Employment Contracts

Information on definite, temporary and full- or part-time contracts for workers employed in Japan...

In Japan, any company employing more than ten people must draw up a document called Rules of Employment. This must be submitted to the Employment Standards Inspection Office and must contain information on the following subjects:

  • Pay details
  • How salaries are calculated
  • The expected hours of work, with start and finish times
  • Work breaks
  • Rest days and leave
  • Shift work
  • Retirement

The terms of the Rules of Employment must be made known to all employees and must be given in English or other languages if necessary.

People entering into employment in Japan should get a contract. An employment contract (roudou keiyaku) should not be signed until its terms are fully understood. There can be problems with pay and dismissal if these are not clearly defined in the contract. The following must be included in a written contract:

  • The duration of the contract
  • The location of the job
  • A job description or list of responsibilities
  • Details of working hours including breaks, leave, overtime and holiday entitlement
  • Salary and payment information
  • Information on terminating the employment
  • Information on retirement

A contract for part-time employment must also include the following:

  • Eligibility for pay increases and bonuses
  • Eligibility for retirement

If a contract is only given in Japanese, it is advisable to get it translated to ensure that all the details are understood. Most Japanese employment contracts have no fixed term. It is common for unlimited period contracts to have a probationary period of three to six months. Fixed-term contracts are not usually allowed to exceed three years. An employer may only terminate the employment before the stated date under exceptional circumstances.

Further Information

  • Japan External Trade Organisation page on employment contracts: Click here