bill to revise the Special Act on Salaries of School Teachers was approved November
19 in the plenary session of the House of Representatives to be sent to the
Upper House for further debates. It is to impose a flexible working hour system
on public school teachers on a yearly basis. The system justifies fixing of a
long-hour work practice to encourage this habit, a clear violation of the Labor
FOR WORSE TO TRIGGER MORE DEATHS FROM OVERWORK
teachers are hard workers
current parliamentary debates on introducing a flexible labor system to public
school teachers undermine a principle of the Labor Standard Law. The revision
may bring more deaths from overwork, or Karoshi. The system is to be applied on
a yearly basis. The bill was voted in favor November 15 by the authority of
Chairman of the Education and Science Committee of the House of Representatives
in the absence of an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties.
according to surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education and Science, 60% of
teachers of junior high schools and 30% of elementary schools endure a
long-hour working practice. They work excessively, and the working hours reach
the crucial line to provoke a death. The government’s ‘reform’ plan comes from
the extremely serious labor situation of teachers, but its direction is completely
than 17 thousand teachers took a leave of work for longer than a month due to
diseases, among which over 8.5 thousand teachers had day-offs on account of
psychological disorders. For ten years up to 2016 certified deaths due to
overwork count 63.
main reason lies in the number of teachers in the workplace that does not fit
to a volume of work. An overwork payment program is absent for school teachers,
and therefore, their working hours are not managed rightly.
does not bring benefits to teachers
revised law provides a 4% rise of teacher’s salary in the name of a
rearrangement benefit, but no payment is made for overtime work. The altered
law prohibits the school authority to order teachers to work overtime with
exceptions of a field practice, a school event, a teachers’ meeting and
responses to natural disasters.
work is not paid to school teachers. That means working hours are not controlled
properly by the school authority, and therefore a small number of teachers
involve in a big amount of work. Thus, long-time work habit prevails.
law skips labor-management agreement
Labor Standard Law stipulates eight-hour-work a day and 40-hour-work a week.
flexible working hour system is approved as an exception of this law, which
means to average total working hours flatly on the basis of a year, considering
busy times and idle times. Thus, criticisms are aroused that the new system
means ‘a fixed pay for unlimited labor’, or a means to evade the labor laws.
public workers of local municipalities, including school teachers, are excluded
from the flexible working hour system. The amendment allows extension of
working hours during the school terms to facilitate teachers to have more
day-offs in a package during summer vacations. Furthermore, the new law does
not oblige an agreement to be concluded between the labor and the management.
show of reduced working hours
new flexible system pretends to reduce, ostensibly, overtime work-hours for
teachers during busy times, lifting regulations on working hours set forth by
the Labor Standard Law. It actually endangers a hard working environment of
school teachers to cause a death from overwork.
principle of Labor Standard Law lies in equality between the labor and the management.
Fundamental labor rights are restricted for school teachers, or public workers.
The revised law removes a labor-management agreement, failing the Labor
the revision! Real reform in working habits is needed for school teachers in
compliance with the Labor Standard Law.