed to rest between work, days off, the minimum wage, etc. These items are called Working Conditions, and the answer of above questions can be found in laws including the Labor Standards Act, Labor Contract Law, and Part-time Labor Law.
Basically, the laws set the minimum working conditions to force employers to provide conditions not lower. Learning these kinds of knowledge will be really helpful when we find a part-time job, during work, and when we quit or retire. But everybody knows that laws could be so complicated. This article is going to pick up and explain some key items of Working Conditions, and their minimum standards, and things to notice if any change happens to these conditions.
After you pass interviews and get an offer of a part-time job from an employer, the next step will be to conclude a Working Contract. At this time, Working Conditions must be indicated clearly to workers according to labor laws. Confirm those conditions carefully to make sure no misunderstanding, and that these conditions meet the standards in the law. If the actual fact differs from the Working Conditions indicated, the worker can cancel the Labor Contract immediately.
Check the documents such as Notice of Working Conditions, Notice of Employment, or Labor Contracts. Especially Working Conditions like
-Workplace and work to be engaged in
-Start time and end time of work, shift system
-Any overtime work, break time, holiday and vacation?
-Any increases in wages?
-Renewal of fixed-term Labor Contracts
-Retirement and dismissal
-Any retirement allowances?
In the case of fixed-term Labor Contracts, Contract Period should not exceed 3 years, except the case that the period necessary for completion of a specific project has been determined.
However, the upper limit will be 5 years for workers who have expert knowledge, skills or experience, and workers aged 60 years or older.
Employers must notify workers about the expiry of the Labor Contract and other necessary matters. If a worker has been working for more than 5 years by renewing Labor Contracts, the worker can request to switch to indefinite employment.
If an employer refuses to renew a Labor Contract, the employer must notify the worker at least 30 days' advance if the worker has been working for more than 1 year, or has renewed contracts for 3 times.
The Labor Standards Act has defined all necessary Working Conditions and their lowest limits as following.
Actual working hours excluding Rest Periods. In principle, Working Hours can't be more than 8 hours per day for each day of the week, or more than 40 hours per week.
Time that can be away from work and used freely during working hours. According to the Labor Standards Act, Rest Periods must be
-at least 1 hour when working hours exceed 8 hours
-at least 45 minutes when working hours exceed 6 hours
There is no rule for Rest Periods for working hours under 6 hours.
Employers must provide workers with at least one day off per week, or 4 days off or more over any four-week, which is also called "Statutory Days Off" by Japanese society.
If an employer has a worker work on a day off, the employer must pay not less than 1.35 times of regular wages on such days. However, if the day off is not a Statutory Days Off, the employer is not always necessary to provide a Holiday Allowance.
If an employer extends the working hours, which means work of more than 8 hours per day for each day of the week, or more than 40 hours per week, these additional working hours are called Overtime Work.
Overtime Work must be paid not less than 1.25 times of regular wages on such hours.
Work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., or between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in cases when the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare adjusts those hours at a certain area or time of year, is called Night Work.
The employer must pay not less than 1.25 times of normal wage per working hour for Night Work.
Workers under 18 years of age are not allowed to do Night Work, while it will be possible for people over 18 years old. So does Overtime Work.
It will be really troublesome if an employer changes working hours, or wages from one side. Don't worry, the law has stipulated these actions as illegal to protect workers. Check the following points if Working Conditions changed.
An employer can't change any Working Conditions in the Labor Contract without the worker's agreement. So it will violate the law if working hours are changed or hourly wages are lowered without any notice.
Even though under agreement, the new Working Conditions must meet the standards established by the Rules of Employment. If it doesn't meet, the change will be invalid.
In principle, an employer can't change any Working Conditions in a manner disadvantageous to a worker by changing the Rules of Employment.
Even so, the Working Conditions are still going to be in accordance with the changed Rules of Employment if the change is thought to be reasonable, considering the extent of the disadvantage to the worker, the need for changing the Working Conditions, appropriateness of the new Rules of Employment, the status of negotiations with a labor union, etc.