Proposed Revision of Cabinet and Ministerial Ordinances concerning Temporary Workers

2 December 2003

Tadayoshi KUSANO
General Secretary

  1. Today, the Labour Policy Council’s Section Meeting on employment promotion, chaired by Professor Yasuo Suwa of Hosei University, announced a report on proposals for the revision of Cabinet and Ministerial ordinances concerning the Employment Promotion Law and the Temporary Staffing Services Law. These Laws were approved in June this year. Most of proposals are in line with the Meeting’s proposals made last December, as well as with the revised Laws. However, questions should be raised about two points: lifting the ban on temporary workers engaged in medical services of medical institutions on condition that they would be employed as regular employees and revising the categories of workers to whom temp agencies shall not charge any fees or costs.

  2. A proposal that temporary staffing services be allowed in medical-related services conducted by medical institutions was made after the approval of the revised Temporary Staffing Services Law, based on the report of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on the regulatory reform in medical services. Temp staffing to medical-related services conducted by social welfare corporations was allowed only last March. Furthermore, man-caused medical accidents have been happening repeatedly in recent days.

    Taking into account such circumstances, sufficient discussion and verification should have been done. Without such efforts the expansion of temp staffing services would only distort a framework of reliable and safe medical services. Relevant authorities should give an adequate guidance to ensure that both temp agencies and user enterprises take necessary measures to protect workers affected.

  3. The Ministry also proposes that the annual income of workers to whom fees cannot be charged be decreased to 7 million yen from current 12 million. The revision seems to follow the labour market price and should not be accepted. In line with the Convention 181 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) prohibiting in principle the charging of any fees or costs to workers, exceptions should be limited to workers who have an equal negotiating power with their employers and in case that workers’ protection deficit is hardly seen.

  4. According to the proposals, the revised Temporary Staffing Services Law would come into force on 1 March 2004. The revised Law includes for the first time a provision on involvement of the trade union of a user enterprise, as well as on expanding categories of workers and extending the duration to work. Rengo would, based on the 2004 Shunto Policies, call on its affiliates to ensure the implementation of negotiations on the introduction of temporary workers. Rengo will work to block the lifting of a ban on prior interviews that is now discussed at the Regulatory Reform Council and would undermine the basis of temp staffing services.