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4 Feb 2017

Japan: Overtime beyond karoshi line allowed in nearly all Keidanren board companies

16 out of 17 companies currently on the Board of Directors of Keidanren, the influential Japanese business association, allow for employees to work overtime beyond the 80 hours overtime / month “karoshi line” (set by the Ministry of Health and Labour), an investigation has found. Japanese labour law allows for management to enter into agreements specifying the limit of overtime employees may be asked to perform, and though government guidelines state the maximum should be 45 hours per month, this limit is not binding.  

Several companies on the Keidanren Board of Directors provide for up to 100 hours overtime per month, with one, the telecom giant NTT, reportedly allowing for up to 150 hours overtime per month. Only one of the companies provided for a limit under the “karoshi line”, with Nomura Securities stating a limit of 72 hours per month. 

Recent high profile work related deaths have lead to the government to discuss a law banning overtime over a specified limit. Reports indicate that the current bill being prepared may set the limit at 100 hours – 20 hours beyond the “karoshi line”.