June 6, 1980, was a Friday. The Social Insurance Agency quietly issued an untitled internal memo called a naikan regarding the eligibility of part-timers in Japan’s shakai hoken health and pension program. Who could have known what chaos, confusion and frustration that single-page document would cause in the coming decades? Let’s get our hands dirty and dig through the details.
GU court victory against gov’t over insurance to have major impact
On 20 March at 13:25, the Tokyo District Court ruled on the case of a General Union member who sued the Japanese government in an important test case regarding eligibility for enrollment in the Employees Health and Pension Insurance (shakai hoken).
Read more at the GU website here.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
About 800,000 small and midsize companies are strongly suspected of evading their legal obligation to join the public pension scheme for company employees, according to the results of a joint investigation by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the National Tax Agency.
The ministry identified the companies that have likely not joined the pension scheme by examining data provided by the tax agency.
Last Thursday’s Supreme Court verdict in the “maternity harassment” case brought by a physical therapist in Hiroshima was the first of its kind, overturning decades of business-friendly jurisprudence along with rulings from the district and high courts.
As I mentioned in last year’s September Labor Pains (“Mata-hara: turning the clock back on women’s rights”), the word mata-hara is short for maternity harassment, just as seku-hara and pawa-hara refer to sexual harassment and power harassment, respectively. Maternity harassment means workplace discrimination against pregnant or childbearing women, including dismissal, contract nonrenewal and wage cuts.
Today we held a silent protest against icc language school for violating Japanese labor by firing Tozen member Sulejman Brkic who worked there for 22 years. He was illegally fired after he requested paid holidays and social insurance and pension. Thank you very much everyone for coming in solidarity!
“A Pension Agency enforcement directive continues to make it explicitly easier for employers to avoid paying pension and insurance contributions on behalf of their foreign employees who teach languages as compared with Japanese employees in similar positions. It also does not establish penalties for employers who illegally fail to enroll foreign teachers in the system. Employers may use different contracts for foreigners than for nationals, and courts have generally upheld this distinction as nondiscriminatory.
Tozen member Sulejman Brkic was bloody illegally fired.
ICC Language Schools is a language school that has six branches in the Kanto area, with its headquarters in Yokohama. Sulejman Brkic has been teaching English and French courses at this school for twenty years. He has always been very popular among his students, not only because of his superb teaching skills, but also for his charming personality and his wry sense of humor. Sulejman loves his job, and has worked passionately for the past two decades.