Employer wins case against temp staff over underpayments

Japan’s court rules that it’s ‘not unreasonable’ to treat full-time and contract workers differently

Employer wins case against temp staff over underpayments

Japan’s top court on Tuesday (October 13) overturned a ruling that ordered an employer to pay their former contract worker a bonus of over JPY1.09 million ($14,038).

The hourly-paid employee had previously won the lawsuit, after arguing it was ‘unreasonable’ for missing out on a bonus when she did nearly the same work as full-time employees.

The top court’s new ruling said it was ‘not unreasonable’ to treat ‘regular’ and short-term staff differently. This, despite existing government policy urging equal pay for equal work.

However, many critics have called the law ‘unclear’ on employees’ entitlements, reported local media.

Read more: Should contract staff get the same benefits as full-timers?

The ex-staff had filed the lawsuit in 2015. She was under a one-year renewable contract with Osaka Medical College, where she worked ‘almost full time’ doing clerical work such as managing teachers’ schedules, according to court files.

Her contract was ended by 2016, reported Japan Times.

Read more: Singaporeans have 'higher expectations' of employers in 2020

Both sides have been appealing the case for several years before the top court’s latest decision. In January 2018, the district court had ruled against her.

But in February 2019, the Osaka High Court overturned the ruling and stated that hourly-paid staff are entitled to at least 60% of a regular worker’s bonus. This was finally settled by the top court, who ruled in favour of the employer.

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