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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 22 - 28  > Major insurance company illegally forces workers to work long hours: JCP Koike
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2017 March 22 - 28 [LABOR]

Major insurance company illegally forces workers to work long hours: JCP Koike

March 23, 2017
Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Koike Akira on March 22 at a House Welfare and Labor Committee meeting revealed that Japan’s major non-life insurance company, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., abuses the so-called discretionary work system with the aim to force its workers to work overtime without pay.

Under the discretionary work structure, workers are “deemed” to have worked for the number of hours agreed upon between labor and management and are not paid for overtime work. The Labor Standards Law allows employers to apply the system to workers whose jobs require specialized skills and knowledge as well as to workers doing certain types of tasks such as planning, design, and R&D.

At the committee meeting, Koike indicated that 6,374 of the 19,000 Sompo Japan employees are working under this unfair work arrangement. Koike pointed out, “However, the figure includes a number of workers doing clerical and sales work to which the discretionary system is not applicable. In addition, the company implemented the structure on workers who didn’t express their consent.”

Koike referred to a case where a worker said “no” to joining the discretionary system, and the boss replied, “You care about your job, right? So you are certainly subject to the system.” Koike also pointed out that the insurance firm forced workers with less than four years of service to work under this work schedule.

Criticizing Sompo Japan for exploiting the discretionary program, Koike urged the Labor Minister to conduct an investigation into the matter and order the company to stop abusing the system.

Labor Minister Shiozaki Yasuhisa said that the ministry will reprimand the firm if it finds any violations.
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