Japan to introduce tougher restrictions on government worker overtime

JIJI, Kyodo

The National Personnel Authority will introduce stronger overtime restrictions for national public servants to promote work-style reform in April, with an announcement of the measures due in August, informed sources have said.

The government agency is considering revising its rules to implement stricter overtime limits. Many officials work long hours to handle parliamentary affairs and other tasks.

Details regarding salary recommendations for central government employees will also be put forward in August.

Last month, the Diet enacted work-style reform legislation introducing sweeping labor regulation revisions, including tougher overtime limits.

The personnel authority’s 2009 guidelines limit employee overtime to 360 hours per year. For employees in exceptional circumstances, such as those handling parliamentary affairs and budget negotiations, the limit rises to 720 hours per year.

The agency can decide whether to override guideline caps with its own stipulations.

The personnel authority will also consider granting exceptions during busy periods, including natural disasters, as well as introducing monthly overtime caps like those for private-sector workers stipulated in the labor standards law.

In its 2017 personnel management recommendations, the authority said efforts to reduce and streamline work are needed to address the long working hours of national civil servants.