What are the employee rights in Japan?

Work-life in a country is not just characterized by the lifestyle and company you choose, but also the experience while undertaking a job. Good knowledge of your rights and benefits can help you navigate stressful situations in the workplace and emerge successful in your career. The Japanese Labour Law has stipulated rights for employees in Japan to safeguard them from exploitation at the workplace. Let us look at the employee rights of Japan.

  1. Sufficient notice period is to be served when quitting the job- As per the Civil Code Act, a standard of 30 days notice period is to be served by the employee post his resignation from the company. This will be specifically mentioned in the Company contract. If there is no clause mentioning the notice period duration, then a 15-day notice period will stand effective to be followed. In no case can the company threaten you to stay for longer than your notice period; this is considered as a breach of the law and is a punishable offense in Japan.
  2. Freedom of discrimination against foreign nationals regardless of gender or age- Discrimination against workers based on religion, gender or age is a crime in Japan. If an employee feels harassed or exploited based on these factors, he/ she can approach the court for justice in Japan.
  3. Working hours totaling no more than 44 hours per week, and provision for at least 4 days off- Employers are restricted to keeping not more than 44 working hours per week, no matter how urgent the requirement. Non-working days (off days) need to be kept at least 4 in a week in Japan.
  4. Extra pay for overtime- Working overtime is considered a norm in many countries, but Japan ensures that employees are compensated accordingly. Employees are paid an additional percentage over the hourly salary for working overtime, on holidays or at night.
  5. Protection from being fired without proper reason- Employees in Japan are protected from being fired without adequate reason and for reasons like: For being sick unless absenteeism for thirty (30) days, for being married, pregnant or requesting maternity leave.
  6. Return/ Reimbursement of outstanding wages and property upon leaving the company- The company is required to return and reimburse the outstanding salary, and any property that you may have left behind. Retaining or withdrawing of outstanding salary is considered an offense.

Staying up to date with your rights as an employee is essential to feel safe and secure in your job. Japan has strictly enforced labor laws and most companies comply with these laws. Knowing your rights not only helps you face difficult situations but also empowers you as an individual. We hope that this article on employee rights in Japan has helped you to understand the basics and can assist you when joining a company in Japan. All the best!

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