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GU Home > GU News > Health & Pension News - 20 Jul 2012

Scandalous! GU sues gov't over health & pension insurance non-enrollment

“Scandalous” is the only word that comes to mind. At a time when the government has raised the consumption tax to deal with future social security needs, millions of workers across the country are denied the right to be enrolled in shakai hoken (health and pension insurance) by the very government that foresees future shortfalls.

We can understand that private companies don’t want to enroll, but why doesn’t the government follow its own rules and force enrollment? To this end, the General Union has now sued the government for failure to enforce its own laws and allow part time workers to finally be enrolled in shakai hoken.

So what has the General Union done before taking this bold step? Direct union action has seen some language schools and factories to clean up up their act. Now, among the major offenders are “dispatch” companies sending assistant language teachers (ALT) to public schools. So how are they able to skirt the law?

They take advantage of an internal Pension Agency memo, which can in no way supersedes the law (see pg. 4 for more information), which gives “about three-quarters of a full-timer’s working hours” as the threshold for enrollment (i.e., about thirty hours). So by simply giving a 29.5-hour contract, language schools and ALT dispatch companies are able to convince the Pension agency that there is no need to enroll their teachers even though this very clearly violates the law.
So why the fuss? The General Union believes that shakai hoken is a fundamental right of all workers and that the “three-quarters” rule is nonsense. The actual laws themselves never mention hours and in fact only mention who cannot join, not who can.

After the Pension Agency ruled against one of our members working on a 29.5 hour ALT contract, the member, with the complete backing of the union, is now suing the Pension Agency for negligence in following the Kenko Hoken Law (Health Insurance Law), the Kosei Nenkin Law (Employee’s Pension Law), and the constitution of Japan.

The basis of the claim is that the “three-quarter” rule contradicts the health and pension laws because there are no provisions on exclusion
from enrollment due to the number of hours or days worked.




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