- Expatriate Employee Issues
Multinational companies often transfer/second their employees to a Japanese subsidiary/branch to work in Japan. This can generate many labor-related issues for expatriate employees, such as governing law, fringe benefits, visas and immigration status, and termination of employment issues. We are experienced in matters relating to expatriate employees, including, but not limited to, secondment agreements and termination agreements.
- Executive (Board Members and Auditors) Issues
The relationship between companies and their executives (i.e., the board members and the auditors of the company) in Japan is primarily governed by the Companies Act. However, especially in a Japanese subsidiary of a multinational company, executives are often treated substantially the same as employees of the head office. We regularly advise on matters relating to company executives, including executive service agreements and executive separation agreements.
- Labor and Employment Issues Associated with Corporate Restructuring (M&A, Business Transfer, Corporate Split)
The Firm regularly advises clients on labor and employment issues arising in the course of M&A transactions, business transfers, corporate splits and other restructurings. Our advice includes the development of labor issue plans and labor related due diligence. We also provide advice on the specific legal requirements relating to mergers and acquisitions, including, but not limited to, personnel reduction, labor union issues, and effective communication between management and employees, and regularly conduct risk assessments of labor issues that are specific to each transaction.
- Payroll System / Retirement Allowance / Pension
Since Tax-Qualified Retirement Pension Plans must, according to the applicable law, be abolished by the end of March 2012, many companies in Japan will adopt either a Defined Contribution Pension Plan or a Defined Benefit Pension Plan as their new pension plan. However, the laws governing these pension plans are rather complex and technical in nature. Our Firm advises both Japanese and non-Japanese clients on the best way to amend and implement their pension plans. The Firm also has considerable experience advising clients on the establishment and amendment of payroll systems, such as the introduction of a performance-based compensation system.
- Labor Safety and Sanitation / Workers' Compensation / Social Insurance / Labor Insurance
Our firm provides advice on areas previously handled by certified social labor consultants such as labor safety and sanitation, workers' compensation, labor insurance, and social insurance. In particular, we have detailed knowledge concerning the handling of issues relating to employees with work related mental illnesses.
- Temporary Employment-Related Issues (Fixed-term Employment, Worker Dispatch)
Another important labor and employment issue in Japan concerns the employment of personnel on a temporary basis, such as employees hired on a fixed-term basis and temporary workers dispatched from staffing companies. As the workforce in Japan becomes more diverse, these alternative forms of employment are likely to become more commonplace. A sound understanding of the legal nature of these arrangements is thus important in order to ensure that our clients are able to minimize or even avoid the various legal risks inherent in these arrangements. The Firm is well versed in the employment issues associated with employment of personnel on a temporary basis, and is always abreast of changes and new developments in the law that may impact our clients.
Our attorneys regularly advise both multinational and Japanese clients regarding the establishment and amendment of rules of employment and other work rules and regulations. Our advice is crafted to ensure that employment contracts comply with Japanese labor laws and regulations, particularly those pertaining to labor safety and sanitation, personal information protection, fringe benefit programs, personnel relocation (including demotion, internal relocation, temporary transfer), overtime work, disciplinary punishment, childcare and nursing care, and other regulations. Further, as Japanese labor law has undergone considerable amendment in recent years, our attorneys regularly advise and ensure that our clients continue to comply with all applicable labor laws and regulations.
- Managing Labor and Employment Issues
Based on years of experience, our labor lawyers understand that although compliance with Japanese labor laws and regulations is important, it is equally essential for companies in Japan to efficiently manage their employees' labor and employment issues from a practical viewpoint. More specifically, we believe that labor and employment law advice is incomplete without appropriate personnel management advice. In providing advice to our clients we always keep in mind and stress the importance of practical management of labor and employment issues, which frequently leads to substantial energy, time and cost savings by clients.
- Our representative experience includes advising the following clients:
- A US company, on the amendment of its Japanese subsidiary's compensation system;
- A Korean company, on the relocation and secondment of employees who are members of a labor union;
- A US company, on personnel reduction issues;
- A French company, on the maintenance of rules concerning its subsidiary's holiday compensation system;
- A UK company, on the adoption of a system concerning the employment of disabled personnel;
- A Japanese company, on the establishment of a new pension plan based on the amended pension-related regulations;
- A Japanese company, on issues arising from the transfer of employees to a group company; and
- A Japanese company, on social insurance benefits issues.