A number of amendments to the Worker Dispatch Act were passed by the Japanese Diet on 11 September 2015. Key amendments are as follows:
- For dispatches starting or renewing on or after 30 September 2015, a succession of dispatched workers may be used indefinitely for all types of work, provided the utilising company duly consults an employee representative representing the majority of workplace employees on this. Previously, there was distinction between different types of work in determining the maximum period for which a role could be filled by dispatched workers.
- For dispatches starting or renewing on or after 30 September 2015, a three-year limit per dispatched worker per company division has been introduced. This means a dispatched worker can only be retained in the same company division for a maximum of three years. After that, the utilising company must either offer direct employment to the dispatched worker, engage the dispatched worker in another company division, or if the utilising company is replacing the dispatched worker with another dispatched worker in the same division, it must have made efforts to provide employment opportunities to the original dispatched worker before replacing him or her.
- Confirmation of the previous 2012 amendment stipulating that from 1 October 2015, if a utilising company accepts a dispatched worker, knowing that the arrangement is in serious breach of the Worker Dispatch Act, it will be deemed to have offered the dispatched worker a direct employment contract. It has been further clarified that breaches of the new time limitation provisions set out above may be considered such a serious breach of the Act.
Impact for employers
Companies with dispatched workers will need to familiarise themselves with these amendments.