The top courts of Japan support lower salary pay for non-regular employees.
The courts said that the different treatment between regular and non regular employees was not unreasonable in two closely watched cases on their pay gaps.
The Supreme Court’s No.3 Petty Bench overturned the then landmark high court ruling awarding a former female employee at Osaka Medical College some 1.09 million yen ($10,285), mostly in unpaid bonuses.
They also upended a ruling that partly granted retirement payments to former employees on fixed-term contracts with Metro Commerce, a subsidiary of Tokyo Metro Co. which runs the capital’s subway system.
The reason for the court’s decisions is due to the growing number of nonregular workers in Japan. According to government data, nonregular employees have topped 20 million out of the 56 million employees in the country.
The government has set a policy of equal pay for equal work but critics say it is unclear to what extent it prevents different treatment of nonregular and regular workers.
Most regular employees receive bonuses twice a year and are entitled to substantial payments at the retirement age of 60 preventing different treatment of workers.
The top court admitted there may be cases where pay disparities should be deemed unreasonable due to the nature and purpose of the payment.
Many workers filed complaints stating that it is unacceptable for them to not receive bonuses or retirement pay despite working as hard and as much as the regular workers.
Justice Yuko Miyazaki however presided over the panel of five judges with a consensus decision of no bonuses to hourly paid workers with light work.
Unreasonable gaps in treatment to regular and non-regular employees are prohibited under the law that took effect on 2013.