Japan: Improving the Treatment of Non Regular Workers

While Japan has seen an increase in the number of non-regular workers (part-time, fixed-term or dispatched workers), the terms and conditions of employment have traditionally been inferior to those offered to regular employees. Japan has recently amended the Act on Improvement of Employment Management for Part Time and Fixed Term Workers and established the Act on Improvement of Employment Management for Part Time and Fixed Term workers. These measures are aimed at ensuring that non-regular workers are treated no less favourably than regular workers with substantially similar employment circumstances. Continue reading

Japan: Increased Protection for Fixed Term Employees

In an earlier bulletin, we looked at a landmark Tokyo District Court decision that clarified the circumstances under which benefits given to permanent employees but not to fixed term employees could amount to “unreasonable differences” in labour conditions, which are prohibited by Article 20 of the Labour Contract Act.

On 1 June 2018, the Supreme Court of Japan delivered its first judgment on this issue. Continue reading

Japan: Differing Conditions Between Permanent and Fixed Term Employees

On 14 September 2017, the Tokyo District Court interpreted and applied the meaning of “unreasonable differences” to the benefits enjoyed by permanent and fixed term employees at Japan Post. The decision provides guidance on which benefits are exclusively available to permanent employees and which benefits, when not provided to both categories of employees equally, will result in a breach of the Labour Contract Act. This decision is of particular significance at the moment as employers are currently expecting many long term fixed term employees applying to become permanent employees. This ruling, however, stipulates that companies will no longer be able to provide fewer benefits to fixed term employees.

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Japan: Conversion of fixed term employees to permanent employment

In a recent article published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the Ministry has clarified its position regarding the entitlement of dispatched workers who are employed on a fixed term basis to be converted to permanent employment upon meeting certain service thresholds. Given this and an expected increase in applications for permanent employment, this article reviews the circumstances in which fixed term employees must be converted to permanent employment.

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Singapore: Focus on fixed-term employees

On 31 July 2017 the Tripartite Alliance issued the Tripartite Standard on Employment of Term Contract Employees (First Standard), (Tripartite Standards). The Tripartite Standards are the first of five new standards seek to encourage fair and progressive labour practices in certain areas. The remaining four standards are expected to be put into place over the next few months.

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Malaysia: Limit of liability for fixed-term contracts

In the case of Malayan Banking Berhad v Mahkamah Perusahaan Malaysia & Anor [2016] MLRHU 1, the High Court in Malaysia ruled that, in an action for unfair dismissal, a fixed-term contract employee may only claim back wages in relation to the unexpired period of their contract.

Background

An employee was employed on a 12-month fixed-term contract that included a probationary period. At the end of her six-month probationary period, she was informed that her position with her employer would not be confirmed. At that time, her fixed-term contract had five months and 17 days left to run. The employee filed an unfair dismissal claim against her employer. The Industrial Court upheld her claim and awarded 12 months of back wages. The employer appealed to the High Court, arguing that the employee was only entitled to five and a half months' back wages, as the employee's contract would have expired on its own had the employer not terminated it early.

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Japan: Non-renewal of fixed-term employment contract not justified by redundancy of role

Generally, when fixed-term employees have been continuously employed by the same employer for a number of years and the fixed-term contract has undergone many renewals, the fixed-term employees will essentially be treated like permanent employees under the eyes of the law, and if the employer decides on one occasion not to renew the contract, such a decision can be challenged. As a recent Court decision shows once again, even redundancy of the role is not a good enough reason to justify a non-renewal.

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