Employment law is not consolidated into a single Code. The most important item of employment legislation is the Labour Standards Act (No. 49 of 7 April 1947), which governs matters such as wages, working time, rest, annual leave, maternity and pregnancy rights, aspects of the employment contract, discrimination and termination of employment. Other significant laws include the following.

  • Employment Contracts Act (No. 128 of 5 December 2007)

  • Minimum Wages Act (No. 137 of 15 April 1959)

  • Act on Securing the Proper Operation of Worker-Dispatch Businesses and Protecting Dispatched Workers (No. 88 of 5 July 1985)

  • Act on Improvement of Personnel Management and Conversion of Employment Status for Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employees (No. 76 of 18 June 1993)

  • Act on Childcare Leave, Caregiver Leave and Other Measures for the Welfare of Workers Caring for Children or Other Family Members (No. 76 of 15 May 1991)

  • Employment Security Act (No. 141 of 30 November 1947)

  • Employment Measures Act (No. 132 of 21 July 1966)

  • Act on Securing Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment (No. 113 of 1 July 1972)

  • Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace (No. 64 of 4 September 2015)

  • Act on Employment Promotion of Persons with Disabilities (No. 123 of 25 July 1960)

  • Act on Stabilisation of Employment of Older People (No. 68 of 25 May 1971)

  • Employment Measures Act (No. 132 of 21 July 1966)

  • Trade Union Act (No. 174 of 1 June 1949)

  • Labour Relations Adjustment Act (No. 25 of 27 September 1946)

  • Industrial Safety and Health Act (No. 57 of 8 June 1972)

  • Act on Promoting the Resolution of Individual Labour-Related Disputes (No. 112 of 11 July 2001)

  • Act on Succession to Employment Contracts upon Company Split (No. 103 of 31 May 2000)

  • Vocational Abilities Development Promotion Act (No. 64 of 18 July 1969)

  • Protection of Personal Information Act (No. 57 of 30 May 2003).

In many cases, government ordinances provide more detailed rules on the application of the various Acts (most of which have been amended since their initial adoption). Case law, and especially that of the Supreme Court, interprets the legislation.

Collective agreements (which are almost all signed at single-employer level) are a further source of regulation of the employment relationship but cover only around a sixth of employees. More important are the employment rules that employers are required to draw up in workplaces with 10 or more employees, dealing with wages, working hours, dismissal, and a range of other issues. Individual employment contracts are generally based on the employment conditions provided for by these employment rules unless the contractual provisions are at least as favourable for the employee as the employment rules. Employment rules and employment contracts must not conflict with employment legislation or any applicable collective agreement.

Japan is divided into 47 administrative prefectures. The authorities at prefectural level do not play a significant role in employment regulation except that each sets a separate statutory minimum wage rate for its own prefecture.

This topic refers to employment law in the private sector only.

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