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  1. Group Employment Trips
  2. Spring Employment Season
  3. Hiring New Graduates
  4. Hiring New High School Graduates
  5. The Japanese Employment System
  6. Lifetime Employment
  7. The Seniority Wage System (nenkō joretsu)
  8. The Bonus System
  9. Enterprise Unions in Japan
  10. Enterprise Union Cooperation
  11. Unemployment Insurance
  12. Dual Tracks in Female Occupations: Ippan Shoku (Non-Career Track) and Sōgō Shoku (Career Track)
  13. Increase of Female Employees
  14. Female dominant occupations
  15. Post-Retirement Employment and Social Security
  16. Marriage Retirement and Retirement Ages for Men and Women
  17. Relations between Large and Small Companies
  18. Part-time Female Workers
  19. What Kinds of Work Do People Do in Japan?
  20. Freeter/ Furita: Part-Time Workers in Japan
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A man stands above bundles of cash while four women fan the cash they have received.
Japanese office workers with a pile of cash to be used for Bonus payments.
Photo from Mainich Shimbun.
The Bonus System
The bonus system applies to a broad range of workers, but not to all. Regular employees earn a monthly wage, which is usually paid as a fixed salary. It is based on their general classification and years of service. The monthly wage is intended to cover living expenses. In addition, employees receive substantial bonuses twice a year, in June and December. Each bonus is normally equal to one to three months’ salary. Although the term “bonus” suggests a special reward for good work, the semi-annual bonus has become an entitlement and an integral part of the wage system. It is also a form of profit-sharing for companies. The size of the bonus depends on the company’s profitability, and is subject to collective bargaining by the company’s union. However, even some companies facing bankruptcy continue to pay reduced semi-annual bonuses. Since employers and employees consider the bonus to be a part of the wage package, it acts as a form of forced savings which the company withholds from the monthly salary. Japanese workers know that twice a year they will receive a bonus payment, which they can use for major purchases and for savings. Because it is both predictable and substantial, the bonus system encourages saving and rational planning of expenditures.
Special Terms: living expenses

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