Complete victory in IES court case over shakai hoken

On November 7th, 2015, a union member's suit against his employer, International Education Services (IES), was settled in court mediation with the member winning each point he sued for. ("IES Sued Over Failure To Enrol In Shakai Hoken").

Foreign workers are often lead to believe that they are not eligible for shakai hoken (Employee's Health and Pension Insurance), or that - since they don't want the pension - they are better off with only kokumin kenkō hoken (Nation Health Insurance (NHI), via their local municipal office). Well, we hope this story will make you think again!

 

Our member has worked at IES full time for over ten years, but was never enrolled in shakai hoken. Thinking he wasn't eligible for enrolment, he decided to remain in the kokumin kenkō hoken system.

After coming to the General Union about another matter, he was shocked to find out that, not only was he eligible for shakai hoken, but that he had also been paying through the nose for kokumin kenkō hoken. The health insurance premium he was paying was much, much, more than the health insurance premium for shakai hoken - and almost as much for the health and pension combined (in shakai hoken health and pension are deducted together).

Therefore, not only was he getting ripped off for health insurance, he had also lost 14 years of pension contributions, too. In addition, for all that time, his company was not contributing even one yen to the system by not enrolling him properly.

Since we were not able to make any progress at the bargaining table the member, with the help and support of the General Union, decided to sue IES for their egregious failure to enrol him.

However, it was a little complicated due of the twin issue of both health and pension insurance. He couldn't sue over future pension losses because he's not yet 65 - but we did mange to sue over the difference in price between kokumin kenkō hoken and the health insurance portion of shakai hoken.

To cut a long story short, the General Union is pleased to announce that we won!

Here's a run down:

1. He was enrolled currently and retroactively (for two years) in both shakai hoken and koyo hoken (Unemployment Insurance).

2. The company agreed to pay the difference in the price between the two health insurances for the past eight years (this was was the maximum).

3. Since the money from point two was similar to the member's portion of the back enrolment in point one, the company covered the full cost of the back enrolment, in addition to paying some cash settlement. Due to now being back-enrolled in shakai hoken, the member is also entitled to a full refund for his kokumin kenkō hoken payments for the past two years. This money is all his.

4. The company also agreed in writing that it is their responsibility to enrol employees in health, pension, and unemployment insurance.

The company had claimed that they offer enrolment to everyone, but our member had refused enrolment (which our member wholly disputes). A company has a legal obligation to enrol everyone, not just "offer" enrolment, and point four fully underlines this.

In the end, after court costs, our member did not win a great sum of money - but he did it to make sure that his rights, and the rights of his co-workers, were protected. We salute him for his efforts in going through the whole process.

Are you in a similar situation? Cases like this help all of us, as companies are more likely to agree to changes when they see that their chances in court are slim.

 


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