Obligation to work
Recently, there are many problems in the Japanese working environment.
However, some of the problems are currently being improved by various activities such as making laws centered on the country.
First of all, I would like to introduce each of the typical issues that still remain.
Childcare leaveIn Japan today, cooperation with men's households is becoming more common than before, but the stereotype that women do housework still remains. Among them, I feel that childcare is especially centered around women.
According to the 2016 data, among the men whose wives gave birth within a year, those who took childcare leave are as low as 5.14%. However, since this number is increasing year by year, it is thought that the rate of male employees taking childcare leave will increase in the future.
There is another serious hidden problem with childcare leave. It is the change in employment of women before and after childbirth.
According to a survey of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in 2016, 83.2% of women who gave birth within a year took childcare leave. However, this 83.2% is based on the number of women who continue to work even after giving birth, and those who quit their jobs after giving birth are not included in this. And in Japan, about half of women still quit their jobs after giving birth to their first child.
In other words, it cannot be said that the rate of Japanese women taking childcare leave exceeds 80%.
In Japan, it will be necessary to encourage more employees to take childcare leave and eliminate the difference in roles between men and women in the future.
- 〈M-shaped curve〉 The M-shaped curve refers to the characteristics of the graph of the number of workers by age group of Japanese women.
As shown in the figure below, the labor force participation rate of Japanese women peaks around the age of 25-29 when they graduate from school and find employment, and then bottoms out at the age of 30-34 to concentrate on childbirth and childcare. Then, it depicts the peak again at "45-49 years old" when parenting has settled down.
As you can see from the upper figure, the curve is getting shallower year by year, but looking at the lower figure, there are still issues compared to other countries.
Gender gapRecently, the gender gap has become a problem all over the world. In Japan, there used to be a strong stereotype that men work outside and women do housework, but in recent years, the number of double-income families has increased, and it seems that the gender gap is disappearing.
However, the gender gap still remains.
One is the wage gap between men and women.
The wages of women in Japanese companies are limited to about 86% of men when they enter the company.
At first, the difference seems small, but 50-54 years old, when the wages are the highest, the difference between men and women is 155,400 yen a month.
In fact, among the G7 (France, USA, UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada), Japan is said to have the largest wage gap.
However, until now, the Japanese government has implemented some policies to close the labor gap between men and women.
In 2016, “Act on the Promotion of Female Participation and Career Advancement in the Workplace” came into effect. In addition, the “Growth Strategy 2018” clearly stated that women's activities will be further expanded.
For these reasons, work style reform efforts are becoming more active, and more and more companies are supporting the balance between work and family.
In addition, for those who want to work while raising children, the Mothers Hello Work and the Mothers Corner, which has a kids' corner, provide information of vocational counseling and health centers, and provide job information, are being established. Currently (March 2, 2020), there are 21 Mothers Hello Work offices and 181 Mothers Corners throughout Japan.
It is said that these policies are the reasons why the M-shaped curve is becoming shallower than before.
However, the current situation still has many problems in the world.
According to the "The Global Gender Gap Report 2020" by the World Economic Forum, Japan ranks 121st out of 153 countries in the Gender Gap Index, which measures the gender gap of each country. This index is created from data of four fields: economics, education, politics, and insurance. Japan has a large gender gap, especially in the political and economic fields.
Long working hoursRecently, we often hear the word "long working hours".
It is said that long working hours are not good, but there is no legal definition for this word. In other words, it is not possible to clearly state that "If you work for more than 〇 hours, you will work too long!"
However, according to Article 32 of the Labor Standards Law, in principle, it is prohibited to work more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
And employers cannot make employees work overtime unless they conclude a labor-management agreement called 36 agreements.
However, there are no penalties for not observing these rules.
Therefore, long working hours are still being carried out.
When long working hours become more serious, it not only leads to poor physical condition and motivation of employees, but also leads to death from overwork.
Finally, the Work Style Reform Law came into effect on April 1, 2019, and it was decided that if you do not comply with the 36 Agreements, you will be subject to penalties.
- 〈Work style reform related law〉 As a general rule, overtime working hours are specified as 45 hours a month and 360 hours a year.
Even if there are special circumstances, overtime work is limited to 720 hours or less per year.
The Headquarters for Promotion of Reduction of Long Working Hours has also been established, and measures are being taken throughout the country.
・There are many issues related to working styles, such as difficulty in taking childcare leave, gender disparity, and long working hours, but the number of national efforts is gradually increasing.