To tackle the karoshi (“death by overwork”) problem, Japan enacted the Workstyle Reform Act in June 2018. The Act requires employers to implement specific measures to limit employees’ working hours and create a healthier and more flexible work environment. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has set different compliance deadlines ranging from April 1, 2019 to April 1, 2023 for different requirements of the Act. This staggered schedule gives employers sufficient time to amend their work rules and put compliance mechanisms in place. The compliance deadlines also depend on the size of the employer as defined below.

An employer is considered a “large company” under the Act if it does not fall under any of the items in Table 1 and Table 2 below. All other companies are considered mid-sized to small companies.

Table 1

Registered Capital or Contributed Capital:

Table 2OR

Number of Full-Time Employees:

Timing of Implementation

The above table only provides a rough summary of the compliance deadlines of the main requirements under the Act. You should take the time to understand the details behind each requirement. All employers with more than 10 employees are required to have a set of work rules and register such rules with the local Labor Inspection Office. The same applies to any changes and amendments to the work rules. When amending your work rules, it is advisable to utilize implementation procedures that do not create a constructive dismissal situation.