Unlike other countries categorizing employees to part-time and full-time by working hours, Japan has a peculiar employment system in which employees are divided into regular and non-regular. Though not necessarily clearly defined, regular employees refer to workers with lifelong employment in general, who work full-time at the company until they retire. While other workers with duration limited employment are called non-regular employees, who can work either full-time or part-time. Part-time workers, or arbeit (Arubaito in Japanese) are classified into non-regular employees.
Survey shows that the percentage of non-regular employees in Japan's workforce has kept rising from 16.4% in 1985 to nearly 40% recently. But as regular employees get better salaries and benefits, many non-regular workers expect to become regular, by either changing jobs to another company or being promoted to regular at current companies. Actually a lot of companies have made systems for promoting to regular employees (Seisyaintouyou, 正社員登用 in Japanese). This article will talk about details of this system.
This is a promotion system for non-regular employees, such as contract workers and part-time workers, to regular employees. It is not regulated by law, but defined by each company, so applicable non-regular workers and promotion conditions vary from company to company.
For example, part-time workers may get a chance after working for two years and passing a promotion test in a company. There are companies where the majority of non-regular workers get promoted, also there are companies with only a small promotion percentage, or companies who don’t provide a promotion system.
So whether there is "With Seisyaintouyou system" printed on the recruitment poster or not, it is better to confirm with the company's human resource managers if concerned.
Unlike part-time employees paid hourly or daily wages, regular employees are paid monthly or an annual salary, which means that they can get stable income while part-time workers can't predict their shifts just as income. What's more, regular employees can get bonuses, allowances, and various benefits.
Regular employees are all covered by social insurance including Employees' Pension and Health Insurance, and the premium will be split with their employer. But part-time employees can only get social insurance covered under strict conditions on working years and hours, scale of the employer, etc. Other inapplicable part-time workers have to join National Pension and National Health Insurance with premium paid on their own.
Also regular employees can get more pension after they retire, as they receive Employees' Pension and National Pension together, while part-time workers can only receive the latter.
Rather than part-time workers getting unstable income, regular employees are widely trusted by the society. It is easier for regular employees to apply for credit cards, mortgage loans, car loans, etc.
Regular employees have to work from 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Sunday over 40 hours per week. While part-time workers work in shifts that they can choose their working days per week and working hours per day. Flexibility in working hours allows workers to balance work and life better, especially for those people having other "main jobs", like study for students and house work for housewives.
Regular employees may be requested to transfer to other job positions inside the company, no matter whether they like or not. In some cases, they may be even dispatched to other client companies or branch offices abroad. While these cases rarely happen to part-time workers.
First of all, ask a human resource manager about the company's past promotion rate. If there are possibilities, then work hard to show you worth the same or much more than your regular counterparts. Of course the workforce status of the company also matters, part-time workers get more chances when employers suffer from human resource shortage. In general, employers choose to promote the following workers to regular employees:
It costs employers uncountable money and time to hire a regular employee. As mentioned above, employers have to pay half of their social insurance's premiums, and on-the-job education and training. It is hard for employers to fire regular employees as well. All these factors force employers to choose non-regular employment other than regular employment.
So part-time workers must show your work value bigger than those costs to earn a promotion to regular employee.
Employers think much about regular employees' loyalty. They are supposed to obey both social and company's rules so that they can represent and fight for the company. Workers who are late frequently, or absent without cause are impossible to get promoted. Regular employees should be trusted by the employer and colleagues.
Employers would not promote a part-time worker who can't work well with other staff no matter how excellent he or she is. Taking group action may be a special social culture of Japan. Japanese people believe the power of working together and that work can't be done by one person alone.
So an applicable part-time worker should build good relationships with colleagues, execute his or her work smoothly by conducting reports, contact and consultation completely.
Japanese government is taking a lot of hands to stimulate non-regular employees' motivation for working and to get them more satisfaction by enhancing worker evaluation and treatment. One of those actions is to increase opportunities to be converted to regular employees. Data shows that 46.0% of enterprises with 300 or less employees have promoted their own part-time workers as regular employees. This number will certainly increase in the future.
If you are aiming at converting to a regular employee of the current company, learn best, work best, and get along well with colleagues, then the only thing you need to do is wait for the chance!