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7-Eleven store hits student with 9,350 yen 'penalty' for missing work due to cold

This image provided by the girl's family, partially modified for privacy, shows her pay slip with a handwritten note stating, "Penalty / 935 yen x 10 hours / 9350 yen" -- the total deducted from her wages.

A 7-Eleven store in Tokyo fined a student worker 9,350 yen as a penalty after she was absent with a cold, prompting action from its parent company, it has been learned.

    Seven-Eleven Japan Co. ordered the store in the suburban Tokyo city of Musashino to return the money to the 16-year-old employee on the grounds that its penalty violated Japan's Labor Standards Act.

    According to the public relations center for holdings company Seven & i Holdings Co., and other sources, the girl, a part-time worker, was absent for two days due to a cold in the second half of January, missing a total of 10 hours of work. When she received her pay packet, it listed wages of 23,375 yen for 25 hours of work, but contained pay for only 15 hours' work. A handwritten note attached to the pay slip listed a "penalty" of 9,350 yen.

    The store was quoted as telling the girl's parents that it took 9,350 yen off her pay to match the 10 hours she missed, as a "penalty for not finding someone to work in her place."

    A representative of the public relations center told the Mainichi Shimbun it was sorry the store lacked awareness of the law. The company judged that the penalty violated Article 91 of the Labor Standards Act, which states, "When determining a decrease in wages as a sanction against a worker, the decrease for a single occasion shall not exceed 50 percent of the daily average wage, and the total decrease shall not exceed 10 percent of the total wages for a single pay period."

    The Labor Standards Bureau of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare additionally pointed out that it is the owner's job to find a replacement worker.

    The girl's mother commented, "It's a lot of money for a high school student. It's painful to see it being taken from a part-time worker who is in a weak position."

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