Despite the ‘Work Style Reform’ being conducted at the initiative of the Japanese government, a fundamental question still remains unanswered : How many hours are Japanese people working ? Japanese statistics on work hours have mixed regular workers with irregular, particularly part-time, workers, and collected data from companies, whose managers exclude many of the actual working hours. There is big differences between the legal working hours, agreed working hours between company and union, and the actual work hours of individual employees. Research has not clarified to what extent and why the three sets of hours deviate from each other.This paper examines these deviations, using a comparison with Germany, which the Japanese government has targeted as a model for work hour reduction. The two countries share important features in working hours, including the dual structure of work hours between full-time and part-time employees, and the importance of collective agreements on working hours. In spite of these similarities, however, there are huge differentials in annual working hours, as well as daily work hours, between the two countries. Here, these differences are investigated in detail, based on comparative historical analysis, showing why Japan has longer working hours than Germany.
Many conventional studies of poverty have incorporated economic indicators, such as income, as criteria to ascertain whether certain conditions constitute poverty. However, both time and money are finite resources in life. Particularly working generation people must obtain a certain amount of both to maintain a decent living standard. Some minimum time must be spent for sleeping, leisure, and housework, including childcare, to reproduce labor power beyond the present generation. Estimations of time poverty emphasizing the working generation have been conducted actively in Western countries in recent years. Even in Japan, several studies have been conducted. This paper presents a review of time poverty studies in economically developed countries taking into consideration, percentages of households lacking minimum time for housework, and the policy implications for poverty reduction in working generations.Comparative analysis of conventional income-based poverty estimations and time-based poverty estimations reveals that conventional methods underestimate levels of poverty in households with two full-time workers and households with preschool children. Consideration of the time dimension is expected to produce more appropriate policy approaches to poverty reduction.
Basic rules on working hours specified in the Labor Standard Law and collective agreements stipulate only the upper limit and the lower limit of working hours. How many hours a worker actually works is determined in Japan through a business plan assigned to a department （demand side calculation） and the number of personnel assigned to the department （a supply side calculation）. There are different approaches to calculating the number of personnel, such as the strategy approach, the finance approach, the task approach, direct-indirect ratios, and so on. With most approaches, other than the task approach, the number of personnel assigned may be insufficient to accomplish the business plan assigned. In this case the business plan might not be carried out adequately. Alternatively, overtime work might become normal, a situation that is often seen in Japanese companies. This happens partly because many Japanese workers believe they have to accomplish the business plan given to them by running the PDCA （Plan - Do - Check - Action） cycle smoothly. My tentative idea for one effective measure to reduce overtime work is to establish labor union regulations at the workshop level.
Structural reform has led to deregulation in many sectors, including employment, and supermarkets are one typical example. This paper, focusing on supermarkets, elucidates the structural reform of personnel systems and employment structures resulting from changes in working time regulations as well as non-employment-related deregulation in areas such as business hours and new store openings. Since repeal of the Large-scale Retail Store Act, supermarkets have faced longer business hours and harsh competition. They have responded by changing their employment structures. As a result, contracted working hours of part-time workers have been shortened and the number of hours worked under contract has been linked to the degree of difficulty of work content. Contracted work hours long enough to provide social security and pension coverage have been made available to high-ranking part-time workers performing managerial-level work duties. At the same time, regular employees have taken on the burdens of management and business administration duties, requiring that they work without restrictions on work time or job relocation. This employment strategy effectively excludes regular workers engaged in reproductive labor from the core regular workforce. The resulting work style has become impossible for both male and female workers.
Under a strong sense of social ownership of the labor market by the Danish social partners, working hours and times are mainly decided by collective agreements. In the late 1980s, working hours were reduced from 40 hours per week to 37 hours ; that was achieved through a compromise among social partners aimed at curbing wage growth rates. After 1990, collective bargaining gradually became decentralized to local workplaces, so individuals’ working time tended to be decided through workplace bargaining. This paper analyzes the relation between collective regulation and individual working time at the workplace level by using metal industries’ collective agreements as an example. The agreements specify an obligation to make an effort to avoid overtime, and to set out a strict procedure for determining overtime ; even so, in calculating average working hours the length of time can be extended in order to facilitate flexible production. This paper also points out the importance of the parental leave system and the vocational training system, referring to them as providing ‘combination security’ in the flexicurity matrix posited by Whilthagen and Tros. Historical analysis shows that the parental leave system has been developed through collective agreements. In addition, this paper illustrates time controls on white collar work. There are no collective regulations on white-collar workers, but it is customary for blue-collar workers to put in 37 hours weekly.
This article examines an alternate approach to the working time problem, focusing on labor-management joint consultation regarding required personnel. It poses the hypothesis that neither labor and management possesses accurate knowledge needed to measure or verify necessary personnel requirements.Based on this hypothesis, the article advances the following proposal as a practical strategy for reducing working hours. First of all, it is necessary to accurately grasp the workers’ desired working hours and desired free time, and to correctly calculate the number of personnel required for businesses/organizations over the long term. In the process of personnel calculation and staffing, labor and management should make efforts to maintain not only time to spare for WLB but also time to spare for creative activities. Next, they should revise the present structure of discussion between labor and management ; instead of conducted discussions after excess overtime has occurred, new practices should be devised for conducting advance joint consultation before problems over working hours and required staffing occur.
In Germany in recent years, strikes over plant closures have been frequent. What is unexpected, however, is that these strikes first occurred in Germany only in 1998. Conventionally, when closing plants, a “social planning” mechanism has been used in which the employee representative committee and the employer agree on measures such as compensation and reemployment assistance, in accordance with the Works Constitution Act （if the two sides cannot agree, the arbitration committee creates a social plan）. However, at the time of negotiations, the employee representative committee is not authorized to strike, creating an important limitation.Therefore, in recent years, collective agreements may specify the contents of social planning. This collective agreement is called “social agreement”. Unlike social planning, employers and trade unions are the parties to negotiations, and trade unions can use the power of strikes to win compensation and other benefits that cannot be achieved through social planning.In this paper, we will examine specific cases of such strikes and various problems such as legal limitations.
In France, after the May 1968 demonstrations, trade union activities in companies were recognized. In particular, the General Confederation of Labour （Confédération Générale du Travail, CGT） had strongly demanded freedom of labor union activities within companies since shortly after the end of the Second World War. Today, in pursuit of “decentralization”, CGT has made company- or workplace-based organizations the basic units of union organization （syndicats）. When we focus on this point, it would seem that CGT has an organizational structure similar to that of national trade unions in Japan, which are composed of in-house unions. On the other hand, in terms of institutional conditions and ideas of unionism, the existence of nationwide collective agreements, and, in particular, pluralism, syndicalism has made a great difference. In addition, the rate of organized labor is about 8％ in France, which is lower than in Japan, where the rate has declined in recent years, but the French labor movement is more active than its Japanese counterpart in terms of indicators such as the number of labor disputes. In particular, CGT is well known in France for developing strong movements in the workplace and at the regional level. In this report, I would like to consider how the CGT movement takes the organizational form of “company unions”, while also referring to research on labor unions in postwar Japan.
This article presents a new perspective on welfare state development. It argues that trade policy regimes had a strong influence on the making of welfare policies such as social insurance and pension systems, or the regulation of minimum wages, in the period from the 1880s to 1914, when the prototypes of modern welfare states were built in industrialized Western countries.Based on an analysis covering major Western industrial countries, this article produces two important findings. First, there is a clear tendency that protectionist countries preceded free trade countries in introducing welfare policies. Second, free trade countries’ social insurance and pension systems were funded by the state to a far greater extent than those of protectionist countries. The background was that free trade countries facing severe international competition found it necessary to avoid heavy employer welfare-related burdens. In contrast, it was far easier for protectionist countries to create welfare systems funded mainly by the contributions of employers and employees. Only Australasian countries protected by both tariffs and transportation costs could effectively enforce minimum wages regulations covering large numbers of working people. These findings should contribute to a deeper understandings of the origins of the modern welfare state.
In this study the mechanism of employment formation at worksites in the retail industry is examined through case study analyses of three companies, two of them department stores and one a general supermarket. First, the nature of employee formation at worksites in the retail industry is extracted from secondary analyses of a questionnaire survey, conducted by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training in 2010, which reconfirmed the utilization of non-regular employees. It is also reconfirmed through case study analyses that business plans and profit controls exert a positive influence on utilizing non-regular employees as core workers. In addition to the above considerations, it is found that the way of sharing personnel information tends to differ between skill-based management and job-based management, and that the centralization of information and the degree of change in business plans are affected by increased numbers of in non-regular employees in a worksite.
In the reform of the social welfare corporation system, public interest activity is now legislated. Public interest activity has mainly been explored from the viewpoint of community-based welfare. This article examines the significance of public interest activity by a social welfare corporation in a community under decentralization from the perspective of local autonomy. It also proposes a hypothesis for empirical research.First, this paper theoretically systematizes public interest activity by using a definition of the “business domain.” Then, considering the environmental changes of communities under decentralization （the changes in the role of local government, municipal mergers and the reorganization of governance, and demands for regional revitalization）, the contribution to the policy-making process, the promotion of regional collaboration in a decentralized society, and the realization of “community empowerment” are examined. However, for these, not only organizational governance reform of the social welfare corporation but also organizational collaboration within the administration and public and private collaboration are indispensable. Therefore, reform of the social welfare corporation system also signifies that a role for local community management is required for local government.