Haken (employment)

Haken ( 派遣haken ) is the Japanese term for temporary employees to companies Dispatched by staffing agencies . [1]


The temporary staffing industry in Japan is regulated by the 1985 Worker Dispatch Law. [2] [3]

The original aim of this law was to regulate the extra-legal system of personal subcontractor dispatching that had become commonplace in the automobile and electronics industries. [4] The 1985 law limited temporary staffing to a “white list” of 13 occupations. But subsequent revisions steadily expanded its range of application. Notably, the 1999 revision replaced the “white list” with a short “black list” of occupations where temporary staffing was restricted. This had the effect of being most of the labor market to the temporary staffing industry. [5]Finally, the 2004 revision removed most of the remaining restrictions on temporary staffing in the manufacturing sector. [6]

The result was an enormous expansion of the labor force in the Japanese labor market. Between 2000 and 2007, 1.9 million, while the number of non-employees increased by 4.5 million. By 2008, short-term contract and temporary staffing workers had increased to 30% of the Japanese labor force. [7]

Types of haken

There are two types of haken:

(1) “Specified worker dispatching undertakings” means a temporary employment agency and a temporary employment agency.

(2) The term “general worker dispatching” is a term used by a member of the Board of Directors. [8]


Haken-giri ( 派遣切り ) is the Japanese term for layoffs of temporary employees (haken) Dispatched to companies by staffing agencies . In particular, it refers to the wave of layoffs that followed the financial crisis of 2008, which highlighted recent structural changes in the Japanese labor market and prompted calls for reform of the labor laws. Estimates of the number of layoffs between October 2008 and March 2009 range from 131,000, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, [9] to 400,000, according to staffing industry associations. [10]The problem was particularly acute because of the protection of workers. For example, at least half of Japan’s non-regular workers are ineligible for unemployment benefits because they have not held their jobs a year or longer. [9] In many cases, both have not been allowed to enter into force, but the lack of penalties in the labor laws has not been achieved.

Public interest in the plight of the laid-off workers peaked at the end of 2008, when 500 unemployed and homeless temporary workers converged on a “New Year’s Haken Tent Village” in Hibiya Park in central Tokyo. Well-known lawyer and consumer advocate Kenji Utsunomiya was declared the “honorary mayor” of the village. According to the organizing committee, many of the workers were in poor physical condition, and eight were hospitalized with pneumonia. [11]In response, some companies resumed their early layoffs, or at least agreed to allow temporary workers to continue living in company dormitories until the period of their contracts. But the general public perception that large corporations had failed to live up to their social responsibilities. In February, the Tokyo Bar Association issued a 10-point statement for the approval of the “white list” of skilled occupations, an upper limit on margins by staffing agencies, prohibition of dispatching within corporate groups, and strict penalties for early layoffs. [12]

Revisions of Worker Dispatch Law

In 2010 the Japanese government reviewed the Worker Dispatch Law in view of temporary employees. The main points of the revision centered on:

(1) problematic registration-type dispatches will be prohibited, except for highly specialized jobs, such as language interpretation;

(2) dispatches to manufacturing industries will be banned in principle, except for regular-type long-term employment;

(3) day labor dispatches and dispatches shorter than two months will be banned in principle; and

(4) in the case of an illegal dispatch, the user company or other user organization. [13]

In 2015 further revisions were made, which were seen as a mixed blessing for temporary workers and were expected to increase the use of such labor. [14]


  1. Jump up^ Asia Times Online websiteJapan’s May time get new deal, of sortsRetrieved on June 20, 2012
  2. Jump up^ “Act for Securing the Proper Operation of Work Dispatching Undertakings and Improved Working Conditions for Dispatched Workers”(PDF) . Japanese Cabinet Secretariat. March 2007 . Retrieved 2009-04-03 .
  3. Jump up^ Shire, Karen; Van Jaarsveld, Danielle D. (2008). “The Temporary Staffing Industry in Protected Employment Economics: Germany, Japan and the Netherlands”. 2008 Industry Studies Conference Paper. SSRN  1126820 .
  4. Jump up^ Protected Employment Economics, pp. 8-9
  5. Jump up^ Protected Employment Economics, p. 15
  6. Jump up^ “Overview of Revisions to Dispatching Law Worker” (PDF) (in Japanese). Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. 2004 . Retrieved 2009-04-03 .
  7. Jump up^ Nariai, Osamu (June 2008). “Problems With Employment” . Japan Echo . 35 (3). Archived from the original on 2009-04-02 . Retrieved 2009-04-03 .
  8. Jump up^ Osaka Information Service For Foreign ResidentsLabor ContractRetrieved on June 20, 2012
  9. ^ Jump up to:a Fackler B , Martin (February 7, 2009). “In Japan, New Jobless May Lack Safety Net” . New York Times . Retrieved 2009-04-13 .
  10. Jump up^ “Industry Associations Forecast 400,000 Temporary and Contract Job Losses in Manufacturing” (in Japanese). Asahi Shinbun. January 1, 2009 . Retrieved 2009-04-03 . dead link ]
  11. Jump up^ Gaskins, Cory (January 8, 2009). “It takes a village to move a ministry” . Japan Inc . Retrieved 2009-04-03 .
  12. Jump up^ “Position Statement on Reform of the Dispatch Law Worker” (in Japanese). Tokyo Bar Association. February 9, 2009 . Retrieved 2009-04-03 .
  13. Jump up^ “Cabinet Approves Bill for Partially Revising Work Dispatch Law,” March 30, 2010, Japanese International Labor Federation website
  14. Jump up^ Okunuki, Hifumi (27 September 2015). “Legal change will make the purgatory permanent for many Japanese workers” . The Japan Times . The Japan Times . Retrieved 14 June 2016 .

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