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2013年6月 5日 (水)

限定正社員 制度導入への課題はなお多い

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 5, 2013
Not so fast on introduction of 'limited regular employees'
限定正社員 制度導入への課題はなお多い(6月4日付・読売社説)

Will it be a step toward expanding employment and better allocating human resources to growth areas?

The government’s Regulatory Reform Council is set to propose that so-called “gentei sei-shain” (limited regular corporate employees) be systemized as part of the nation’s growth strategies.

These employees would be limited in the types of duties they could perform, work locations and working hours. Just like full-fledged regular employees, workers holding this position would be covered by corporate welfare benefit programs and would not be subject to a set period of employment. These workers also are called “job-based” regular employees, which are common in the United States and Europe.

Although limited regular employees would be paid less than regular workers, their job status is considered more stable than that of nonregular employees. This category is expected to enable workers, who spend a considerable amount of time on child-rearing and nursing care, to choose a way to work that better fits their wishes.

Firms would also benefit

Many companies have introduced similar systems. But employment rules for such workers have not necessarily been established yet.

Institutionalizing limited regular workers is expected to bring nonregular employees, who now account for 35 percent of Japan’s workforce, a step closer to regular workers. The growing number of nonregular employees, whose salary is low and who can easily be shown the door during corporate restructuring, is considered a factor behind the nation’s sluggish consumption.

If work duties are limited to certain areas, employees’ specialized fields would be clarified. Some could utilize the system to build their careers, and it could be an advantage if they change jobs.

Furthermore, if the system of limited regular employees takes root, it would benefit companies. When companies shut down some outlets or abolish certain job categories whose objectives have been completed, they could dismiss those employees more easily than regular workers, whose employment would be protected through such steps as transfers to different departments.

The envisaged system would remedy the current situation in which unprofitable divisions groan under an excess of workers.

But many challenges remain before the new position can be institutionalized. The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) has taken umbrage with the fact that the limited regular employee system is being studied to ease rules covering worker dismissal. The labor organization has voiced opposition, saying that companies could fire employees just for their own convenience when factories or offices are shuttered. It denounced the system as “a liberalization of policies on firing workers.”

Clear rules needed

Many companies are worried about the increasing risk of facing a lawsuit over staff dismissals.

The Regulatory Reform Council is calling on the government to establish clear rules on such matters as in what cases companies could dismiss limited regular employees.

We think the envisaged system should not be allowed to facilitate easy restructuring, which would rather destabilize the employment situation.

How can shifting labor from structurally depressed industries to growth industries be promoted without increasing unemployment? Crafting a highly fluid labor market is essential for the revival of the nation’s economy.

To help laid-off workers find new careers, the government and companies also need to strengthen job placement and training services.

We hope discussions will deepen from broad viewpoints, not only regarding employment but also including economic growth and the international competitiveness of Japan’s industries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 4, 2013)
(2013年6月4日01時12分  読売新聞)


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