KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
Statement on recommendations of the Equal Employment Sub-Committee on amendments to the ‘part-time worker’s law’
26 December 2006
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
- Today the Equal Employment Sub-Committee of the Labour Policy Council submitted its recommendations to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare on ‘policies for part-time labour.’ This was the first time amendments to the ‘part-time worker’s law’ had been debated since the law’s inception in 1993.
The recommendations called for legislation on the following: 1) prohibiting discriminatory treatment of part-time employees whose employment situation in terms of work duties, mechanisms and management of personnel use, and period of employment contract, is the same as that of regular employees. For all other part-time workers, employers must make every effort to ensure equivalent treatment in terms of wages; 2) employers must guarantee that part-time workers whose job duty is the same as the regular workers receive the same capacity building as regular workers; 3) employers must introduce mechanisms whereby part-time workers are encouraged to become regular employees; 4) employers must clearly indicate working conditions.
- Along with other issues related to work rules, RENGO has been urging the government and each political party to realize concepts illustrated in the ‘outline for part-time and fixed-term contract workers bill’ which was drafted by RENGO in 2001 through various actions including demonstrations in front of the Ministry.
- The report includes some areas where it is only ‘a duty to make efforts’ according to the present law be made ‘legally obligatory’ and also some parts which are included in the part-time work guidelines be fixed by the law. So, the legal regulation in this area is improved. Of particular note is the prohibition of discriminatory treatment of part-time workers whose employment situation such as work duties, management and mechanisms of personnel use and so on is the same as that of regular employees. RENGO welcomes this.
On the other hand, there are still problems with the report, including the measures regarding the majority of part-time workers whose employment situation and duties are different from regular employees, as employers are only legally obligated to ‘make efforts’ towards equivalent treatment in terms of wages for these workers. Also the range of wages was limited to work-related issues and paid leave for occasions such as weddings or funerals as well as consolation payments were not included in welfare benefits.
Furthermore, it is necessary to flesh-out issues such as widening eligibility for social security benefits and equal treatment for fixed-term contract employees.
- RENGO will continue to fight for our remaining demands to be met, including legislating equal treatment for all part-time workers. Through our Spring Struggle, RENGO will be broadening our activities and calling on part-time and contracted workers to join with us in taking action.