Certain important terms and conditions of the employment agreement have to be in writing (or via email, etc. if the employee requests) and handed to employees at the start of their employment. Also, “Rules of Employment” have to be prepared by employers who continuously employ 10 or more employees at any one workplace. The “Rules of Employment” stipulate the important working conditions, which will uniformly apply to those employees unless there is any special agreement more favourable to an individual employee.
The trial period cannot be extended unless the “Rules of Employment” set out reasons for the extension of the period and the extended period, etc.
Hours Of Work
Overtime work (exceeding 40 hours per week or eight hours per day), without certain statutory procedures, is illegal. Extra pay for overtime work, whether legal or illegal, is required. However, such extra pay for overtime is not required to be paid to “persons occupying supervisory or management positions” (so-called “Supervisors and Managers”). “Persons occupying supervisory or management positions” refers to those who are in positions integrated with top management in terms of decisions or other administration regarding working conditions of subordinates or other day-to-day company operations. Whether a person falls within this category is determined by taking into consideration his or her duties and responsibilities, discretion to manage his or her own work hours, and the level of remuneration; it is not simply based on his or her title.
Special Rules For Part-time Work
Upon the execution of an employment agreement with a part-time worker, an employer must stipulate 1) period of employment, 2) standards of renewal of the fixed-term employment agreement, 3) the workplace and type of work, 4) starting time and finishing time, rest periods, days off, leave and change in shifts (in case employees work in two or more shifts), 5) wages (except retirement allowances etc.), the dates for closing the account for wages and for payment of wages, and 6) retirement (including grounds for dismissal). In addition, an employer must stipulate whether salary raise, retirement allowance and/or bonuses exist and contact the person in writing (or via email, etc. if the employee requests). Also, discriminatory treatment including unreasonable discrimination in work conditions between ordinary workers and part-time workers is prohibited
The employer must pay the employee a wage not less than the minimum wage under the Minimum Wages Act. The minimum wage is fixed according to region.
As to the payment of salary, except for a few exceptions, salary should be paid in cash, in full, at least once a month and directly.
One day off per week is required, in principle.
The employer must allow a rest period of a minimum of 45 minutes if the employee works more than six hours in one day, or a rest period of a minimum of one hour if the employee works more than eight hours in one day.
Employers are prohibited from hiring children under the age of 15. More specifically, once a child turns 15, he/she cannot be employed until the first March 31 after his her 15th birthday.ons under the age of 15 is prohibited. There is no maximum age limit.
The mandatory retirement age (which needs to be not less than 60 years old) may be prescribed in the “Rules of Employment”. If an employer has a mandatory retirement age less than 65, such an employer is required to provide a re-employment scheme for its employees up to 65.
Employers are not required to provide paid sick leave to an employee for an illness or injury resulting from non-job-related causes. However, employers often implement the system of “suspension from work” in the “Rules of Employment” for the purpose of delaying dismissal due to such illness or injury.
The Act for Employment Promotion, Etc., of the Disabled requires employers to employ a certain percentage of physically disabled, mentally impaired or intellectually challenged persons. If an employer cannot achieve this percentage, it must pay money to a relevant government agency for the support of disabled people. The Act prohibits unjust discriminatory treatment by reason of handicap in labour and employment and places an obligation on employers to take measures with the purpose of improving conditions that would otherwise impede people with disabilities from working.
Location Of Work/Mobility
There are no mandatory requirements relating to the location of work and mobility. However, the employer’s right to order relocation and reshuffling can be limited under the employee’s relevant agreement or can be treated as invalid because of abuse of rights by the employer.
There is compulsory participation in government pension insurance (kousei-nenkinhoken). Under the scheme, benefits will be provided to insured persons or their survivors when they retire from their working-lives, become handicapped, or die. Company pension plans are not mandatory but are sometimes introduced in Japanese companies and are regulated by the Corporate Pension Act.
Parental Rights (Pregnancy/ Maternity/ Paternity/ Adoption)
Any pregnant employee is, upon her request, entitled to go on maternity leave six weeks before her due date. Employers must not have employees work within the period eight weeks after childbirth. However, should an employee wish to return to work after six weeks following childbirth, she may do so, but only for duties that a doctor has recognized would not adversely affect her health.
Female employees raising an infant below the age of one may request time to care for the infant of at least 30 minutes twice a day, in addition to the statutory rest period.
Under the Childcare and Nursing-Care Leave Act, an employee (whether male or female) who is raising a child and has custody (whether natural or adopted) under the age of one (or one year and six months of age in specific cases), who lives in the same household, may request childcare leave for a specified period of time.
When entering into an employment agreement, the wages, working hours and other working conditions must be clearly stated to the employee. Certain important conditions that relate to the following terms of employment should be clearly stated in writing (or via email, etc. if the employee requests): 1) period of employment, 2) standards of renewal of fixed-term employment agreement, 3) the workplace and type of work, 4) starting time and finishing time, rest periods, days off, leave, change in shifts (in case employees work in two or more shifts), 5) wages (except retirement allowances etc.), the dates for closing account for wages and for payment of wages, and 6) retirement (including grounds for dismissal).
In respect of leave, the LSA requires employers to provide their employees with annual paid leave in the amount of 10 days upon working 6 months consecutively (subject to reporting to work for 80% or more of working-days in the preceding 6 months) and increase up to 20 days depending upon years of service with the same employer.
Japanese law, including Japanese labour law, includes certain default provisions which apply where a contract is silent. The parties may agree to the same or additional terms in an employment agreement, except where such terms include provisions that would violate Japanese public policy or which terms may be said to be prohibited by mandatory law.
There are two main types of employment agreements, regular employment agreements (without term) and non-regular employment agreements. Non-regular employment agreements include 1) fixed term agreements and 2) agreements with part-time workers. However, independent contractors or extra-company workers under contract hire agreements and dispatch workers from temporally-employment agencies do not have any employment agreements with companies where they work.
The confidentiality obligation of the employer in respect of employees’ personal information is clarified by the Act on the Protection of Personal Information and the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Employees owe a duty of confidentiality and good faith to the employer. Also, such employees are prohibited from disclosing trade secrets under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. Such duties are often agreed in writing in employment agreements or employees are requested to submit separate written pledges to the employer.
Under the Patent Act, if an employee has obtained a patent for his/her invention which falls within the scope of the business of the employer, which was achieved by acts categorized as present or past duties of the employee (“employee invention”), the employer will have a nonexclusive license on the patent right for such employee invention. The employer may acquire the right to obtain a patent or patent right for the employee invention, if there is a provision to such effect in the employment contract or “Rules of Employment”. In such case, the employee has the right to receive reasonable remuneration.
Non-nationals are required to obtain certain types of residence status under immigration control law in order to legally work in Japan.
There are specific rules which apply to disabled workers which are set out above.
Employers using sub-contracted workers may not give direct instructions to such workers. Employers using dispatched workers may give direct instructions provided the employers comply with restrictions under the Workers Dispatch Act. There has been a persistent problem where quite a lot of companies work around the Worker Dispatch Act by giving direct instructions to sub-contracted workers (so-called “disguised sub-contracting”). Companies engaging in such disguised sub-contracting are subject to administrative penalties, and, furthermore, a direct employment relationship with such company may be established if such worker so wishes.