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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 15 - 21  > Gov’t seeks to set overtime at 720 hours a year, two times longer than current limit
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2017 February 15 - 21 [LABOR]

Gov’t seeks to set overtime at 720 hours a year, two times longer than current limit

February 16, 2017
The Abe government at a meeting of the Prime Minister’s advisory panel on labor policies on February 14 proposed a revision of the annual upper limit for overtime from the current 360 hours to 720 hours.

At present, the ceiling on overtime is set by the non-binding Labor Ministry’s recommendation which limits overtime to 45 hours a month, 360 hours a year. However, Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act permits employers to have employees work extra hours as long as necessary if they conclude a labor-management agreement. Under these circumstances, Japan’s long work hours will remain unchanged and may even be increased.

The government proposal recognizes the binding annual overtime cap at 360 hours while pointing to the need to permit 720 hours of overtime a year as an exception.

Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Chairman Sakakibara Sadayuki in the Council meeting on February 14 said, “Tighter limits on overtime work will undermine corporate competitiveness.”

Given the fact that annual overtime of 720 hours already became a standard among major companies including those whose executives play a role in Keidanren, it is questionable whether the government proposal will work to protect workers from long work hours.

Past related articles:
> JCP Takahashi demands legal limit for overtime hours [October 13, 2016]
> Gov’t inability to respond coherently revealed by JCP Koike’s questioning in Diet [October 9, 2016]
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