Nearly all car rental, lodging co’s in Yaeyama violate labor law

According to a report by Yaeyama Labor Standards Inspection Office published Saturday, all car rental companies and nearly all lodging industry businesses in the Yaeyama districts have been in violation of labor laws during the period from 2015 to 2016.

The Labor Inspection Office found that 100% of the 20 car rental offices and 30 of the 31 lodging industry businesses operating in the district had broken the Labor Standard Act, including having their staff work excess overtime hours and working overtime without overtime pay. The Office says that the situation shows the work environment is deteriorating, mainly due to the shortage of workers in the tourism industry.

The survey was the first conducted in Yaeyama covering the two industries. The longest monthly working hours were 219 hours in the lodging and 235 hours in the car rental industry. As the number of tourists has been increasing, the excess workload in the tourism industry has risen apace because of the worker shortage.

Following the survey, the Labor Inspection Office directed and instructed companies in the industries to take steps to rectify the situation. Officials at the Labor Office said that the situation was expected continue with a lot of overtime in the future, and stressed that the companies in the inspected industries were expected to follow the labor regulations as stipulated in the law.

Specifically, the office confirmed that during the past two years 30 offices in the lodging industry broke the law. 24 had made their workers to do excess overtime work, 18 were found to have unpaid overtime, and 10 had not clearly indicated working conditions.

Regarding the car rental companies, 15 offices were found to have not paid overtime, and 15 offices did not clearly indicate the working conditions.

The total number of tourists in Yaeyama area that comprises Ishigaki City, Taketomi Town, and Yonaguni Town in 2016 increased by 11.9% compared to the previous year to a total of 1,248,079. Yaeyama had 95n cruise ship visits in 2016, and the total income from tourism rose to ¥7.886 billion, the largest ever.