IES sued over failure to enroll in shakai hoken

On 9 April a member, supported by the union, filed a case against International Education Services for failure to enroll him in shakai hoken (health & pension) for the past fourteen years.

This case came to the union's attention when a member came to us with a possible problem with his contract renewal. While examining the contract we realised that even though he was on a clear full time contract for the past fourteen years he had never been enrolled in health and pension insurance (shakai hoken).  Nor was he enrolled on unemployment insurance.

Here was a full time worker, paying a bundle on National Health Insurance (kokumin kenko hoken) at the city office while his employer got off without paying a yen towards his social insurance as is mandatory under the law.

The union applied for collective bargaining asking the employer to rectify these issues immediately. In the union's experience, most companies caught in this illegality tell is stories about why the member could not legally be enrolled, but not IES. They sashayed up to the bargaining table and said “Yes he was eligible but had never asked for it” so tough luck. The gall.

All the company offered was a lousy two years of back enrollment (with the member required to pay his half). They refused to even consider paying damages  over the fact that they had robbed him of fourteen years of pension payments (remember twenty five years is the minimum enrollment period to receive a pension) and left him paying more than double for his health insurance premiums.

Not being able to deal with the issue at the bargaining table, the union took him down to see a Lawyer and we learned a lot.

1. There are many cases where people have been awarded the difference between their kokumin kenko hoken payments and what they would have paid in health insurance had they been enrolled in shakai hoken.

2. It is difficult to sue right now over the pension loss as the member is not 65, and therefore not eligible to receive a pension. BUT there are clear examples of people suing once they reach pensionable age and winning financial compensation for a company’s failure to enroll workers in the pension.

So for now, we're suing over the health insurance part over the past eight years (the member is also seriously considering suing when he turns 65, too).

We hope that companies will take their responsibilities to enroll people in shakai hoken more seriously.  And when they haven’t followed the law they should try to work things out with the union. They can either talk with the union to rectify the issue or go to court, as we'll be advising more members to do in the future.





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