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12,900 Kansai Electric Power employees not paid for overtime work

Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) announced on March 30 that for a two-year period through the end of last year, it did not pay around 1.69 billion yen in overtime compensation to some 12,900 employees, or about 60 percent of its workforce.

    The company uncovered the unpaid overtime in an investigation prompted by labor officials. In April last year, a KEPCO section head in his 40s who was in charge of safety inspections in connection with an extension of the operational life of aging reactors at the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture took his own life, and this was recognized as having been due to overwork. On Jan. 6 this year KEPCO was given instructions from the Tsuruga labor standards inspection office of the Fukui Labor Bureau to look into the work hours of its employees.

    Also, on Dec. 20 last year, the Tenma labor standards inspection office of the Osaka Labor Bureau had advised KEPCO to improve its work pay situation on the grounds that there had been unpaid overtime at its main office.

    KEPCO looked into the work hours of all of its around 22,400 employees for the two years leading up to the end of last year, examining the times recorded on employees' time cards for arriving and leaving and comparing this to the time that the employees' computers were used and their email accounts were active. This showed time that they had been at work but not been considered as being so. Nearly 60 percent of KEPCO employees were victims of unpaid overtime, at an average of about 5,500 yen a month per worker, or pay for about 1.8 hours of overtime.

    KEPCO said it will report the matter to the labor standards oversight organ on March 30 and pay the unpaid overtime money on April 20.

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