Japan Limits Overtime to 99 Hours Per Month to Curb “Death by Overwork”

Pixabay
image_pdfimage_print

Japan: In an effort to limit incidences of Karoshi, a Japanese term for “death by overwork,” parliament passed a new law limiting overtime work to less than 100 hours a month per worker. Before the law, there was no limit to the number of hours companies could ask their employees to work, as long as labor unions didn’t make a fuss. In South Korea, a law that lowered the country’s maximum workweek to 52 hours, down from 68, also took effect this week. Those who make their employees work more than 52 hours weekly now face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $24,484.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s struggle to combat incidences of Karoshi – a Japanese term for “death by overwork” – reached an key milestone on Friday, when Japan’s parliament approved a bill that limits overtime work to less than 100 hours a month per worker, and less than 720 hours per year, while setting penalties for companies that violate the new labor rules, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Before the law, there was no limit to the number of hours companies could ask their employees to work, as long as labor unions didn’t make a fuss.

Japan

Recently released government data revealed that Japan’s jobless rate touched 2.2% in May, the lowest level in 26 years. And as Japan’s working-age population dwindles, job openings have outpaced the number of workers available to fill them: As a reference, two months ago, there were 160 job offers available for every 100 workers seeking a job.

The law should also improve working conditions for “nonregular” workers – what we would call “temps” in the US – who lack the job security of their salaried peers.

“Work-style reforms are the best means to improve labor productivity,” Mr. Abe said in Parliament June 4. “We will correct long working hours and improve people’s balance between work and life.”

The new law also seeks to improve the lot of Japan’s growing pool of “nonregular” workers in temporary or part-time jobs who don’t have the job security of full-time regular employees. It says employers must pay equally for the same work, regardless of workers’ status. In a 2016 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Abe said he wanted to “eliminate the word ‘nonregular’ from the lexicon.”

The suicide of a 24-year-old female employee of Japanese advertising firm Dentsu helped inspire the law, as the government and the young woman’s family condemned Japan’s culture of long working hours.

In addition to the curbing suicides, Abe hopes that limiting workers’ hours will help reverse or at least arrest the country’s declining productivity (although it wasn’t exactly clear how). Declining productivity has been the scourge of the developed world, including the US, where the issue has mystified the Federal Reserve and economists, who fail to explain the lack of a rebound in US economic output.

That said, Japan isn’t the only Asian country where work-life balance is hopelessly out out of whack. In South Korea, a law that lowered the country’s maximum workweek to 52 hours, down from 68, also took effect this week. Altogether, workers in South Korea will be allowed to work the standard 40 hours, with an additional 12 hours of overtime thrown in.

Read full article here…

Related Post

Visit our Classified ads.

Check out our Classified ads at the bottom of this page.

Recent stories & commentary

Classifieds

For classified advertising rates and terms, click here. The appearance of ads on this site does not signify endorsement by the publisher. We do not attempt to verify the accuracy of statements made therein or vouch for the integrity of advertisers. However, we will investigate complaints from readers and remove any message we find to be misleading or that promotes anything fraudulent, illegal, or unethical.

For Sale

Ten Days at Jekyll Island, a novel by Patrea Patrick, tells the true story of a secret meeting held in November of 1910 on a privately owned resort island, the outcome of which drastically changed the world. It was at this meeting that a banking cartel was forged; a cartel that, three years later, would be issued a government charter to do business as The United States Federal Reserve System. You will discover why secrecy was essential. Based on historical documentation from The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin. (More)

 


Offline is a documentary on the inevitability of the Earth being slammed by a mega solar flare – not the common type that interrupts communications and creates a light show in the Northern skies – but the big brothers thousands of times more powerful. These monsters deliver enough energy to blow apart the master transformers that supply the planet’s energy grids. When that happens, the lights go out for longer than anyone wants to think about. These X-Class solar storms hit the Earth every 150 years, on average. The last one arrived 156 years ago. We are overdue (More)

 


Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of