“Service” Overtime Work
A Japanese construction company, Daiwa House Group revealed that there were unpaid salaries for overtime work for two years, between 2009 and 2010 to 40% of its employees.
And the amount was 3.2 billion yen.
There was an inspection done by the Labor Standards Inspection Office and they'd found out that there were many overtime work hours which hadn't been informed.
Daiwa House was saying that it was equivalent to about 6 to 7 extra houra a month for each employee. But this doesn't include the construction workers in the actual field. Also it's hard to imagine the company paid until 2008 and "some how" they forgot to declare these two years.
Officially, we can only work 40 hours a week in Japan and if the company needs thier workers to work overtime, they have to present certain document to the Labor Standards Inspection Office. This is for to protect employees…. in theory.
As most of us know, this doesn't function well. If they can not work officially, they hid it and it's called "service overtime work". What ever the law comes out, the reality doesn't change. If they have to stay, they stay and work.
This time, Daiwa House had a bad luck but it seems like the situation is more or less the same in any companies, and most of the time a family of the employees informs to the Labor Standards Inspection Office to save their husbands or fathers from obligated "service" overtime work.
I have once worked in a stock company. I knew it was tempporal and needed to save money, so I registered myself as a tempo stuff. They sent me to this stock company as a data imput.
The team I was located was small, there were about 10 girls and a boss. 6 of them were full-workers and there were two tempo girls, then me and another girl who stopped coming to the office in day 2…
Our "official" woking hour was 9 to 17:30. The first day and the second day, the girl who taught us work said to us to go at around 17:30. But I noticed that no one didn't seem to stand up or even started tidying up, including those two tempo girls.
When we left, no one didn't look at us but bowed their head only to show that they knew we were leaving. "Strange" I thought.
Look, my parents never worked at office or for a company. I wouldn't know how Japanese salary men worked. And there, for the first time, I saw it.
The day three, another tempo girl dropped. I knew she wouldn't come to the office because when we left the day before, she told me that the job was too difficult for her and she wouldn't complete what they expect. Hmm, she was a little slow but I just told her to relax and within a week, she'd get used to it. But she didn't show up, no one knew why, besides me and the person in charge was quite annoyed by that. The tempo office phoned our boss a little after that the girl had quit.
Anyway, I stayed. The job was boring, typing in enormous numbers which were actually the price of stocks the companies bought and sold. It was so enormous that I forgot it was actual money amount. After one hour of entering the numbers, the sum messed up and you have to do it again. They gave me a super calculator which you can sum up to billions. Sometimes you keep going back to calculate just to find out the missing 1 yen… Horrible…
17:30 came, no one told me to go. I started peeping others. No one moved, kept working as if it was still 11 o'clock in the morning. At 18:00, I poked one of the temp girls, Kato san. She looked a bit shocked.
"Kato san, why no one goes home?"
"We normally stay back" Kato san whispered.
"But until what time?"
"Well… normally they let us go around 19:30 or 20:00 but full-timers stay until late"
At 18:15 I stood up and went up to boss' desk and told him that I had to go because I have evening classes. He asked me if I had them every evening. I said yes and "unfortunately" I could only stayed until 18:00 the latest. He told me that he understood.
I left the building.
And went to the gym for a swim.
The girls worked there always wear pretty clothes, different every day and didn't need any routine for a week. New rings, shoes or watch every month. Obviously they earn well.
Later I became close to one of them and she told me that she was so tired despite of what she earned. They had no life outside of work. Sometimes they stay until 23:00 and even worked on Saturdays as a service overtime work. Just because the boss stays late or came to work. They check the timecard something around 20:00 to show officially they finished working and kept working.
Kato san told me that she couldn't go because she was scared that other workers might say something for not being a team worker, and she was a little jealous of me leaving earlier without any problems.
The curious thing is that if you leave earlier than others, no one will complain. But many people get that stage because of the tension runs through the office. They will send you a vibes of "why can you go when all of us are working?"
The silence pressure.
I ignored completely. The evenings were mine. I have a life.
After 8 months, I left Japan to London. It was my first and the last experience in Japanese office and I think it was enough. If any of those people who were working in that office, I'm sorry I lied. It's prescribed, isn't it?
Daiwa House can make nice adv like this. Hope soon no companies abuse their employees anymore under the name of "service" overtime work.
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Takana-san, thank you for your comment. It´s important that Japanese people explain our way of thinking and doing things from our aspect. I appreciate your comment. Thank you again.