Understanding Japanese unemployment insurance

By Alfie Blincowe

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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Caution: This article is oversimplified, Yes the unemployment benefit through hello work exits in all cities in Japan.

But do not even bother quit or resign your job thinking it's an ABC benefit fund. It's nothing close to that. If you quit, resign, or get fired from your job, forget about this insurance. There is a lot BS**, paperwork and interviews you will go through, and then they will Deny you the insurance. If your company goes bankrupt, or something happens which is not your fault , but your employers fault, then you stand a chance to benefit from it. But other than that forget about it, you won't see even a single coin from these people.

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Not really that bad. Yes, if you resign for yourself that means it was your own decision, so you have less chances if you apply for the benefit right after quitting. But after some months, if you were diligently looking for a job but for some reason are still unemployed, you do have a chance to get it.

Paperwork and interviews are necessary, else it would be just easy money for people who don't want to work. Imagine someone working some months, quitting, getting the unemployment benefits, getting another job for some months, quitting again, getting the benefits again...

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@1738Kwaaa!! What is an "ABC Benefit Fund"? That term is new to me and google is no help.

The Employment Insurance system here takes into consideration: 1) How you became unemployed, 2) how long you've been paying in, 3) Your age range, to determine your benefits.

If it's your choice or fault, you have to wait three months before you can start collecting and the maximum amount of time you can collect is limited. If your company initiated the end of employment, you are eligible to collect right away, as long as you've been paying in for at least a year.

How long you can collect (from 3- 15 months, depends on your age range ((how hard it is to find a new job)) and how long you've paid in).

And of course you have to report in monthly and fill in forms showing you are making efforts to find a job. Every country does that. Japan is actually pretty relaxed compared to, say, Canada. My sister once had her Unemployment Insurance payment denied because they learned from Canadian immigration that she had travelled overseas for a couple of weeks while claiming UI.

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