Do you work according to the labor contract?

Employment contracts

Make sure you understand you employment contract (see ‘Employment contract‘). It is required by law that your employment contract clearly states the following:

  1. Period of the contract

    Can be for an indefinite or definite period. If your contract is a for definite period, whether it can be extended.
  2. Place and duties of your role

    Where and what you need to do?
  3. Period of the contract

    Working hours, start and finish times, opening and closing time of the business, whether there can be extra work over normal working hours and how it is paid (Overtime), break times, days off, and ability to change shifts

    Holidays, and compensation for Paid Holidays.
  4. How and when wages / salary are calculated and paid.

    How does your company decide how much your wages/salary are, how often and when are payments calculated and paid to you.

    Watch out for companies where overtime pay is included in a base salary.
  5. Ending your employment

    What kind of procedure is followed to end the employment contract. What you can be fired for (“Dismissal“)

Supervisor, manager and director roles

As a supervisor and manager you are still entitled to holidays, breaks and overtime (“Managers and Supervisors“). However as a director or manager role close to the top of an organisation’s heirachy you may not be given the same allowances, for example working more than standard work hours is expected of a director, without overtime pay. When taking a job consider if you have authority close to the top of a management heirachy.

Confirm the Employment Regulations

If there are employment regulations they should be written in a document or in your employment contract (“Employment Regulations“). They must be written so you can easily understand the writing.

When a company has more than 10 employees year round, it must by law, provide a company manual or employee handbook as a written record of employment regulations (“Employment Regulations“)

Labor Standards Act

Labor Standards Act” is the minimum standard that employers must meet and takes priority over written employment contracts and Employment Regulations.

If the contents of an employment contract or employment regulations do not meet the standards of the Labour Standards Act they are invalid and the Labour Standards Act overrides it.

What would you do if you were fired?

Being fired or leaving your job

In Japan there are strict regulations about dismissal from a job (“Dismissal“). Even if the reason is fair, the process must also follow Japan’s laws. If you find your job terminated, consider if the reason is fair and a fair process has been followed. If you feel it has been unair then consider if you would want to appeal for unfair dismissal or would like to leave the job behind.

If you choose to end your employment, you will not be able to pursue unfair dismissal, consider your employers intentions if they seem to be encouraging it.

If you are wihtdrawing from “Health Insurance” through your employment once your employment is finished and joining “National Health Insurance” instead, advise that you have ended your employment as it could reduce your “National Health insurance Premiums“.

You may be able to access “Unemployment benefits (Basic Allowance)“, however taking out Employment Insurance may give you better assistance while unemployed and looking for a job.

What you can see from your pay slip

Your payslips can reveal how well your employer follows employment and tax laws and regulations. Failures of your employer to act lawfully can have consequences for you, for example you are considered accountabel if your employer does not deduct and pay to the government income tax on your earnings.
Look on your payslips for:

Wages and salary

Minimum wages are established in a base salary, even if you have an hourly wage an annual base salary applies.
Minumum wages are based on hourly rate. However wether houly, monthly or yearly wage you receive, it must not be below minimum wage.

If your wage per hour is not equal to the minimum wage, you should be paid minimum wage instead (“Minimum Wage“).

When you leave a job, your leave allowance should be paid to you (“Leave Allowance“).

Employment Regulations and Laws dictate there should be allowances for overtime, work on holidays and night shifts (midnight allowance) (“Employment Regulations“, “Overtime, Work on Holidays“)


You can expect to see deductions from your wages for insurance, legally it is your employers job to determine if you should pay towards social insrance, it is not your choice, if you think it is wrong ask your local government (“Social Insurance Fee“, “Employment Insurance“, “Confirmation of Qualification“)

You can also expect to see tax deducted. If you are a tax resident and do not have tax deducted from your pay expect a tax notice in early summer billing you for the unpaid tax on your income (“Income Tax“, “Resident Tax“, “Resident vs Non-Resident“)
  • Keep a record of your payslips, take a photo if you will not keep the paper copy.