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Now I am asking myself, what could be the difference between 労働契約{ろうどうけいやく}and 雇用契約{こようけいやく}... Is it possible, that 労働契約 could be used for general meaning of any kind of employment contract? And if 雇用契約, meaning a normal standard employment contract, could represent just one of several types of 労働契約 employment contracts? Thank you so much fo

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Doing some research I found a few articles regarding the same question and they all seem to say more or less the same thing:

Basically the two types of contract are "quite" the same thing but have few important differences. According to an article I will reference below, we could sum up with these three main differences:

  1. The 労働条件通知書 is just a notification, while the 雇用契約書 is a contract in the sense of an agreement (both parties have to affix a seal on it).
  2. The two types are based on different set of laws (codes).
  3. The 労働条件通知書 may have a fine is violated, while the 雇用契約書 has not.

Let me expand a bit more point number 2. Being based on two different codes means that:

  • The 雇用契約 has its roots in the civil code (民法).

  • The 労働契約 has its roots in its own code called 労働契約法, which I'm not sure how to translate in English.

Each type of contract is defined in the respective code. More specifically, according to the civil code article 623 employment (雇用) is defined as:

The act in which one concerned person undertakes to perform work for the other party, and such party undertakes to provide remuneration in exchange for such work

On the other hand, in article 4 of the 労働契約法, there is a more distinct definition of the duties/roles of employer and laborer:

  1. The employer will make help the employee to deepen (fully comprehend) the terms of the contract that he is presented with as well as the employee's duties.
  2. The laborer as well as the employer, will make their best effort to fully acknowledge and confirm the contents of the contract.

(The above are maybe a bit loose translations but should be adequate).

According to the above, we could say that 雇用契約 > 労働契約, in the sense that the first one has a broader/more generic target.

However, being 労働契約法 a special law it has a higher priority than the more general civil code (although I'm not sure priority in what sense, I'm just translating the source below). So in the sense of priority, 雇用契約 < 労働契約.

Anyway, in general the difference with the two is so subtle that they can considered to be equal.

I hope the above is enough to answer your question. You can find much more info here.

  • Great thanks for your careful and detailed explanation... I appreciate your help a lot!! By the way, so strange, I could not find the word 雇用契約 in Daijirin dictionary, but 労働契約 - yes... – Fara Feb 23 '17 at 22:23
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    Glad it helps. Couldn't say why it's not on the dictionary, it might be not a Japanese word "per se" but simply a compound of 雇用 and 契約 (as it's a very genera thing), while the second one being more specific is considered as a single word. I have no idea just guessing. – Tommy Feb 24 '17 at 1:00

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