Japanese Work Rules Are Critical To Being Compliant with Labor Law. Does Your Japanese Operation Understand Work Rule Obligations?

We hope the answer to the above question is yes – ie, that whatever the size of your Japanese operation, you have created and follow your “Work Rules”. Without them, you are like a small boat in the ocean of Japanese Labor compliance, and at risk due to the strict requirements and penalties administered by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW). Japanese Work Rules Are Key To Being Compliant with Labor Law

Work Rules:  Who, What, Why, When, Where.

Every Japanese Company should have written work rules: to keep employees happy and productive, for management to be confident in remaining compliant with both the local law, and to satisfy the regulatory agencies that may come calling.

The MHLW states, in its “Model Rules of Employment Outline”, that there are matters that are:

  1. Absolutely required to be set forth (hereinafter referred to as the “mandatory matters”) in the rules of employment pursuant to Article 89 of the Labour Standards Act, Act No.49 of 1947 (hereinafter referred to as “Labour Standards Act”), including:
  1. Working hours: matters pertaining to the times at which work begins and at which work ends, rest periods, days off, leaves, and matters pertaining to shifts when workers are employed in two or more shifts;
  2. Wages: matters pertaining to the methods for determination, computation and payment of wages, the dates for closing accounts for wages and for payment of wages; and increases in wages; and
  3. Retirement: matters pertaining to retirement (including grounds for dismissal)
  1. Matters that are required to be set forth in the rules of employment in the case where a company provides their own rules for each workplace (hereinafter referred to as “the conditional mandatory matters”) including:
  1. Severance pay: matters pertaining to the range of workers covered, methods for determination, computation, and payment of severance pay, and the dates for payment of severance pay;
  2. Special wages and/or the amount of minimum wage, Matters pertaining to special wages and the like (but excluding severance pay) and minimum wage amounts;
  3. Costs to employees: matters pertaining to having workers bear the cost of food, supplies for work and other expenses;
  4. Safety and health: matters pertaining to safety and health;
  5. Vocational training: matters pertaining to vocational training;
  6. Accident compensation and support for injury or illness outside the course of employment matters pertaining to accident compensation and support for injury or illness outside the course of employment;
  7. Commendations and sanctions matters pertaining to commendations and sanctions, and to their kind and degree;
  8. Miscellaneous: matters pertaining to the rules applicable to all workers at a workplace
  1. Optional matters that can be set forth in the rules of employment at the employer’s discretion.

Table Of Contents For The Model Work Rules Scope as set out by the MHLW

The scope of “Model Work Rules” is as flows – here we present the index for reference.  The actual model Rules outline explains the details for each category and sub-category.

Chapter 1. General Provisions

  • Purposes
  • Scope of Application Compliance with the rules

Chapter 2. Hiring and Transfers

  • Procedures for Hiring
  • Documents to be submitted at the time of hiring Probationary Employment Period
  • Clear Declaration of Terms and Conditions of Employment Personnel Transfer
  • Leave of Absence

Chapter 3. Regulations in service

  • Compliance Provisions
  • Prohibition of Sexual Harassment
  • Prohibition of Power Harassment in Workplace Protection of Personal Information
  • Recording the start and end times of work Late Arrival, Leaving Early and Absence

Chapter 4

  • Working hours, Rest Periods and Days Off

Chapter 5. Leaves

  • Annual Paid Leave
  • Granting Annual Paid Leave by the hour
  • Maternity Leave
  • Measures to maintain mothers’ health
  • Hours for Child Care and Menstrual Leave
  • Care Leave for Children and Other Family Members Congratulatory and Condolence Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Leave for Jury Duty

Chapter 6. Wages

  • Components of Wages 
  • Base Pay
  • Family Allowance
  • Commuting Allowance
  • Executive Allowance
  • Skills and Qualification Allowance Attendance Allowance
  • Premium Pay
  • Calculation of Wages in the annual variable work schedule system Time Off in lieu of Overtime Pay
  • Wages during Leaves
  • Wages during Involuntary Leave
  • Policy for different types of Absences
  • Pay Period and Payday
  • Payment and Deductions of Wages
  • Emergency Payment of Wages
  • Wage Increase
  • Bonus

Chapter 7. Fixed Retirement Age, Retirement and Dismissal

  • Retirement & Dismissal

Chapter 8. Severance Pay

  • Terms for Severance Pay
  • The Amount of Severance Pay
  • Method and Time of Payment for Severance Pay

Chapter 9. Safety, Health and Accident Compensation

  • Compliance Provisions
  • Health Examinations
  • Policy for Personal Information concerning Health Management Education on Safety and Health
  • Accident Compensation

Chapter 10 Vocational Training-

  • Educational Training

Chapter 11 Commendations and Sanctions

  • Presentation of Commendations Types of Disciplinary Actions Grounds for Disciplinary Actions

Chapter 12. Switching to Indefinite Term Employment Contract

Chapter 13. Protection of Whistleblowers

Verse Corporation publishes articles on timely issues in Japanese Social Welfare and Labour Law. Japanese payroll, source deductions, and all labor law work & pay rules regarding compensation, social insurance, absenteeism & sick leave, etc. require strict adherence. Labor/employment law can be complex, even for Japanese companies, and must be handled mostly in Japanese. As with all social welfare and labor law matters in Japan, please seek out professional Sharoushi (Certified Labour Law and Social Insurance Attorney.)

Resources for this article

Japan Labor Standards Act. English.

Model Japanese Work Rules. English. Updated March 2023.

Various  Japanese Pension System Documents. English

Work Rules Are Key To Being Compliant with Labor Law