February 15, 2017
TOKYO- The secretariat of the Japanese government’s work reform council put forward a draft plan to set a legal ceiling on overtime work at 720 hours a year, or 60 hours a month on average, at a meeting of the panel on Tuesday.
The government is separately considering setting a monthly overtime limit at 100 hours, with the two-month average below 80 hours.
But at the meeting, the secretariat stopped short of proposing the 100-hour monthly cap, considering calls from labor representatives for a lower limit.
The labor side refers to the existing criteria for recognizing overwork-related death cases, under which death from brain or heart disease is found to be caused by overwork if overtime work reached some 100 hours in the month before the onset of the disease.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the meeting that he will not submit a related bill unless the labor and management sides reach an accord on the issue.
The labor standards law currently stipulates the basic work time of eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. Under Article 36 of the law, unlimited overtime is possible if there is a labor-management agreement.
The government is working to revise the clause to create an overtime ceiling, as well as penalties for offending companies. (Jiji Press)
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