Not allowed to commute

umiuso

Warming-Up
Jun 3, 2008
4
0
0
Adachi, Tokyo
#1
I mistakenly told my new employer that I commute by bike to another job, and they forbid me to do so on the days I come into their office. I just started commuting by bike, and now the drudgery of riding the train is hardly bearable. I'm considering asking them to let me sign a waiver or something, but I don't know if that kind of thing works here in Japan.
Has anyone else been in this situation? I don't want to make a big deal about it, but money's tight and, like I said, I love the ride.
 
May 13, 2008
100
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Kawasaki-Shi
#2
Two things that sprang to mind immediately were

1. Is it within their rights/the law to demand this?
2. Shouldn't you get reimbursed for transportation?

I'll ask a colleague about point 1.
 

umiuso

Warming-Up
Jun 3, 2008
4
0
0
Adachi, Tokyo
#4
I should have explained--it is a part time job so I don't get reimbursed for transportation. It's also not the first job that has forbid me from riding my bicycle here in Japan, which is why it has taken me so long to take the plunge and start commuting. The job is a good step on the way to the career I want, so I'm not willing to dump them yet. But it certainly is frustrating that companies don't flinch about employees riding around on scooters or driving cars, but a bicycle...

I also should explain it is only a couple of times a week. I'm more worried that if my other job (which may be with the same company as Edogawakikkoman), which is every day, finds out, they may do the same.
 

simon

Speeding Up
Jul 19, 2006
96
0
26
Tokyo
#5
sorry if the answers to these questions are obvious,
but why don't companies want people riding to work?
and how do they know? (I guess you want to park your bike at work, inside?)
and how could they stop you? (fire you I guess... can they do that?)
and what's the difference with riding from home to station, or from home to work?
 

umiuso

Warming-Up
Jun 3, 2008
4
0
0
Adachi, Tokyo
#6
sorry if the answers to these questions are obvious,
but why don't companies want people riding to work?
and how do they know? (I guess you want to park your bike at work, inside?)
and how could they stop you? (fire you I guess... can they do that?)
and what's the difference with riding from home to station, or from home to work?
They weren't obvious to me, but here goes:

1) They are afraid you will get hurt, or, worse, hurt someone else, and they will get sued.

2) I could hide it, but I'm not a good liar.

3) They could fire me. They could make me feel bad. I don't know, they're lawyers, they could maybe sue me for breach of contract or something.

4) That one I can't answer. One of the lawyers himself rides to work, but just a few minutes, whereas I take an hour.
 

simon

Speeding Up
Jul 19, 2006
96
0
26
Tokyo
#8
> 4) That one I can't answer.

yeah, sounds like that distance and what type of bike/road used is the answer there. and I guess they just decide on it case by case.

seems to be something they shouldn't be allowed to do, but do do.
no fun :(
 

Pucci

Speeding Up
Jul 12, 2006
283
1
38
Yokohama
#9
Liability

Obvious answer. It's all about liability. Most likely their insiurance premiums will go up up if their employees are doing STUPID AND DANGEROUS THINGS on the way to work.

Our vision of what is stupid and dangerous does not agree with that of their insurers. And yes they could be held responsible for accidents that happen during the commute to work.

Simple and unrealistic answer: resign in a fit of pique and get another job. Yeah, I did say unrealistic...

BTW, I did have a friend in an identical situation. Eventually he did start commuting, but I never found out whether he squared it with the company or decided to lie.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,518
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#10
A funny thing with school kids near my home. If they live more than 20 minutes walk from the school they are allowed to ride. Both my sons get to ride to school where most have to walk.
If you wear a helmet and obey the road rules you should be treated the same as if you were driving to school.
 

simon

Speeding Up
Jul 19, 2006
96
0
26
Tokyo
#11
that seems to make it clear. but that liability stuff is... confusing, silly? ;)
I mean, you could think (logically) that once you enter the workplace, they then become liable...
but then if it includes going to the workplace, when does it start?
when you leave your home? the minute you wake up with the intent of getting to work on time?!
and what about going somewhere on the way to (or from work)?
who started all this trouble?? :)
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#12
my understanding

Like Pucci, I believe its about liability. For my company (and for most of my clients), we need to sign special waivers and get special permission to drive a car to work regardless of reason. My guess is that bicycle is considered a type of vehiclular conveyance to and from work, and the company is saying "too risky".

In other countries, its generally the employee's responsibility to get to and from work safely, and employees have a right choice means of conveyance. Seems this is NOT the case in Japan.:eek:uch:
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#13
...from the U.S.Military...

...They may have gotten something right!
When enlisting members of a 'certain' demographic, I believe they now have a policy of: "We won't ask if You don't tell"!
So far that has worked with all of the companies I've worked for (freelance).
They pay me extra money for train fare (which is usually spent on energy-gels & food), and as long as I arrive a good 30-minutes early to dry off & change clothes, no-one ever asks how I got there.
T
 

umiuso

Warming-Up
Jun 3, 2008
4
0
0
Adachi, Tokyo
#14
A Compromise

Decided to make a compromise. I live near the Arakawa, so I'll just ride that down to the bay, then take a train from there. Instead of a commute, it'll be my morning exercise. Kind of silly, but I think it fits. Some other time I'll fight the power, or quit, or whatever.
 
May 13, 2008
100
0
0
Kawasaki-Shi
#15
They weren't obvious to me, but here goes:

1) They are afraid you will get hurt, or, worse, hurt someone else, and they will get sued.

2) I could hide it, but I'm not a good liar.

3) They could fire me. They could make me feel bad. I don't know, they're lawyers, they could maybe sue me for breach of contract or something.

4) That one I can't answer. One of the lawyers himself rides to work, but just a few minutes, whereas I take an hour.
Seems you're more or less right on point 1.

We had to submit forms that stated how we would commute from our 'front door to the steps of the office.' Listed modes were train, on foot, bicycle, car, motorcycle (and probably ferry depending on location). Other required information were length of time for each segment for any transfers, total time for a one way journey and a map had to be downloaded of the area where we live. HR calculated the cost of a 6 month season ticket based on the above information and deposited it into my bank account, as I commute by train.

When working at the Nara site, I had to download a map to show the route I would use to drive to the office. HR would calculate the fuel costs to be reimbursed (based on another form that detailed our vehicles, distance, length of time etc, amongst a mountain of other forms and documents) adjusting it monthly as prices yo-yoed up and down (sometimes rode my motorcycle even though I was 'contracted' to drive and my boss at that time only told me to be careful and not get hurt).

The jist of it, as my current boss explained, is that we are 'contracted' to commute as stated on our application for commuting and it only becomes a problem for the company if we are caught deviating from it, meaning, involved in an accident or some fracas as commuting is a 'part of our job' (remember, company pays for it). This might explain point 4.
 

Ash

Warming-Up
Apr 23, 2006
686
1
0
shakujiidai, nerima ku, tokyo
#16
Many Japanese companies do this. They will not allow people to ride because it puts up their insurance premiums as they must pay out if you have an accident on the way to work, so naturally they want you to take 'safe'public transport.

'don't ask, don't tell' is the best policy. You just have to be careful they don't find out. If you have an accident on the bike on the way to or from work clearly you cannot tell them and they will not compensate you for it.

I think strictly speaking they cannot force you not to ride, but that does not mean they cannot fire you for breaking your 'contract'. Not a lot you can do about it. Suggest getting another job!

Ash
 

colin

Cruising
Jun 6, 2008
3
1
13
Tokyo
#18
Hi there,
My wife, who is Japanese and works for a Japanese trading company, sometimes rides to work, but she has to keep it secret. Her company's insurance does not cover bicycle accidents apparently, so they don't allow employees to commute by bicycle. I guess legally the company must cover workers from when they leave there front door (which is the case in my native australia), but her company's insurance does not cover that for cyclists. Like others have said, don't ask, Don't tell seems to be the rule, but if you have an accident you should not expect much assistance - at least without a fight. I work for a progressive government organisation, and they don't seem to care if I, and some Japanese employees, ride to work - I guess they have more flexible insurance. Like my wife, I think you should just keep it to yourself how you commute. By the way,ESPECIALLY if you are part time, your company should be paying you for commuting costs - you should pursue that at least.