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Government panel promotes limited regular worker model

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese government panel on regulatory reform will accelerate discussions to encourage more companies to adopt limited regular employment, or the status of regular employees with limits on work location or hours.

The Regulatory Reform Promotion Council intends to call on the government to establish rules on adopting limited regular workers, such as banning treatment that causes disadvantages to such workers, as part of proposals it plans to submit in June, according to informed sources.

Limited regular employment refers to the status of workers with limits on duties, work locations or work hours while the contracts are without fixed time limits.

The government has been urging companies to introduce limited regular employment as it believes that this work style will make it easier for people currently working on limited terms for family reasons, such as part-time workers, to switch to regular employment.

The government also hopes limited regular workers will help solve labor shortages.

The circumstances surrounding such workers, however, are still unstable. The panel pointed out that work conditions such as work locations are not specifically set out in labor contracts in many cases.

To deal with the challenge, the panel, headed by Hiroko Ota, professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, plans to ask the government to establish rules, including banning disadvantageous treatment, making clear work conditions and smoothly enabling limited regular workers to switch to unlimited regular worker status and vice versa.

Creating such rules, however, may not be easy, with both management and labor cautious about establishing rules.

At Thursday’s public debate of the panel, representatives of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, argued that each company should have its own rules based on its own reality, brushing aside calls for uniform government-led rules.

The labor ministry also sounded supportive of management and labor.

It is important for each company to decide rules through management-labor consultations although it is desirable to clarify employment conditions, a ministry official said at the public debate.

The panel plans to hear more opinions mainly from companies that already hire limited regular workers.Speech

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