• Kyodo

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Dentsu Inc. said Thursday it had again received a warning from labor authorities over illegal overtime practices.

Two years after being convicted over working practices involving long hours, which had led to the suicide of an employee, the advertising giant was found to have violated labor laws in 2018 by failing to curb the overtime work of some employees. A local labor standard office in Tokyo recommended it correct the situation in September.

Dentsu said it has swiftly settled the relevant issues. “We’ll continue our reforms of our working environment,” its public relations division said.

Since 2010, Dentsu has received repeated recommendations from labor authorities to correct its overtime working practices.

In October 2017, a court ordered the ad agency to pay ¥500,000 ($4,600) in fines after labor authorities concluded the previous year that Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old new employee of the company, killed herself in 2015 due to excessive overtime work.

Dentsu has a labor-management agreement that limits monthly overtime work to 45 hours per person. The limit can be extended to 75 hours if employees apply in advance.

In the most recent violation, authorities found several breaches of the rules. In one case, a sales employee worked 156 hours of overtime in a month.

Takahashi’s suicide sparked a nationwide debate over severe working conditions in Japan, prompting the government and business circles to take measures to improve the labor environment.

Dentsu announced a reform plan in July 2017, pledging to cut overall working hours per person by 20 percent in fiscal 2019 from fiscal 2014 levels.

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