Vol.33-No.11 November 1,1994
In this situation, the ministry drew up the Bill Concerning Improvement of Employment Management of Short-time Workers (Part-time Labor Law) in view of a report by the Study Group Regarding Part-time Worker Issues and presented it to the Diet. The bill became law and went into effect on Dec. 1, 1993. The Basic Policy, formulated in August 1994, clearly sets forth the future direction of measures to deal with short-time labor issues based upon Article 5 of the Law. The Basic Policy gains deeper insights into trends in awareness of part-time workers and analyzes current issues. Recognizing part-timers, who have tended to grow even in the 3-year-long recession, as an important form of employment, the Basic Policy points out such measures to be taken as the following. First, assuring adequate working conditions including working hours, wages, and physical checkups. Second, improving the work environment, through implementation of education and training or improvements in welfare provisions. Third, resolving lack of information and knowledge about the labor market. Despite growth in the number and importance of part-time workers, many employers hire these workers, telling them working conditions only orally, not in writing, which causes troubles constantly. Pointing this out specifically, the Basic Policy recommends the spread of "notices of employment" which clearly states important aspects of working conditions, such as wages and working hours, and "model rules of employment" for part-timers.
Furthermore, the gap in education and training as well as welfare provisions still remains wide. In view of this, the Basic Policy suggests that the ministry actively develop support measures and policies such as "subsidies for improvement in employment management of short-time workers at smaller-scale firms." Also, it suggests enterprises be given guidance to voluntarily tackle rectification of the gap between part-time and regular workers on condition that part-timers be treated in the same manner as regular staff. The Basic Policy also incorporates more substantive vocational training courses to be offered at public vocational ability development institutions to upgrade the ability of part-timers.
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