Piecemeal temp jobs at agencies face ban

An advisory panel to the labor minister issued a report Monday recommending that staffing agencies be prohibited from registering workers on individual contracts for specific jobs that pay only when work is available.

The report, which also proposes banning the practice of sending workers for short-term manufacturing jobs, comes in line with a government plan to submit a bill to the Diet to improve the working conditions of temporary staff by tightening the law regulating their dispatch.

About 2.02 million people worked as temp staff as of June 2008, and some 440,000 of them would likely be subject to the proposed regulations, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The move, aimed at stabilizing employment, signifies a policy shift to tighten control on the temporary worker system, which has experienced gradual deregulation in staffing services since the law took effect in 1986.

The subcommittee’s report recommends prohibiting the dispatch of temp workers on a registration basis, except for 26 types of jobs that require professional skills and expertise, including secretarial work and translation, and jobs involving the dispatch of elderly workers.

It also seeks a ban on dispatching temporary workers for manufacturing jobs, except in cases where staffing agencies conclude long-term job contracts with workers.

For clarification, the regulations will be put into practice on a date set by ordinance within three years after the revised law is promulgated.

Among registration-basis temp jobs, those that match the needs of workers and face few problems, including clerical jobs, will be prohibited after five years at the latest.

Conditions of so-called registered temp workers – those who register with staffing companies and get an employment contract only for the duration of a job – are particularly poor, critics say.