Masterlist of Questions

In doubt? Know the Law! Send your question(s) to (Note: Your name, company , or email will be kept confidential unless of course you tell us otherwise!)

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Employers' Duty of Care to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

What are the legal obligations of employers in terms of making their workplace a safe place to work during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Head of HR


Defining Disadvantageous Treatment Due to Maternity Leave

I have a female employee returning from maternity leave. Before her maternity leave, she had two teams reporting to her. While she was on leave, we hired a new batch of new employees to add to one of the teams and would now like this team to report to another manager. Are there any legal implications for us as employers changing the reporting line while she's on maternity leave? Her role hasn't changed.

HR Director 


Legal Implications on Changing Employee's Reporting Line

I have a female employee returning from maternity leave. Before commencing maternity leave she had two teams reporting to her. Since being on maternity leave, we have hired another 5 employees to one of the teams and would now like this team to report to another manager. Are there any legal implications for us as employers changing the reporting line while she's on maternity leave? Her role hasn't changed.

Business Owner

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Q20-001 Recruitment Regulations
What are some of the key recruitment regulations in Japan that employers need to understand? Recruitment Manager
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Laws on Retirement Age Workers
Are there laws that apply to and can guide companies employing near-retiree or retiree-age workers?  Labor Relations Consultant
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New Law for the Promotion of Work Style Reform
What are the steps organizations need to take to manage the new changes to Japan's labor laws that took effect in April 2019?

HR Administrator
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Legal Issues Regarding Social Media Recruiting
What are the legal issues HR needs to consider when using social media to promote their employer brand? Marketing Manager

Legal Measures to Address Negative Behavior and Create a Positive Environment at Work

What legal measures can businesses use to address negative behavior in the workplace? At the same time, are there legal measures that can help create a positive work environment?

Undisclosed Sender

Laws and Policies Affecting LGBTQ Workers in Japan
What are the laws and policies affecting LGBTQ rights in the workplace that employers in Japan should know about?


Recent Amendments to the Act on the Protection of Personal Information

What does the amendment to the Omnibus Data Protection Law mean for multinational employers with operations in Japan?

CEO of a BPO Company

Labor Law Issues in Mergers & Acquisitions
What are the key labor law issues in mergers & acquisitions that companies in Japan should prepare for? For instance, which employee policies will be dominant, the acquiring company's or the acquired organization's?
HR Head

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Employers' Duties in Preventing Overwork
December last year, the labor ministry unveiled emergency measures that are hoped to prevent deaths associated with overwork. The government is also preparing to map out new policies after January, reports say as of presswork.

In the meantime, what are legal duties and information companies should know about preventing illegal or unhealthy long hours of work?

Concerned Employee

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The Article 36 of the Japan Labor Standards Law

What are some of the downsides for employees that come with Article 36 agreements?

Company Staff

The New Pension Functional Enhancement Law Nenkin Kinō Kyoka Hō 年金機能強化法

List of questions about the new pension functional enhancement law in Japan

Peter Lackner


Menstrual leave or physiological leave in Japan

I have employees in Japan that are inquiring if they receive menstrual leave or physiological leave based on Japan labor law. Could you please assist if this is mandatory to provide to female employees and how many days in a year can they get for such leave?

Human Resources Management

Obligations in Handling Personal Information How strict are Japanese privacy laws? As a business, what are our legal obligations on establishing a company privacy policy?
Change Management Consultant


Down-sizing/right-sizing exercise in Domestic (Japan) and International locations

 We are currently planning on doing a reduction-in-force (RIF) or down-sizing/right-sizing exercise across our domestic (Japan) and international locations in the US, UK, and Brazil. What are the basic things that we need to keep in mind or do in order to make this process successful (ie, no lawsuits against the company)?

Global HR Manager, Japanese Retail Company


Contract Cessation for Employee on Fixed-term and Open Employment Contract

We started an employee on a 1-year fixed-term contract with stated termination notice period for 1-month. Can we do a contractual cessation before the contract 1-year period is over (eg. 6 months) by giving/paying in-lieu-of the 1-month notice?

If we were to offer an open employment contract (not fixed-term), can we separate the employee (in the event if he/she didn’t work out) during a 3 or 6-month probation through a contractual cessation – simply pay-in-lieu of the termination notice of 1 month or do we have to go through Performance Improvement Plan, etc.?

HR Director

Dismissed part-time employee due to hospital treatments Is it okay in Japan to dismiss the contract of a part time employee for being hospitalized without giving notice of dismissal?  If this isn’t allowed, do I have any options to recover my loss of earning etc?
Part-time teacher in Japan


Dealing with Mental Illness in the Workplace in Japan
We have a newly hired employee that just got diagnosed with a form of mental illness (適応障害 or adjustment disorder). Can you advise what is the best way to handle this situation? Should we let him go? If so, what's the best reason for doing so? What are the company's obligations under this kind of situation?

CEO, Technical Consulting Company

Employment Contracts in Japan
List of general questions about employment contracts in Japan
HR Senior Manager
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Paid Annual Leaves for Fixed-term Contract Employees

We hired someone to fill in for a full-time employee on leave for a year. The initial agreement was a fixed-term contract of six months, with five days of paid annual leaves. However, it has become necessary to extend the contract for another six months. We were planning on giving an additional five days of paid annual leaves, which would result in a total of 10 days for the year. The law stipulates that workers who have worked for six months are entitled to 10 days of paid annual leaves. Is our paid annual leaves benefit legally compliant?

Human Resources generalist of a financial firm

Without a Union What Approach Does Management Take? I work for a foreign company in Japan that has about 100 employees. We don’t have a labor union. In this case, what approach does management normally take to satisfy the legal requirement of consulting with labor representatives? Also, what kinds of things are not permitted?
HR staff at a foreign company


Collective Bargaining in Japan
I want to know, how collective bargaining goes in Japan.  What is the power of union officials who negotiate with the employer? In case there are no union representatives like in small companies, how collective bargaining works for them? Are there important agreements about issues and negotiations, existing and potential conflicts that have recently concluded in Japan?

French journalist living in Tokyo


Disaster Prevention Measures in Japan

May I Know if Disaster Prevention Measures is a compulsory regulation or a rule for every company in Tokyo to practice?

Senior HR Manager, Global Corporate Marketing Company


Providing free annual check-ups among employees in Japan

Is it really true that employers in Japan are required by law to provide free annual health check ups for their employees? If so, do employees have the right under the law not to show the results of the exams to their employers even though the employers paid for their health check ups? What's the usual practice in Japan anyways?

An Employee Concerned About My Privacy


Board of Director position offered to an HR Head

I am being offered by my company a Board of Director position in addition to my role as HR Head. I think this is a great chance for HR to have a seat on the board but I'm concerned about the legal risks on me as a "person" especially if my name will appear on the company registration document. Can you advise what are the legal responsibilities or duties that I should be aware of and how to mitigate any risks that I maybe exposing myself into if I accept this additional role?

HR Director, Retail Fashion Company


Union shop and Dues check off system in Japan
If a company has a "union shop" and "dues check off" system, is it still possible for that company to campaign to be union-free? Will this be considered a form of "union busting"? What penalties can a company face under such conditions? Also, when a union demands to meet for collective bargaining by a certain date, does a company need to meet them by that date or can it be made flexible depending on the company's readiness to meet them?

Employee/Union Relations Manager, Pharma Company


Approval of New Work/Employment Rules
I heard that when a company submits its new or revised Rules of Employment (or Work Rules) to the relevant Labor Inspection Office, the approval can be done on-the-spot and takes less than hour to do so. Is this true? What is the correct procedure in filing a new or revised Work Rules anyways? What does a company need to do?

Regional HR Manager of an IT Company


Withdrawing a Job Offer in Japan

In Japan, when an informal employment offer is made to a prospective employee and is later withdrawn (for any reason) before the employee starts to work, can this potential employee claim any compensation, especially if she resigned from her current employer? If so, how much is the usual compensation for this kind of situation?

HR Manager, Telecom Company


Child care leave changes and Job description changes

When employee applies for unpaid child care leave but now wish to return earlier, can the employer stick to the original end date? At the same time, due to business needs, there is a change to the current employee (who is on unpaid child care leave) job description and responsibilities, can the company change the job description during his/her absence on child care leave?

Vice President of Human Resources Department


Reporting work Hours in Japan

I would like to know the basic guidelines on how employees should report their working hours? Does it vary depending on the position of the employees in the company?  Also, what constitutes employees’ working hours, e.g. commuting to work, commuting to a client, working from home, and/or thinking about work?

Regional HR Manager, Technology Company


Terminating an Employee in Japan Due to Poor Performance

What legal actions can we take against an employee who has been under-performing? Although, we constantly make efforts to address this non-performance issue such as doing performance reviews & setting realistic deadlines for him to improve, we see no significant improvements. We also discovered recently that this employee is making unauthorized sales deals to customers--deals that could make serious problems and could put our company at risk--that are actually violations of our company’s regulations. My biggest concern is that this employee could be a threat to our business. What is the most legal and effective way of terminating this employee?

General Manager, European Telecom Company

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Employment Insurance

We are a UK-based company with a subsidiary in Japan.  According to our current Managing Director, if he will be appointed as ‘employer’/managing director of our new KK company in January 2012,  he will still be covered by Social Security, but he will NOT  be covered by Employment insurance since he will be so called ‘employer.’  Since he will not be covered by the Employment Insurance, he wants our company to pay for the unemployment insurance benefit in case he gets out of job.

My question is that, can he be covered by the government Employment Insurance? Is Employment insurance part of Social Security benefit which is mandated by Japan labor law?

President/Managing Director/Employer of the UK-based company,

 Q11-004  Terminating Employees Under Probation

I work at a Tokyo branch of a US-based company.  We have a serious problem with an employee who is still within their probation period.  I would just like to get the correct legal procedures for dismissing this employee -- my understanding is that it's required to provide 30 days notice of termination to the employee.  Are there any other requirements for termination?

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 Q11-003 Employment Contracting in Japan

We are a US-based company with a project in Japan.  I would like to hire an engineering person to work on this project (approximately 9-12 months).  I have a person in mind who is a Japanese citizen and living in the country. Can I hire this individual as an independent contractor under a consulting agreement? Are there employment regulations that cover this situation? I want to do what is correct for the situation.  My preference is to issue an agreement from our US company.  One other option would be to have the person hired by a third party and billed to us. What are the benefits or pitfalls of each approach?

HR Vice President, US-based Construction Company
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 Q11-002 Unpaid compensation

What are employees’ rights when an employer delays or defaults on payment and what are the appropriate legal steps to pursue to quickly resolve such an issue?

 Unpaid Salaryman
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 Q11-001  Long-term Disability/ Sickness

I would like to know what an employer can do in Japan if an employee is consecutively on sick leave. Can the Company terminate his employment?

Global HR, Lifescience Company
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The advice, views, and/or opinions expressed by the author(s) are for general informational purposes only and are not meant to substitute for more comprehensive legal advice from a qualified legal professional.

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