Dear General Union: Shakai Hoken Questions

As you might imagine, the General Union tends to receive a lot of email enquiries from members and non-members alike.

As many of the replies that we give contain information that's useful for everyone, we thought you might be interested in this e-mail about shakai hoken enrolment, as well as our reply.


Dear General Union,

I'm a teacher in Osaka who is currently enrolled in the Kokumin Kenko Hoken system. I'm interested in getting Shakai Hoken because I've just got married and my wife earns less than one million yen per year.

My question is this...


If I'm enrolled in shakai hoken, does that mean I can't work at other places or do private lessons? I wouldn't be able to survive just with one school's pay, so I'm worried how to do it right.

In addition, do you need to fit the criteria that you list in this article:

It says "you must be enrolled" if you fit the criteria; but what about if your employer is nice and offers to enroll you, even though you don't, for example, work 20 hours a week or make more than 88,000 yen a month?

Thank you.



If your shakai hoken (or shigaku kyosai) is based upon a part-time job, you can most certainly continue to have other work.

In a way, you have hit the jackpot: your health insurance premiums are only based on the income from that one job, which can save you a lot of money.

That being said, there is a downside: your pension premiums are also only based upon that one income and, as a result, upon retirement, your final pension will be less than the average.

Until recently, it was compulsory to enroll all employees working 30 hours or more. Under that condition, the company/school could decide to enroll other people at a certain criteria.

The law was that everyone working those hours or above must be enrolled.

For example, Doshisha High School rules stated that those working 10 or more hours per week, and 3 days per week or more, would be enrolled. Another school, Kun'ei Girls School set that figure at 8 hours with no limit for the number of days.

However, the law has since changed, and it now does not allow companies/schools to enroll people working under 20 hours per week from this year.

This being Japan, though, some schools have found a way around this law by counting the working time as being from the first lesson to last lesson.

This takes "3 day per week" workers over the 20 hour line, and the schools can continue to offer enrollment.

Some schools, though, have stopped offering enrollment for new employees working less than 20 hours of lessons entirely.

Therefore, if your company has offered you enrollment at that salary, I would consider that lucky, as the shakai hoken system is much, much better than kokumin kenko hoken.

In addition, with your wife earning so little she should also be able to be enrolled as a dependent on your insurance. It's a big saving when you factor in the pension!

I hope that's not too confusing. If it is, please feel free to ask for clarification.

You can find more information at:

On another note: have you considered joining a union?

We are only able to offer this kind of advice to non-members because of current members who fund our staffing.

If you are interested in knowing more I would be happy to set up a consultation.


The General Union






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