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Just over half of Japanese firms are reviewing rules on working hours with many looking to cut down on overtime, a Reuters poll shows. According to the news agency, the firms are responding to a government campaign for more employee-friendly labour practices.
The survey, conducted for Reuters by Nikkei research, polled 531 big and medium-sized non-financial firms. Of the respondents, 56% said they were currently looking to make changes to working hours, with measures like reducing overtime and work done outside regular hours most often cited. Encouraging employees to actually take the vacation days they’re owed was also frequenlty mentioned.
Although only 14% of companies said they were planning to officially lower their maximum working hours, the fact a small majority of Japanese companies are re-evaluating their hours suggests Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s labour reform policy is gaining traction.
“We are reviewing rules so that overtime will not adversely affect our employees’ mental health or work-life balance. At the same time we are aiming to reform the way our managers think about overtime“, one manager elaborated on his company’s evaluation of their current policy.
The survey results come just one week after the offices of advertising agency Dentsu were raided as part of an ongoing investigation into the company’s working culture and overtime practices, which led to the suicide of an employee in December 2015.
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