More workers moonlighting in Japan to ease financial burden

More companies in Japan are giving their blessings or tacit approval for their staff to take on outside jobs in the midst of the gloomy economic landscape.
By: | November 12, 2020

This trend has grown stronger since the collapse of the economic bubble of the early 1990s and accompanying relaxation of Japan’s strict traditional employment practices, but the pandemic has served to drastically change attitudes to fukugyō (moonlighting, or literally supplemental or secondary work), said The Japan Times.  

Not so long ago, moonlighting was actively discouraged or downright banned, a practice that is still prevalent for government workers and some private sectors. In addition, moonlighting has had a somewhat tainted image attached to it with rare reports of some engaging in the sex industry. 

However, perceptions are changing. In July, Tsukada Nojo, a nationwide pub chain, continued to pay furloughed staff 60% of their regular salary while they moonlighted in temp jobs in supermarkets and other establishments. 

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Earlier in April, Jetstar Japan, a budget carrier affiliated with Qantas Airlines, permitted its staff to seek outside employment. Similarly, Japan Airlines allowed its employees to take on outside jobs as long as they do not affect their work, said Shukan Post. 

Even banks, known for their strict employment policies, are changing their stance on moonlighting. Mizuho Bank has given staff the option to work four days a week with a 20% pay cut or three days per week with a 40% pay cut. “So Mizuho allows its employees to take side jobs, and it appears quite a few of them are going for these options,” said Tom Nevins of TMT, a labour consulting company, adding that “former Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe himself encouraged companies to consider allowing moonlighting, and now it’s much less likely to see strong action taken against employees.