◆Lowering allowances for regular employees to achieve “equal pay for equal work”

The Japan Post Group will abolish residence allowances for approximately 5,000 regular employees in October this year. This benefit has only been paid to regular employees so far, and the salary gap with non-regular employees will be narrowed. As movements aiming for “equal pay for equal work” are increasing, reducing the treatment of regular employees to correct the disparity is an unusual venture.

◆These transitional measures has been accepted by the Union side

The Japan Post Group consists of four companies, Japan Post Holdings, Japan Post, Japan Post Bank, and Japan Post Insurance. This measure is targeted on the approximately 5,000 employees receiving allowances, out of the approximately 20,000 regular employees who have no transfers that require relocations as a general rule. This will mean a 324,000 yen decrease of annual salary for each worker. The trigger for this movement was that the Japan Post Group trade union (about 240,000 members) requested the provision of five allowances such as family allowances and housing allowances, which are currently provided only to regular employees, to non-regular workers, at the Spring Offensive.
The company showed an understanding of the union’s argument and accepted payment of “New Year’s work allowance” to non-regular employees and proposed to abolish housing allowances for some regular employees. The union side initially opposed it, but compromised by deciding on transitional measures to provide partial allowances for ten years following the abolition.

◆Some regular employees dissatisfied with abolishment of allowances

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare ‘s guidelines concerning “equal pay for equal work”, treatment differences such as commuting allowances and meal allowances which are often paid only to regular employees cannot be permitted The government assumed that the treatment of non-regular employees would be raised to the level of regular employees.
The movement to realize “equal pay for equal work” by lowering the treatment of regular employees causes concerns on creating friction between regular and non-regular employees, but as the largest private independent union in Japan accepted the decision of the Japan Post Group, this movement may spread to other companies.