Different forms of employment in Japan

Different forms of employment in Japan


Japanese Culture & Customs

If you are a student and are about to start job hunting, or you think about working in Japan in the future, this may be for you.
I think the most important thing when working in Japan is knowing about the various forms of employment. If you are not sure about the differences between a regular, temporary, or part-time employee, let me give you a brief introduction in this article.


Differences between regular and non-regular employees

As birthrate is declining and the population is aging in Japan, in 2013 the working-age population dropped under 80 million for the first time in 32 years and continues to decline.
At the same time, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of women and the elderly who enter the workforce or continue to work after retirement over the past few years. Under such circumstances, the widening gap between so-called “regular employees” and “non-regular employees” has become a social issue. But what exactly is the difference between regular non-regular employees?

Below is a brief comparison.

【Regular employees】

・Generally, their contract does not specify a set period of time, and employment continues until retirement age. Also, they work up to the upper limit of full working hours (full-time hours)
※Regular employees is a common name for them, although the term is not defined in the Labor Standards Law.

【Non-regular employees】

・This refers to all other types of employees outside the previous category (temporary employees, contract employees, part-time workers, etc.)
・Compared to regular employees, their working hours are shorter and more flexible, which is an advantage
・Some of the disadvantages include very few if any raises or promotions, and generally no bonuses. There is also a risk of dismissal as the employment period is set

As I mentioned earlier, non-regular employees have more flexibility in terms of time, but they also have the disadvantage of less work stability and fewer benefits.


Differences between full-time and part-time employees

The difference between “full-time” and “part-time” employees is mainly a difference in their working hours.


・As explained in the previous section, someone working “regular working hours” = over 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, for five days a week is considered to be working full-time.


・There are many types of non-regular employees such as part-timers, “arubaito” workers, and more. The term refers to employees who work a limited number of days and working hours. The contract sets no fixed working hours such as the requirement for 40 hours per week or more for full-time employees.
・In terms of occupations, many people work in the medical field (doctors and nurses) or auxiliary education (cram school lecturers).


Differences between “direct employment” and “indirect employment”

The difference between “direct employment” and “indirect employment” was the most difficult even for me to understand. Let me explain it here.

【Direct employment】

When a company hires employees, a direct employment contract is signed between the company and the employee who will receive direct compensation from the company.

【Indirect employment】

In this case, there is no direct employment contract with the company where you work, and compensation is paid by the agent company.
Temporary employees are representative of this indirect type of employment. It seems easiest to explain taking the example of temporary employees.

The relationships look like this.

A bit confusing, right?


【Author’s message】

There are various types of work, each with advantages and disadvantages.

Choose the work environment that suits your lifestyle best and enjoy your life in Japan!

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