2009 年 46 巻 2 号 p. 58-69
In contemporary Japan, an increase in the number of atypical employment, such as part-time, fixed-term, and temporary agency workers, is a serious social problem. This paper discusses the connection between atypical employment and labor policy in Japan. The first section examines the deterioration of Japanese workers' living conditions. Their living conditions are characterized by: i) the growing poverty rate (as revealed by OECD report), ii) a rapid increase in the number of the working poor, and iii) the poor working conditions of atypical employment. The second section considers characteristics of Japanese current labor policies. It argues that because of insufficient protection of working conditions, atypical employment is in disadvantageous positions in labor market. Therefore, we need to consider policy options to improve working conditions of atypical employment. The third section considers equal treatment policies in the EU countries. Under the EU legal directives, the EU countries have promoted such policies by providing equality treatments to atypical employment. These EU directives include the directive on part-time work of 1997, that on fixed term work of 1999, and that on temporary agency work of 2008. These directives brought about improvements in employment status of atypical employment by narrowing the wage gap between typical employment and atypical employment. The analysis suggests that policies to improve working conditions of atypical employment are effective in reducing the number of the working poor.