Extent of Protection
The Reform Act amended the Part-Time/Fixed-Term Employment Act and the Worker Dispatch Act, which came into effect in April 2020, has introduced the requirement for workers to receive fair and equal treatment, irrespective of their job status. Furthermore, the Act prohibits any irrational disparity between ‘regular’ and ‘non-regular’ employees.
With regards to part-time/fixed-term employees, an employer is prohibited from differentiating the base salary, bonus and other benefits, in such a manner that there exists an unreasonable difference between part-time/fixed-term employees and regular employees.
With regards to dispatch employees, the dispatching company is obliged to ensure the equal or balanced treatment of dispatched workers, wherein the non-dispatched workers are treated equally or as a result of satisfying the requisite conditions, affording fair and equal treatment protections, in accordance with the provisions established under a labour-management agreement
The guidelines corresponding to the amended Act, set out the basic criteria for salaries and benefits, education, training and welfare entitlements, together with concrete examples of reasonable and unreasonable treatment, differentiating between regular and non-regular employees.
A non-regular employee may bring a claim against the employer by filing a civil lawsuit before the appropriate court, or through a petition for proceedings before the appropriate labour tribunal.
The amended Act developed administrative Alternative Dispute Resolution (administrative ADR) mechanisms to cover situations of equal treatment of non-regular employees (part-time/fixed-term employees and dispatch employees), in order to provide assistance to non-regular employees to settle disputes in a prompt and efficient manner, and without the involvement of court proceedings.
The amended Act does not impose statutory sanctions or penalties with regards to non-compliance of equal treatment of non-regular employees. The amended Act only provides for the administrative advice, guidance and/or recommendations.
To date, we do not have any noteworthy enforcement pronouncements or ongoing litigation relating to the equal pay practices which came into force in April 2020, to report.
Japanese law does not impose upon employers, any mandatory obligations to undertake positive actions with respect to pay discrimination, gender equality or equal pay.