Do I have to reimburse for the dishes I broke while working?

2017.03.01 update
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Troubles with breaking dishes or glasses seem to happen often if you are working at a restaurant. If you break anything accidently while at work, would you have to pay for the damages? Here is how you can handle the situation.
Broken glasses

Talk to your employer

There is no written rule that states that you must reimburse all the damages of broken dishes when working at a restaurant. However, if you break enough to where it interferes with the normal operation of the business, or if you break them intentionally, then the possibility of having to pay for the damages increases. If you accidentally break anything that belongs to the restaurant, and be able to explain why it happened, talking to the employer would help.

What if they still ask for the full reimbursement?

Here are the most likely cases when the employer will ask for full reimbursement:

① When you intentionally break them.
② After many warnings have been given, and your carelessness is ongoing.

If you are working within the limit of common sense, neither one of the above should be applicable. Especially because preventing ALL dishes and glasses from breaking when working at a restaurant is almost impossible. The restaurant should also practice to limit the damages to minimum, such as educate employees on safety training, and put insurance on valuables and so on. Even in trials, responsibility of an accident should not be put only on the employee; therefore the pursuit of liability is limited.

The cost of damages were automatically deducted from my pay check

Even if you bear the responsibility of broken dishes, the employer cannot deduct the full cost of damages from your pay check. It is prohibited in the Labor Standards Act, Article 24. The employer must pay in full for your time worked, and then ask for reimbursement.

Also, it is prohibited in the Labor Standards Act to include any clauses relating to full reimbursement of broken equipment by employee in employment contract. If you are unlawfully billed, contact Labour Bureau or a lawyer without hesitation.

Consultation for student workers
Tokyo Labour Bureau Labor Contract Act Student workers help desk

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