Mental health compensation granted by Japanese labour office

A woman in her 50s from Yokohama has been granted compensation for developing a mental disorder due to remote work overtime.
By: | April 8, 2024

In a landmark decision, the Yokohama branch of the Kanagawa Labour Office in Japan has approved an employee’s compensation claim for a woman who developed a mental disorder attributed to excessive overtime while working remotely. The announcement was made by her legal representatives, marking a significant milestone in the intersection of remote work and employee wellbeing.

The claimant, a woman in her 50s employed by a medical equipment manufacturer in Yokohama, had transitioned to remote work in response to the pandemic around 2020. Initially tasked with accounting and HR responsibilities, her workload intensified in the latter half of 2021 due to the implementation of a new reimbursement system. As a consequence, she found herself working extensive overtime hours, often receiving work directives even on her days off.

By March 2022, after enduring months of more than 100 hours of overtime per month, she was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder—a condition arising from prolonged exposure to stress, affecting cognition, emotions, and behaviour.

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The approval of the employee’s compensation by the labour office acknowledged the direct correlation between her mental health condition and the demanding work environment, reported The Japan Times. This recognition of remote work-related illness underscores the importance of prioritising employee wellbeing in evolving work setups.

Yuta Arino, one of the claimant’s legal representatives, said, “It is necessary to manage working hours properly and aim to reduce working hours, even for those working from home.”