On 25 May 2007, the amendments to the Part-Time Work Law[Japanese] were adopted at the plenary session of the House of Councilors. The amended Law provides for the prohibition of discriminatory treatment, including in terms of wages, between part-time workers and regular workers. The provision, however, applies only to those part-time workers whose "contents of work and the responsibilities involved" are the same with those of regular workers and who "have concluded labour contracts without fixed terms". As had been explained by an expert witness on the part of the government during the deliberations on the draft amendments[Japanese], the definition in fact covers only 4 - 5% of all the part-time workers. Criticism has been raised that the new provision would lead to further differentiation and disparities among part-time workers. Meanwhile, the House of Councilors called, by way of adopting a supplementary resolution[PDF13KB; Japanese], for the development of necessary criteria to clarify the coverage of the non-discrimination provision.
With regard to other part-time workers, to whom the new provision does not apply, the amended Law only requires the employer to endeavor to decide their wages and implement education and training, taking into consideration their contents of work and achievements, "while paying attention to maintaining balance with regular workers".
The employer is also required to notify the part-time workers of any intention to recruit regular workers, including through displaying information, and to take other measures to promote their regularization.
· Draft partial amendments to the Law Concerning the Improvement of Employment Management, etc. of Part-Time Workers (House of Representatives) [Japanese]
· Minutes No.10 of the Committee on Health, Labour and Welfare, the House of Representatives, 4 April 2007 (House of Representatives) [Japanese]
· Supplementary resolution of the House of Councilors on the draft partial amendments to the Law Concerning the Improvement of Employment Management, etc. of Part-Time Workers [PDF 13KB] [Japanese]
See also: Part-Time Work Law of 1993(see 3-1) (Law Concerning the Improvement of Employment Management, etc. of Part-Time Workers) [English, unofficial translation]