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Credit Saison to upgrade all non-full-timers to permanent workers

Japanese card issuer to give everyone access to same benefits

While many Japanese businesses have upgraded the status of irregular workers, it is rare for a company to make everyone permanent.

TOKYO -- Credit Saison will turn 2,200 part-timers and other irregular workers into permanent employees next month, moving to retain talent as the Japanese government campaigns to ensure equal pay for equal work.

The Tokyo-based credit card issuer has about 4,100 employees across four separate categories: permanent workers, specialists, contract workers and part-timers. Most part-timers work at call centers or are involved in debt collection, while specialists handle such tasks as recruiting new cardholders. Members of the latter three categories receive no bonuses and only limited benefits.

These distinctions will vanish in mid-September. All workers will be permanent workers, regardless of how long they have been with the company, and will qualify for bonuses and the same benefits, such as vacation days and defined-contribution retirement plans.

The change is initially expected to cost hundreds of millions of yen, or millions of dollars, a year. Credit Saison hopes to retain talented staffers by offering better working conditions, even if it means paying them more. The company is also introducing such flexible work arrangements as shorter hours and telecommuting.

While many businesses in Japan have upgraded the status of irregular workers, making everyone permanent is a rarely taken step.

(Nikkei)

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