Expected Tightening of Employment Regulations and the Reality We Need to Look Straight

Author Name KOJIMA Noriaki  (Osaka University)
Creation Date/NO. April 2011 11-J-058
Research Project Reform of Labor Market Institutions
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Many people consider the softening of regulations under the Agency Work Law as excessive deregulation. However, the tightening of regulations that are currently under way or are expected to be implemented in the field of employment laws is more properly called excessive regulation.

The typical form of non-regular employment is part-time employment, but agency work accounts for only one-ninth of part-time employment. Excluding students and people 65 or older, growth in non-regular employment has clearly been slowing in recent years.

Even though casual employment has increased, regular employment has grown at a faster pace. For both men and women, regular employees account for a historically high percentage of total employment. Although for women, growth in casual employment has surpassed that for men, there has been a major decline in unpaid family workers. If one considers that these unpaid family workers have become paid casual employees, it is not necessarily true that unstable employment has increased.

In the debate regarding the strengthening of regulations of non-regular employment, many people are swept away by momentary arguments charged with emotions and based on impressions, and they are not properly aware of these facts. In fact, when it comes to the agency workers, which has become the target of efforts to strengthen regulations, there is conspicuous excessive regulation. In terms of work related to the operation of office equipment, the typical type of work for agency workers, there is a strange phenomenon that the number of agency workers continues to decline even though the economy has slightly recovered.

It is expected that after the strengthening of regulations under the Agency Work Law, the tightening of regulations of fixed-term employment, that is the restricting the case of concluding the fixed-term employment contract to temporary jobs will be implemented. It is, however, overly optimistic to assume that restricting fixed-term employment will lead to an increase in regular employment. Without an appropriate level of regulation, workplaces will not be able to cope with these regulations. This must not be forgotten.