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Japan Airlines will exempt all flight attendants from late-night shifts beginning in August if such requests are made for child-rearing or nursing-care reasons, according to JAL officials.

The move comes in response to the Tokyo Labor Bureau’s call for the airline to improve its regulations on the matter. JAL had earlier said it would only exempt 75 flight attendants to be selected by lottery.

Unions have urged JAL to take into account the livelihood of single mothers. JAL replied that it will consider individual cases, but that as a rule wages will be paid to flight attendants in accordance with work done.

Under the envisioned system, the flight attendants will be paid their basic salary and allowances per day. Although they will be scheduled for day shifts, the availability of these shifts will be limited, the officials said.

As a result, this will lead to a drastic cut in the number of working days and income of flight attendants seeking to be exempted from late-night shifts, which cover the period between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. the next day, they said.

As of April, about 160 employees had said they wanted to be exempt from late-night shifts.

If the system begins as such, the number of working days per person in August will amount to about four, and their income is expected to be about one-fifth of normal, according to the officials.

According to JAL, shifts other than late-night ones amount to only 2 percent of all shifts, due primarily to the greater number of international flights.

One flight attendant expressed the hope that the airline will create measures, such as setting minimum number of workdays, to enable them to secure a fixed minimum income.

The law stipulates that those who ask for exemption from late-night shifts — to nurse a sick relative or look after their children — can be exempted.

JAL is an arm of Japan Airlines System Corp.

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