• Kyodo

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Japan’s average overtime pay for May dropped 25.8 percent from a year earlier to ¥14,601 ($136) amid the coronavirus pandemic, marking the sharpest fall since comparable data first became available in 2013, the labor ministry said Tuesday.

Reflecting business suspensions under the state of emergency, which remained in effect for almost the whole of the reporting month, overtime hours also fell 29.7 percent on average, the ministry’s preliminary data on monthly wages showed.

The rate of decline in average overtime pay hit a record for the third consecutive month. In April, it fell a downwardly revised 12.8 percent.

By sector, overtime pay in hair salons and other livelihood services plunged 57.8 percent to ¥4,339, while food services dropped 55.7 percent to ¥3,333, and the manufacturing industry fell 35.3 percent to ¥19,981.

“The effect of the novel coronavirus continues, and the decrease in overtime pay became more pronounced than in the April survey,” said an official of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Part-time workers saw a sharper decline in overtime pay of 33.1 percent compared with 26.2 percent for full-time staff. Part-timers in livelihood services suffered the most, with their average overtime pay slumping 65.4 percent to ¥1,093.

The average total cash earnings per worker, including base and overtime pay, fell 2.1 percent to ¥269,341 on a nominal basis, the second straight monthly decline and the fastest fall since June 2015 when it decreased 2.4 percent, the ministry said.

On a real, or inflation-adjusted, basis, monthly wages fell 2.1 percent for the third consecutive month of decline.

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