PR firm fined for overtime culture

Employee died after working 105 hours of overtime in a single month

PR firm fined for overtime culture
A Japanese PR firm has been fined for its unacceptable overtime culture after a 24-year-old employee committed suicide in 2015.

Matsuri Takahashi – an employee at Dentsu Inc – died on Christmas Day after working 105 hours of overtime in just one month.

This month, the firm was fined just ¥500,000 (SG$6,037) after a Tokyo court ruled it had made Takahashi and three other employee work overtime beyond legal limits.

Current Japanese law only allows relatively small fines to be enforced for overtime breaches and Takahashi’s mother Yukimi has already called for change.

“We are hoping for legislative change so that stiffer penalties can be imposed when a worker dies,” she said in a statement after the ruling.

“It’s not just my daughter – tragic cases like this are happening throughout Japan, across all industries and irrespective of whether firms are large or small,” she added.

Dentsu CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto has not publicly commented on the case but the company confirmed he would be taking a 20 per cent pay cut for the next six months.

“We take this ruling very seriously, and extend our deepest apologies to stakeholders and the general public for the concern we have caused,” the company said in a statement.

Over the last financial year, Japan has seen 191 deaths which authorities have deemed to be the result of overwork – two more than the previous year.

Related stories:
Journalist died of overwork, bosses reveal
Singaporean subcontractor killed on the job

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