Preventive Legal Approach
In the past, labor law was based on the premise of an adversarial labor-management structure, with the focus on how to reconcile the positions of management and employees. Today, however, the idea of class struggle has disappeared, and the emphasis has shifted to how to ensure the company’s survival, especially in the midst of a prolonged recession. The structure of confrontation is less about workers and management and more about how to reconcile the differences in treatment between regular and non-regular employees. Looking at the world as a whole, guidance from government agencies is gradually disappearing and being replaced by a direction in which each company makes its own decisions based on the law at its own risk, and in the event of a dispute, the dispute is settled after the fact by judicial action in the courts (rule of law). Each company must change to a system in which corporate management is based on the concept of preventive private law and on corporate rules and other internally developed norms. Preventive law is the concept of avoiding disputes by clarifying the rights and obligations of the parties involved through the preparation of contracts and rules in advance. Your company’s management also needs to change to a preventive legal approach.
Preparation and revision of employment regulations
Employment regulations are like a company’s constitution (or “corrido”) regarding labor relations. The Labor Standards Law requires that employment regulations include both absolute requirements and relative requirements, which may or may not be included at the discretion of the company. The absolute items required by the Labor Standards Law include: (1) starting and ending times of work, rest periods, holidays, and leave; (2) wage determination, calculation, and payment methods; wage deadlines and payment dates; matters related to salary increases; and (3) matters related to retirement (including reasons for dismissal). In other words, the number of hours workers work and the amount of compensation they receive are at the core of employment regulations, and company management needs to ensure that they are followed. In recent years, there are also concerns about whether workers are fulfilling their obligations to provide labor during working hours (i.e., not just staying at the company for a certain amount of time, but also devoting themselves to their duties so that they can produce solid results), while claiming their rights. The absolute provisions of the employment regulations, including the grounds for dismissal, are the foundation of the labor-management agreement, so it is necessary to have a clear understanding of this point.
Preparation of wage regulations, etc.
The content of wage regulations varies widely from company to company. This is because the background of wage regulations differs significantly depending on the size of the company, its management status, and the nature of its business. However, if the company’s management is stable to some extent and the company is considering future development, including the hiring of new employees, it is important to establish a wage policy and create a system in which employees can work with peace of mind. Of course, if the company’s management is unstable, the wage policy may become an obstacle to management, leading to the company’s bankruptcy. Therefore, it is also necessary to be careful in formulating wage regulations. Taking these factors into consideration, the establishment of wage regulations is important when considering the company’s current business position and how to lay the groundwork for future development. Company housing, congratulatory and condolence rules, and travel and transportation expense rules are important not only for employee welfare, but also for creating a corporate culture in which funds are not managed haphazardly, but are instead managed according to firm rules. It is necessary to create such provisions that do not interfere with business management and are appropriate to the actual conditions of the company.
Provisions for childcare leave and nursing care leave
The government encourages employees to take childcare and nursing care leave, including through reforms in the way they work. Considering that until now Japanese company employees have been tied to their companies with little time for their families, it seems important for each employee to build a solid relationship with his or her family in the coming era. On the other hand, childcare and nursing care should be provided by the national government as a system, and there is no doubt that this is being imposed on the corporate side. However, when considering the overall happiness of the nation, it is clear that a work style that maintains a balance between family and work is important from the standpoint of workers’ mental stability. The model for childcare and family care leave regulations prepared by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is too esoteric to be used as is by ordinary companies. It is necessary for each company to establish its own system in line with the actual situation of each company and incorporate it into the regulations.
Sexual and power harassment regulations
It has been several years since sexual harassment and power harassment were recognized as illegal and are now firmly established in society. It is only a few years ago that companies began to introduce sexual harassment and power harassment policies. No company has yet had sufficient experience in establishing such a system. In today’s society, it is a fact that sexual harassment and power harassment exist as part of the internal corporate order, so it is important to firmly incorporate them into the rules as company norms.
Implications for the Formulation of Corporate Rules and Regulations
The rules of a company indicate to its employees that the operation of the company is governed by its rules, and that management is also bound by those rules. The existence of company rules allows employees to engage in corporate life with the peace of mind that the management of the company is not subject to arbitrary control by man, but rather to fair rules that are recognized by each of them. The creation of company rules is considered to be an important part of shaping the company, as they are central to the culture (morals) of the company as well as preventing disputes from arising by presenting norms in advance.