• Jiji

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An expert panel of Japan’s labor ministry Wednesday urged corporate managers to change their ways of thinking and dramatically expand the scope of teleworking.

In a report adopted at the day’s meeting, the panel said that companies must not discriminate between regular and nonregular workers when deciding who should be allowed to telework.

The report on teleworking, which has become more commonplace amid the novel coronavirus epidemic, is the first of its kind at the ministry since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Based on the report, the ministry will review related guidelines by the end of next March.

The panel warned against jumping to a conclusion that that some types of work are not suitable for teleworking.

Citing the existing gap in the country’s telework rate between regular and nonregular employees, the report called for the elimination of such unreasonable disparities in the same workplaces.

The panel said that giving different performance ratings based only on whether the employees worked in the office or remotely is inappropriate.

Also, the panel urged companies to establish rules on communications and other costs related to teleworking, pay such costs to employees in accordance with reasonable and objective standards and take care to prevent long work hours.

Wednesday’s session of the panel is the fifth of its kind. The panel, headed by Gakushuin University professor Motohiro Morishima, held its first meeting in August this year.

Morishima said at the day’s meeting that he hopes the report will give an “opportunity to think about new ways of personnel and organizational management.”

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