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Japan - Minimum Wages - 2011


LAST UPDATE

27 November 2011

SOURCES


Name of Act

Minimum Wages Act, Law No. 137 of April 15, 1959. As amended to Law No. 26 dated 2 May 2008. Published by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (2011) at www.jil.go.jp and accessed 22 November 2011.

Name of Act

Labor Standards Act No. 49 of 7 April 1947, 2006 edition incorporating amendedments up to Act No. 147 of 2004. Published by the Cabinet Secretariat at http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/hourei/data/LSA.pdf and accessed 28 November 2011.

Other source used

List of Regional Minimum Wages for financial years 2006-2009. Published by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare at www.mhlw.go.jp and accessed 22 November 2011.

Other source used

Section 4.4 ’Wages’, excerpt from ’Investing in Japan - How to Set Up Business in Japan: Laws & Regulations on Setting Up Business in Japan’. Published by the Japan External Trade Organization at www.jetro.go.jp and accessed 22 November 2011.

LEGAL DEFINITIONS


Employee/worker

Worker means one who is employed at an enterprise or place of business and receives wages there from, without regard to the kind of occupation, excluding persons employed in businesses or offices employing only family members residing together and domestic employees.
Labor Standards Act 1947 §9
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §2(1)

Employer

Employer means the owner or manager of the enterprise or any other person who acts on behalf of the owner of the enterprise in matters concerning the workers of the enterprise.
Labor Standards Act 1947 §10
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §2(2)

Wage

Wage means the wage, salary, allowance, bonus, and every other payment to the worker from the employer as remuneration for labour, regardless of the name by which such payment may be called.
Labor Standards Act 1947 §11
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §2(3)

MINIMUM WAGE FIXING


Procedure


Government decides after tripartite or bipartite body discussions/recommendations

The Minimum Wages Act provides for 2 different categories of minimum wages:
1. regional minimum wages, which are to be decided across the board for each region nationwide; and
2. special minimum wages, which may be set for specified businesses or occupations on the application of interested parties.

Both categories of minimum wages shall be set by the the Minister of Health, Labour & Welfare, or the Directors of the Prefectural Labour Offices, following an investigation and inquiry of the Central or Prefectural Minimum Wages Council for each region, which shall be composed of an equal number of members representing respectively workers, employers and the public interest.

The Minimum Wages Council shall be requested to conduct an investigation and inquiry with respect to all regional minimum wage reviews and, if the Minister or Directors considers it necessary, with respect to an application for a special minimum wage. Once its investigation and inquiry is conducted, the Council then submits its opinion on the regional or special minimum wage to the Minister or Directors.

Upon receipt of the Minimum Wages Council’s opinion, the Minister or Directors shall:
(a) if compliance with the opinion is deemed difficult - request another inquiry of the Council, stating the reasons; and
(b) give public notice of the summary of the opinion.

Interested workers and employers may then file objections within 15 days of the public notice. Any objections received must be referred to the Minimum Wages Council for its opinion concerning the objection.

Once the period for filing objections has passed and, if relevant, the Minimum Wages Council has submitted its opinion on any objections raised, the Minister or Directors shall make a decision in relation to the minimum wage and give public notice of its decision. The decision will come into effect:
(a) if setting a revised minimum wage - 30 days after the date on which public notice is given; and
(b) if abolishing the minimum wage - on the date on which public notice is given.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §§9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22

Criteria


Cost of living

Regional minimum wages shall be specified with consideration given to the cost of living in the region.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §9(2)

Level of wages and incomes in the country

Regional minimum wages shall be specified with consideration given to the wages of workers in the region.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §9(2)

Social security benefits

When considering the cost of living of workers for the purposes of regional minimum wages, consideration shall be given to consistency with welfare benefit policies, in order to enable workers to maintain a minimum standard of wholesome and cultured living.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §9(3)

Capacity of employers to pay

Regional minimum wages shall be specified with consideration given to the capacity of ordinary businesses to pay wages.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §9(2)

Other provisions

No criteria identified with respect to setting special minimum wages.

Coverage


Scope

The minimum wages set under the Minimum Wages Act apply to all workers who are employed at an enterprise or place of business and receives wages there from, without regard to the kind of occupation, excluding persons employed in businesses or offices employing only family members residing together and domestic employees.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §2(1)
Labor Standards Act 1947 §9

Excluded categories


» Workers

Workers employed in businesses or offices employing only family members residing together are excluded from the protection of the Minimum Wages Act.

Employers may obtain approval from the Director of the Prefectural Labour Bureau to pay a reduced minimum wage rate to:
(i) workers who have an extremely small capacity for work due to a mental or physical disability;
(ii) workers in a probationary period;
(iii) workers provided by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare who receive vocational training having them acquiring the basic skills and knowledge necessary for their jobs, subject to authorization referred to in 124(1) of the Human Resources Development Promotion Act 1969;
(iv) workers engaged in light work, and other workers as provided for by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §§2(1), 7
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» Sectors

Regional minimum wages do not apply to mariners who are covered by the Mariners Act 1947 and special arrangements exist in relation to setting and enforcing minimum wages for mariners.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §§35, 36, 37
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» Occupations

Domestic workers are excluded from the protection of the Minimum Wages Act.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §2(1)

» Other Provisions

The minimum wage rates set under the Minimum Wages Act do not apply to:
(a) wages paid at intervals exceeding one month, as provided by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare;
(b) wages paid for times other than normal working hours or working days, as provided by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; and
(c) wages specified not to be included in the minimum wages concerned.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §4(3)

Specific minimum wage rates


» Specific minimum wage by occupation

Special minimum wage rates may be set for certain businesses or occupations, upon application by any person who represents either all or some of the workers or employers in the relevant business or occupation.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §15(1)
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» Specific minimum wage by region

Regional minimum wages shall be decided across the board for each region nationwide.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §9(1)

» Minimum wage levels for specific categories of workers


» Trainees

Subject to the approval from the Director of the Prefectural Labour Bureau, employers may pay workers who receive vocational training a reduced minimum wage rate. This rate is to be calculated by multiplying the otherwise applicable minimum wage amount by the rate specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §7
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» Domestic Workers

Domestic workers are expressly excluded from the scope of the Minimum Wages Act.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §2(1)

» Disabled

Subject to the approval from the Director of the Prefectural Labour Bureau, employers may pay workers who have an extremely small capacity for work due to a mental or physical disability a reduced minimum wage rate. This rate is to be calculated by multiplying the otherwise applicable minimum wage amount by the rate specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §7
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» Piece-rate workers

Employers must guarantee to piece rate workers a fixed amount of wages proportionate to working hours.
Labor Standards Act 1947 §27

Level


Minimum wage level(s) in national currency

The regional minimum wage rate for Tokyo is 821 yen per hour.
Excerpt from ’Investing in Japan’ - JETRO Section 4.4.2 - Guarantee of minimum wage

Last minimum wage update

September 2010
Excerpt from ’Investing in Japan’ - JETRO Section 4.4.2 - Guarantee of minimum wage

In-kind allowances

Wages may be paid in a form other than currency only when permitted by laws, regulations or collective agreement, or in cases where a reliable method of payment of wages, defined by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, is provided for. Partial deductions from wages may be permitted in cases otherwise provided for by laws and regulations or in cases where there exists a written agreement with a labour union which, or person who, represents a majority of workers at the workplace.

In case wages are paid in anything other than currency or in case prices of food and other things furnished by an employer to workers are deducted from wages, the value attributed to these things shall be fair and reasonable in applying the minimum wages.
Labor Standards Act 1947 §24(1)
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §5

Rate of payment


» Monthly

Wages shall be paid at least once a month at a definite date.
Labor Standards Act 1947 §24(2)
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Scheduled frequency of adjustment

No statutory frequency of adjustment identified. However, the regional minimum wages were adjusted annually from at least 2005 to 2010.
List of Regional Minimum Wages for FY2005-2009
Excerpt from ’Investing in Japan’ - JETRO

Enforcement mechanisms


Labour inspection

Enforcement of the Minimum Wages Act is the responsibility of the Chiefs of the Labour Standards Inspection Offices and the Labour Standards Inspectors.

In so far as it is necessary to achieve the purposes of the Act, Labour Standards Inspectors may:
(a) enter establishments or business offices of employers;
(b) inspect records, documents and other things; and
(c) put questions to persons concerned; and
(d) perform the duties of a judicial police officer under the Criminal Procedure Act 1948 with regards to crimes in contravention of the Act.

Alleged violations may be reported by workers to the Directors of the Prefectural Labour Bureaus, the Chief of the Labour Standards Inspection Office or Labour Standards Inspectors.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §§31, 32, 33, 34

Fines in national currency for non-respect of legislation

Any individual convicted of violating the Minimum Wages Act shall be punished as follows:
(a) for dismissing or giving disadvatageous treatment to a worker by reason of the worker reporting an alleged violation of the Act to any of the relevant bodies - by a fine not exceeding 300,000 yen (or up to 6 months imprisonment);
(b) for failing to pay wages equal to or greater than the minimum wage amount to workers covered by the minimum wage - by a fine not exceeding 500,000 yen;
(c) for failing to inform workers of applicable minimum wages, by posting information continuously at conspicuous places in workplaces and by other means - by a fine not exceeding 300,000 yen;
(d) for failing to report, or falsely reporting, to the Minister or Directors as required under §29 of the Act - by a fine not exceeding 300,000 yen;
(e) for refusing, impeding or evading an inspection, or failing to make a statement or making a false statement to questions asked by Labour Standards Inspectors - by a fine not exceeding 300,000 yen; or
(f) for failing to pay wages in accordance with the requirements of the Labor Standards Act pertaining to method and timing of payment, payment of piece-rate workers, emergency payments and absences allowances - by a fine not exceeding 300,000 yen.
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §§4(1), 8, 29, 32(1), 34(2), 39, 40, 41
Labor Standards Act 1947 §§24, 25, 26, 27, 120(i)

Other penalties

Any individual convicted of dismissing or giving disadvatageous treatment to a worker by reason of the worker reporting an alleged violation of the Minimum Wages Act to any of the relevant bodies shall be punished by up to 6 months imprisonment (or a fine not exceeding 300,000 yen).
Minimum Wages Act 1959 §§34(2), 39

Results generated on: 21st November 2014 at 03:22:27.
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