For many foreigners, working in Japan is a dream come true. Experiencing the culture first-hand by living here and participating in daily life rather than just observing it in passing. But what happens when the grim realities of working life creep into your amazing Japanese experience? What happens if the company work for goes bankrupt, issues layoffs, moves or merges and you lose your job while living here without a follow-up gig on the horizon?
Luckily, the social benefits that are deducted from your pay can help. For anyone who quits or is downsized or otherwise loses their job and has no secondary source of income to support themselves there is a temporary fallback — koyo hoken (雇用保険), or unemployment insurance.
What is it?
The koyo hoken benefit — also known as shitsugyo hoken (失業保険) — is a kind of safety net for those who have lost their job in Japan and are yet to find a new one. The scheme helps recently unemployed people to support themselves until they find their next job. It’s run by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare but anyone who wants to use the system will have to go through Hello Work (Japanese), the government organization that helps anybody in Japan find employment.
Who can enroll?
To claim unemployment insurance benefits, you must, of course, have first paid into the system. Anyone who has worked in Japan for six months and made insurance payments is eligible to apply.
Unemployment insurance payments are wrapped up with pensions and health insurance as part of shakai hoken (社会保険), or social insurance benefits. These are all paid together and appear as deductions on your pay slip if you are a full-time employee. Part-time or freelance workers will have to pay their insurance independently as part of their kokumin kenko (国民健康) hoken, or national health insurance.
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