by Yoneyama, 13 Sept 2021
One of the benefits of working in Japan is Japan’s relatively generous social insurance services.
By laws, you are entitled to these social insurance services as long as you legally work in Japan with social insurance tax to be paid by your company by a 50% deducting out of your monthly salaries and bonuses, and by bearing the remaining 50% by the corporate account. Major ones are Pension Insurance（厚生年金）, Health Insurance（健康保険） including Nursing Insurance（介護保険）, Employment Insurance（雇用保険）, Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance （労働災害保険）(your company bears 100% of the insurance cost) and Children Allowance System（児童手当制度） (your company bears 100% of the insurance cost). Your nationality, faith or gender does not make any difference both for the cost and the benefits.
This series of my blog is to let you know some of “non-Japanese businesspersons should know” benefits and how to claim them as well as government rules and laws that your management have to comply with to employ you and have you work for their companies. I am not a licensed social insurance consultant, so, for your specific questions or issues, you’d better ask or consult with the professional social insurance consultant whom your company hires.
Category of employment in Japan
There are the following five categories of employment available in Japan:
Regular employee（正社員）No employment time limit of employment
Contract worker（契約社員）An employment period is stated on an employment contract.
Part-timer（パート） Working hours are shorter than regular employees.
Part-time student worker（アルバイト）Working days/hours are on a temporary basis.
Temporary employee（派遣社員） Dispatched by a temp staff agency
If you are a contract worker (契約社員), and if your contract term is renewed to cover a cumulative contracted years of five years or longer, you are given a right by law to demand a no-employment-time-limit contract. If you are a temporary employee (派遣社員), and you are not a regular employee of your temp staff agency, your staff agency is required, after you worked for the first three years at a company where you are dispatched, to ask the company to directly hire you or to hire you as a regular employee of the staff agency. In other words, a Japanese company cannot continue to hire a same temporary employee for a same job for more than 3 years unless the temporary employee is hired by the staff agency with no employment time limit.
Another important condition the Japanese labor law recently imposed on employers is the same work, same pay/welfare rule.
If you are a contract worker or a temporary worker doing a same quality/responsibility of job as a regular employee, yet you notice your pay and or welfare benefit is smaller, you are given a right to ask your employer to explain why, and your employer is required by law to make clear and logical explanation to you. If you are not convinced by the explanation, there may be some legal steps to protest or demand fair treatment.
Paid holidays and social insurance for contracted workers（契約社員の有給休暇や社会保険）
If you are a contracted worker committing a predetermined work period, which is more than 6 months, you are entitled to paid holidays as long as you served 80% or more of the total working days of the 6 months. If your working hours per day, per week and per month are nearly equal to or at least three thirds or more of those of regular employees, you are entitled to the social insurances, namely pension (厚生年金), health （健康保険）, and employment (雇用保険), and you and your employer are obligated to pay insurance cost (tax, premium) on a 50:50 basis.