1. Legal Framework
There are two separate legal frameworks, both run by the Japanese government – (1) social insurance (employees’ pension and health insurance) and (2) labor insurance (workers accident compensation and employment insurance). All employees must be enrolled in labor insurance. All employees of legally incorporated entities, or workplaces with 5 or more regularly employed employees, must be enrolled in social insurance.
2. Required Contributions
The employer and employee share the contributions of the above programs 50% each, except for workers accident compensation insurance, which is fully borne by the employer. The rate of the contribution is often subject to change due to the need of increased funds for pension payouts. Rates are on the rise.
3. Required Maternity/Sickness/Disability/Annual Leaves
A pregnant employee can take a leave up to six weeks, or 14 weeks in the case of a multiple fetus pregnancy, before giving birth, and eight weeks after, delivery. Maternity leave before delivery is optional and at the employee’s discretion, but maternity leave after delivery is mandatory. Employers are prohibited from dismissing an employee on maternity leave and 30 days after return from maternity leave, or to treat an employee unfavorably for taking maternity leave.
Child Care Leave
Statutory child care leave that an employee can apply for is until the child reaches age 1, but extension may be applied for up to the child reaching age 1.5 years, if one of the following situation applies, and is substantiated with relevant documents:
- certificate showing that the employee applied for nursery, but was unable to enter her child from the child’s first birthday.
- Demonstrate that her spouse (could be live in partner who is not legally married) who is the parent of her child and has been, and was to continue caring for the child when the child reached age 1 can no longer do so due to death, injury or sickness, or will no longer live with the child due to divorce.
An employee may take child care leave until the child reaches age 1 year and 2 months if the employee alternates child care leave with a spouse. This is meant to motivate male employees to take child care leave.
Nursing Care Leave
An employee may seek up to 93 days of family care leave per family member who falls within “spouse, parent, child, parent of spouse, or grandparents/ brother or sister/ grand child who the employee lives with and is a dependent on the employee”.
Sickness – none if the sickness/ injury is not caused by work, although it is common practice for employers to voluntarily provide a sick leave (for weeks/ months/ years, depending on the employer).
4. Mandatory and Typically Provided Pensions
Mandatory – none (the pension provided under the employees’ pension scheme that is statutory is provided by the government, although employers may voluntarily set up a pension scheme).
Typically provided pensions – since employers are free to structure voluntary retirement allowance programs (it may be a traditional pension plan, a lump sum payment plan, or a combination of both), the structure will vary with each company.