改正派遣法成立 雇用安定の実効性は高まるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Will revised worker dispatch law lead to stable employment, better jobs?
改正派遣法成立 雇用安定の実効性は高まるか

The revised worker dispatch law, one of the main issues at the current Diet session, was enacted Friday by a majority vote supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its junior coalition partner Komeito and others. The revised law comes into force on Sept. 30.

It is important to use the amendment to steadily achieve stable employment and better working conditions for dispatched workers.

A main feature of the revised law is the removal of the effective time limit on companies’ use of temporary labor.

The existing law limits the use of dispatched workers to a maximum of three years, to protect regular employees’ jobs. It excludes 26 job categories, including secretaries, from this rule, but the revised law abolishes these exceptions and allows companies to extend the use of temporary workers in all categories following talks with labor unions and other parties.

However, the revised law also sets a three-year limit on individual dispatched employees working in the same post, in principle, from the viewpoint of having them experience various jobs and improve their skills.

The revised law further obliges temporary staffing companies to help temporary workers improve their careers through such measures as training programs, and work to stabilize their employment through such steps as asking companies to hire them directly.

We think the content of the revised law is appropriate, as it aims to enhance the so-far insufficient protection of dispatched workers, based on the reality that people today work in a variety of ways. It will also make it easier for companies to use dispatched workers.

However, people doing specialist jobs, who can work longer under the existing law, will have to change their posts every three years under the revised one. Many are afraid that their contracts will be terminated. The government should monitor the activities of companies using dispatched workers and temporary staff agencies, and urge them to try to stabilize employment of temporary workers.

Protection for temp workers

During Diet deliberations, the ruling coalition parties claimed that the amendment would open a way for temporary workers to become regular employees and better their working conditions, but the opposition strongly protested that it would increase the number of people who permanently remain dispatched workers.

The House of Councillors passed 39 supplementary resolutions regarding the revised law, reflecting the demands of the opposition parties. This convinced the opposition parties to stop their battle — they had resorted to force, preventing the chair of the Health, Labor and Welfare Committee from entering the conference hall before voting at the House of Representatives.

The additional resolutions urge the government to restrict the amount temporary staffing companies earn for acting as an intermediary, and give instructions to companies that are unwilling to directly hire dispatched workers. These issues should be studied.

The revised law requires every temporary staffing company to obtain government authorization. Some companies are currently allowed to operate just by registering with authorities concerned.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will deal strictly with temporary staffing companies that fail to provide their workers with occupational and other training, including rescinding their authorization. Whether the ministry is capable of doing that is key to the viability of the revised law.

If the authorization system functions effectively, temporary staffing companies that only offer low costs will be eliminated. We hope the fostering of quality temporary staffing companies will cause dispatched work to become established in our society as an opportunity to improve people’s careers.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2015)

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