Japan to Explore Expansion of Pension and Insurance Systems to Cover More Part-timers

At present, the Japanese government is looking at the possibility of expanding corporate pension and insurance schemes in order to cover more part-time workers in Japan, and to strengthen the financial base for the country’s overall insurance and pension systems.

In the current pension system, part-timers or those who put in at least 30 hours of work in a week, or even those who work fewer hours but still fall under certain wage brackets in companies with at least 501 workers, are covered by employees’ pension (kosei nenkin) and applicable insurance (kenpo) schemes.

Japan Studies Expansion of Corporate Pension and Insurance Schemes to Include More Part-timers

Furthermore, part-timers who work at smaller companies can also join the pension and insurance programs if their employers waive agreements with labour unions.

As such, the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry is studying the consequences (and benefits) of lowering the 501 employee limit to immediately expand the number of policy holders, and aims to revise the rule in fiscal year 2020. In line with this, the Ministry also plans to establish a panel of experts and company owners sometime in September to review the matter at hand.

As more part-timers are expected to become qualified to avail corporate pension benefits and health insurance protection, the government hopes that the revision of pension and insurance systems can encourage more women to join the workforce.

Critics of the proposal, however, foresee how employers may disapprove of the change on the grounds that this will put more burden on them financially, since they will be required to shoulder half of the pension and insurance premiums of every worker to become eligible with the proposed change in the scheme.

In June, the government has adopted a basic fiscal and economic policy which expresses the intention to develop pension and health insurance systems that could cover everyone in the workforce.

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