Legal change will make temp purgatory permanent for many Japanese workers

Eight years ago, a TV drama about temporary workers generated a great deal of excitement around Japan. In “Haken no Hinkaku” (“Dignity of a Temp”), model-actress-singer Ryoko Shinohara played Haruko Omae, a “super-temp” who masterfully tackled the myriad troubles that arose in her ¥3,000-an-hour job. Unshakable, aloof and playing by her own rules, she performed better than any of the regular employees, refused all overtime and off-the-clock socialization, and shunned flattery and fake smiles to boot.

Unfortunately, the drama did not reflect reality. In real life, critics said, such a temp worker (haken shain) would have been fired on the spot, and regardless of skill level, temp workers tend to be seen as outsiders and are treated worse than regular workers.

On Wednesday, recent revisions to the Worker Dispatch Law go into effect. There was chaotic debate in the Diet over this bill, just as there was with the security bills, but in the end the ruling coalition dealt with it in the same way as it has other unpopular measures: by pushing it through with their majority in both chambers.

Let’s look at the details of the changes.

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Tozen Vlog for May 18, 2014

Mazda temp-staff practice ruled illegal

Mazda temp-staff practice ruled illegal Yamaguchi court: Displaced 13 should be regular employees http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/03/14/national/mazda-temp-staff-practice-ruled-illegal/#.UVFDtL8WZZJ YAMAGUCHI – The Yamaguchi District Court ruled Wednesday that Mazda Motor Corp.’s temp-staff employment practice is illegal and recognized regular employee status for 13 former temp-staff workers displaced by the automaker. The rare recognition that displaced temporary workers should be regular employees … Read more