Types of employment in corporate Japan



The types of employment in Japan may differ from your home country. There are differences in paid leave, social security benefits, and labor laws. Whether you’re job hunting or about to sign up with a new company, check the status of your position and know what you’re entitled to. 

Full-time employee 正社員・正規社員

As the name implies, full-time employees are permanent employees directly hired by the company. They have signed an employment contract with the company and are expected to work in exchange for remuneration paid by the employer. Typical full-time employment is a 40-hour work week with up to 45 hrs of overtime per month. 
One benefit is that full-time employees are protected by Japanese labor laws and thus cannot be fired easily by the company. They are often seen as being stable and low-risk, which is often why it’s easy for full-time employees to obtain loans and buy property than other types of employment. 
Benefits include secured salaries, opportunities for promotion and growth, insurance coverage, transportation allowance, and social security benefits (maternal/paternal leave, bereavement leave, rent allowance, etc.). 

Contract employee 契約社員

Contract employees are also full-time employees directly hired by the company but are under a contract to work for a short and specified period. They must renew their contract after the period ends. Some companies offer a permanent position after a specific time, usually five years.
They are entitled to some benefits, such as overtime allowance and paid leave but may not be eligible for benefits such as bonuses.

Independent contract worker/company 業務委託

Companies may use independent workers or companies to outsource tasks or projects they cannot do internally. It’s usually seen as a cost-cutting measure to hire highly-skilled people for a short period. 
As the company does not hire them, they are not entitled to paid leave and benefits from the company.

Temp staff 派遣社員

Temp staff are hired by a temp agency and are not directly employed by the company. They are often hired to fill admin and secretarial positions or to fill in for a vacant position for some time. They are paid by the hour. 
The company does not pay their transportation fees, social security benefits, or paid leave. Since there is a low bar to start working as a temp staff, it can provide workers with experiences in different fields. However there isn’t much career advancement, and temp staffs are often the first to go during a downsizing. 

Part-time worker パート・アルバイト・フリーター

Part-time workers are daily or hourly workers that may include homemakers, students, and those in-between jobs. While there is often flexibility in the schedule, they are not entitled to social benefits. 

Intern インターン

Interns are students or trainees working at the company to gain work experience. Depending on the company, some internships are paid positions.