Although regulatory reforms of employment and labor have been discussed at the Cabinet level, discussions on working hours only began this fall at the Labour Policy Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. In the November issue of the RIETI Report, we present Faculty Fellow Kotaro Tsuru's column "How Shall We Proceed with the Reform of Working Hours?" in which he raises the question of why working hours reform is necessary in Japan now and gives us the points for future discussion.
Tsuru provides an extensive overview of the issues Japan faces in this area. He compares Japan's working hours regulation with those overseas, particularly in European countries, to find suggestions to address the situation. Furthermore, Tsuru brings up the challenges Japan faces in introducing reform, but points to three clear areas where such reform should be pursued: 1) regulations to secure workers' health and safety, 2) compensation for overtime work, and 3) exemptions from the statutory working hour limit. The issues discussed will allow readers to ponder on the future of working hours reform, and it is hoped that labor and management will hold fundamental discussions from a broader perspective.
This month's featured article
How Shall We Proceed with the Reform of Working Hours?
Although regulatory reforms of employment and labor have been discussed at the government's Council for Industrial Competitiveness and the Council for Regulatory Reform, discussions on working hours only began this fall at the Labour Policy Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW). RIETI's Reform of Labor Market Institutions Project, in which I serve as the project leader, compiled proposals for working hours reform about three years ago, and has published a book containing these proposals (Note 1). The proposals in this project still appear to be meaningful now. In this article, I will summarize the points for future discussions based on the proposals.