Insurance system that covers all workers to be discussed in Japan
Insurance system that covers all workers to be discussed in Japan

Insurance system that covers all workers to be discussed in Japan

The government will soon launch full-fledged discussions on extending the coverage of employee pensions and health insurance programs to all workers in the country.

The issue will first be discussed by a government panel of experts on Japan’s social security system for all generations.

The government aims to set the direction for the insurance system, which covers all workers around June and get it reflected in its honebuto basic economic and fiscal guidelines.

With the adoption of bills regarding the pension system reform in May 2020, the coverage of k.sei nenkin The public pension program primarily for business employees is to be expanded to include those working in companies with 51 or more employees by October 2024. Currently, the workforce requirement is 501 or more.

The focus in the forthcoming discussions is expected to be on whether the employees’ pension coverage can be extended to all companies regardless of the number of employees.

Providing universal pension and insurance coverage for workers is one of the tasks set by the expert panel.

“We are seeing diversified work styles introduced in Japan, where more people are taking secondary jobs or working freelance,” said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. “We need to think about ensuring social security that is neutral in terms of work styles.”

The panel of experts believes that the labor force requirement for the kōsei nenkin pension program needs to be further revised so that those working in smaller firms, freelancers and so-called “gig workers” will also be covered.

However, as pension premiums are paid by employers and employees on a 50-50 basis, the coverage increase is expected to provoke a setback from some employers over additional costs to be generated. During previous parliamentary deliberations on the matter, concerns were raised about an increased burden on small businesses. Ways to cover the premiums for concert workers, including independent contractors and shift workers, should also be discussed.

“We need to give direction to the discussions (on the expansion of insurance coverage) quickly, as small businesses will be significantly affected,” said a senior health ministry official. The government plans to speed up the audit work, including by using similar cases abroad as references.

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