Tokyo Creates Overtime Prevention Teams to Get Employees to Go Home

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Tokyo’s city government is taking its new overtime rules very seriously. Officials are hiring “overtime prevention teams” to hurry people out the door by 8 p.m., according to The Telegraph.

Japan is notorious for its long work hours and tacitly required after-work dinners and drinks with co-workers. In 2015, the country’s labor ministry received a record number of compensation claims for karoshi, or death from overwork. In 2013, the average Japanese worker got 18.5 vacation days, and used less than half of them.

In response, Tokyo’s municipal government set up overtime rules encouraging its employees to leave the office by 8 p.m. And to make sure people don’t stay at work anyway (or work unpaid overtime), each department of the 170,000-employee city government will have a task force to strongly encourage people to go home. These groups will turn off the lights on overeager employees, and monitor anyone who insists that they need to stay past 8 p.m. to do their job.

Japan isn’t the only country trying to rethink its work culture. (In fact, many U.S. industries probably could benefit from something similar.) The Spanish prime minister recently announced a plan to eliminate the traditional siesta in order to allow employees to get home earlier in the evening.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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