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Music label Avex failed to pay hundreds of millions of yen in overtime

Music label Avex failed to pay hundreds of millions of yen in overtime

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Japanese music label Avex Group Holdings Inc said Tuesday it failed to pay its employees several hundred million yen collectively in overtime pay over an eight-month period through January.

Avex, which manages Ayumi Hamasaki and other major artists and entertainers, joins several big-name Japanese companies, such as parcel delivery provider Yamato Holdings Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co, where employees were recently found to have not been paid for overtime work.

The music company looked into its alleged practice after labor standard inspectors recommended in December an action to rectify its overtime work situation, and now considers roughly half of its around 1,500 employees as not having been paid for overtime work in full.

The company said it is set to provide the unpaid wages this month and will continue its probe to see if wages were properly paid in February and beyond.

Nonpayment for overtime work occurred at the company’s core units involved in music production. Avex’s internal investigation has found that while overwork was common at the operations, only a portion of overtime wages were paid.

Avex will change the way it keeps track of its employees’ working hours. Rather than checking the time workers start up their computers and shutting them down, it will allow employees to report their work hours online on their own.

After labor standard inspectors recommended a corrective action from the company in December, company President Masato Matsuura criticized the move and defended the company’s labor practices, saying on his blog that the relevant law is totally incompatible with the real situation facing its workers.

Avex is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and produces and distributes music while also being involved in anime creation and other film-related operations.