Labor experts at the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) will offer two days of telephone counseling starting Wednesday to help workers struggling under heavy workloads.

The chances of a worker falling victim to "karoshi," or death from overwork, and having the fatality so recognized increase if a worker dies from a sudden brain or heart disorder after putting in overtime exceeding 100 hours the month before the person succumbs, according to the experts.

"When long work hours become an everyday routine, workers can't even feel something isn't right," said a Rengo official. "People close to those workers, such as their family members and friends, should also consult us."

Regarding overtime pay, an increasing number of companies pay only a fixed amount, which means hours exceeding the threshould remain uncompensated. Rengo is calling on workers to build up defenses against these cases.

The free telephone counseling will be available Wednesday and Thursday at (0120)154052.