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For Foreign Job Seekers > For foreigners working in Japan > Labour related laws you need to be aware of

Labour related laws you need to be aware of

This section explains some basic information briefly which should be recognized by foreigners working in Japan or intending to do so.


Foreign nationals who are permitted to work in Japan and those who are not.

When you look for a job.

Labour related laws you need to be aware of

When you resign from a company

Other insurance systems for workers


Labour related laws and regulations in Japan you need to be aware of

For those people working in Japan, the Labour Standards Law and other related laws prescribe the following provisions and "Guidelines concerning employment and working conditions for foreign workers." Employers should look closely at these provisions and respect them. (Excerpts)

  1. It is prohibited to discriminate against people because of their nationality.
    Also it is prohibited to discriminate by the reason that working conditions, etc. of the foreign national's home country are not as good as those in Japan. (Article 3 of the Labour Standards Law)
  2. Clear indication of working conditions.
    In concluding a labour contract, the employer must clearly indicate wages, working hours, etc. to the worker concerned.
    Regarding wages, in particular, it is necessary to indicate them clearly in writing. (Article 15 of the Labour Standards Law) .
    In finding employment, it is recommendable to make sure of essential working conditions such as wages, working hours, etc. by documents ( Employment notification ) etc., which show clearly the contents.
  3. Prohibition of forced labour, intermediary exploitation.
    The employer must not force labour upon workers by acts of violence or intimidation against the latter's will. Unless authorized under the law, he/she must not make a profit by intervening as a business in the employment of others. (Articles 5 and 6 of the Labour Standards Law).
  4. Prohibition of a contract which describes the payment of a penalty, damages, etc. for non-fulfillment of a contract.
    Making a contract which fixes in advance the payment of a penalty or damages for non-fulfillment of a contract on the part of the workers such as resignation before the completion of the contract period, etc. (Article 16 of the Labour Standards Law).
  5. Restrictions on the dismissals of workers who have been injured in an industrial accident and are under medical treatment.
    Dismissing a worker who has been injured or become sick in connection with his/her work and is absent from work in order to receive medical treatment is prohibited during such period of absence plus 30 days thereafter. (Article 19 of the Labour Standards Law).
  6. Advance notice of dismissal.
    In the case of dismissing a worker, the employer is required, in principle, to give the worker an advance notice of least 30 days before dismissal. In case an advance notice is not given at 30 days before dismissal, the employer must pay him/ her the amount of average wages for the number of days falling short of the 30 days dismissal notice allowance required by law. This shall not apply, however, in the case where the employer becomes unable to continue his/her business owing to uncontrollable circumstances such as national calamities, etc.,or where the employer dismisses the worker for reasons in which the worker is responsible for being dismissed. (Article 20 and 21 of the Labour Standards Law)
  7. Payment of wages
    Wages must be paid to the workers in currency, directly, in full, at least once a month, and on a fixed date. (Article 24 of the labour Standard law). Concerning the payment in full, however, exceptions are made such as statutory deductions for taxes, employment insurance and agreed deductions for union dues, etc.
    In case a worker resigns from his employer, the latter must pay the former outstanding wages, etc. within 7 days following the receiving of the former's request for payment. (Article 23 of the Labour Standard Law).
  8. Minimum wages
    The employers must pay his/her worker wages which is not less than the amount of minimum wages stated by the Minimum Wages Law. The amount of minimum wages is fixed according to regulations and industry.
  9. Working hours and holidays
    The statutory working hours are 8 hours, a day, 40 hours a week (for certain size and types of industry, 44 hours a week). (Articles 32,40 and 131 of the Labour Standard Law).
    The statutory holidays are one day a week, or 4 days or more in 4-weekperiod.(Article 35 of the Labour Standard Law).
  10. Extra pay for overtime, work on holidays and midnight work.
    In order to make a worker work in excess of the statutory working hours or on statutory holidays, it is necessary for the employer to comply with certain procedure prescribed by the law and regulations. (Article 36 of the labour Standard Law).
    For work done in excess of the statutory working hours, extra pay calculated at a 25% or more of the wages payable for the normal working hours or work day must be paid, and for work on statutory holidays, at least 35%.
    In addition, it is regarded necessary for workers to be paid extra pay calculated at a rate of 25% or more for working during midnight(between10p.m.and5 a.m.).(Article 37 of the Labour Standard Law).
  11. Annual leave with pay
    Annual leave with pay is to be given to workers who have been employed continuously for 6months, and have worked for 80% or more of the whole working days. (Article 39 of the labour Standard Law)
  12. Return of money and other goods
    Foreign nationals living in Japan always need carry with them their passport or certificate of alien registration. (Article 23 of the Immigration Control Law). Be careful not to entrust your passport with others.
    Also, when a worker resigns from a company, the employer must pay the former outstanding wages and any other kind of goods to which the former is entitled within 7 days following the receiving of the former's request for payment.(Article 23 of the Labour Standard Law).
  13. Industrial safety and health
    In order to secure the safety and the health of the workers, the Industrial Safety and Health Law prescribes the prevention of dangers or health impairment to workers. The Law also prescribes provision of industrial safety and health education (education at the time of hiring) as well as conducting of health examination.

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