Quitting Time – Part Two

Quitting Time – Part Two

We continue on from the Q&A submitted by several readers about what happens and the right protocol for leaving your firm.

Q: What are the typical ways "Juminzei" (Resident's Tax) is handled or transferred from the previous employer to a new employer? My new employer doesn't take care of Juminzei payments and says I should do it myself.

TL: Juminzei is the portion of your income tax paid to your City or Ward office. Usually your employer will take care of it, deducting it from your salary every month. However, if you have more than one job, work as a contractor, or if the company simply won't make the deductions (they're supposed to), then you will need to file your own tax statements to the City or Ward office before the June tax deadline each year.

Q: Are non-compete clauses in an employment contract enforceable in Japan?

TL: The Labor Law guarantees everyone the right to work, and so in principle it is difficult for an employer to stop you from working for someone else. However, if you were in senior management or if your new employment causes major financial damage to the ex-employer, they may seek to take you to court. Most savvy employers know that non-compete agreements are hard to enforce, however, and instead go after ex-staff with breaches of confidentiality agreements. These are enforceable and you should tread carefully if you have one.

Q: When I leave, can I take my name cards with me?

TL: It is up to your employer. Technically the name cards were acquired on company time so they belong to your employer. However, most companies will either let you copy the cards and take the copies, or alternatively take the cards. Else, when you are preparing to leave, simply take the cards home early and see if anyone notices...

Q: What about client gifts I have received? Do I have to return these?

TL: If the gifts you got from clients are minor items and were given to you personally, then generally speaking you can take them with you. If they're expensive items, you will need to ask for permission to remove them, unless you can prove that the individual on the client side was making the gift as a personal gesture.

Q: Can I keep answering some of my client's questions and messages after I leave?

TL: On a personal basis is of course OK, but not in the representation of the company-unless previously arranged and agreed in writing with a person in responsibility at your ex-employer. Although you may feel responsibility to make sure that a particular client is being looked after, you need to think about possible backlash if someone in your ex-company misconstrues your good intentions as being a subterfuge to steal the client! It is easy for people to misunderstand your actions and think the worst.