Legislative Issues of the Working Hours System for White Collar Workers

Author Name SHIMADA Yoichi  (Waseda University)
Creation Date/NO. February 2010 10-J-015
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White collar work is not formulaic labor like factory work and simple paperwork, but non-formulaic labor that does not fit with regulations under the current legislative system. The discrepancy between the reality and regulations covering the working hours of white collar workers has become conspicuous as a result, making it is necessary to develop a scheme that is geared to the nature of white collar work and that can effectively control their long working hours. More specifically, as white collar work does not fit in with formulaic working hour regulations, a new system should be broadly applied to white collar workers by exempting them from the current working hour regulations. This new working hour system must be capable of guaranteeing the personal time necessary for them to protect their health and achieve a work-life balance, using a method different from regulations on the length of working hours. Therefore, measures to guarantee holidays and vacations and maintain health and safety need to be included in the scope of this system. Although laws should determine procedures and general conditions for the introduction of this working hours system, how to operate the system specifically, including the determination of the scope of coverage, should be left to the collective autonomy between labor and management at a company level. For this system to become reality, the establishment of collective communication between labor and management at the company level will be critical.