Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union
Monday April 21st 2014

Shakai Hoken



Over the past few years or so, the union has filed several Shakai Hoken claims on behalf of members at ULI-GLI, Little Garden, IES and others. We lost some case in round one, but then won them on appeal. The others we won straightaway and preserved the victory in appeal. At each stage, we submit oral and written arguments to the local Shakai Hoken office of the Social Insurance Agency (SIA), now known as the Japan Pension Service (日本年金機構).

Some SIA agents have been reluctant to order management to enroll our members even in clear-cut cases, so it’s crucial we continue to apply pressure, including multiple long visits to the local offices or the prefectural offices, clear arguments based on the law and the 1980 and 2005 directives.

Repeated visits to the Shinjuku office of the Japan Pension Service by Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union member forced Linguage (Linguaphone) to back enroll even semi-fulltime teachers in Shakai Hoken in 2010.

More recently, the Japan Pension Service in 2011 forced Saiei School to again back enroll a member in Shakai Hoken following demands by the union.

At Simul Academy International, our members have just won the back enrollment of a full-time teacher by documenting all his unrecognized work hours in order to surpass even the phony enrollment criteria.

Berlitz Japan management has pushed out many teachers from Shakai Hoken based on phony enrollment criteria. This has caused a sense of crisis among many teachers. The union there is currently deliberating what action to take.

What Management Doesn’t Want You To Know

One thing we want all our members to understand is that Health Insurance Law (Article 3) and Employee Pension Insurance Law dictate enrollment in Shakai Hoken of all employees at “applicable workplaces” regardless of work hours. There are only 8 exceptions, stipulated in Article 3 of Health Insurance Law:

1) sailors
2) those employed less than two months
3) those employed at workplaces without fixed addresses
4) seasonal workers
5) employees of enterprises that will be in existence less than six months
6) those employed by the National Health Insurance Union.
7) those over 75 years old
8) those authorized by the SIA director or by a health insurance union or cooperative.

All the talk about part-timers qualifying if they work 3/4 or more the hours of a full-timer is a misrepresentation of the 1980 and 2005 SIA directives. These internal directives addressed to local SIA offices are operational guidelines for enforcement of the laws NOT enrollment criteria. Imagine a stretch of highway with an 80 km/h speed limit and a police officer who sets the radar to 90 km/h. This means the officer will pull over anyone who exceeds 90 km/h but not those who drive between 80 km/h and 90 km/h. It does not mean that it is legal to drive 85 km/h. Similarly the SIA directives provide guidelines for local agents to order employers to enroll their employees. They do not say it is legal not to enroll employees below the 3/4 threshhold. Finally, the directives have no legal force and are not referred to in the law.

Employers such as Nova and Berlitz use the internal SIA enforcement guidelines as if they were enrollment criteria. Management must pay half the premium so naturally their purpose is to save labor costs regardless of the impact on its teachers. Unfortunately, the SIA has turned a blind eye and in some cases openly collaborated with management in their illegal non-enrollment of employees. Let’s be clear and unafraid to say the truth – Berlitz Japan and Simul Academy are violating the law (Article 3 of Health Insurance Law) by not enrolling all its teachers.

The following is provided courtesy of the Tokyo Minato Ward Social Insurance Office:

Employers, enroll your employees to the Social Insurance

- Please submit the “Application for Enrollment” -

Is your company subject to the Employees’ Health Insurance (EHI, KENKO HOKEN in Japanese)? The laws determine any company with more the 5 workers or any HOJIN corporation as the “applicable workplace” for coverage under the EHI and EPI. Any worker who is employed by the applicable workplace on regular bases shall compulsorily become the insured person of the EHI as well as EPI, irrespective of his/her nationality, sex, or wage. The workers aged 70 and over are, however, only covered by EHI.

The “workers employed on regular bases” means the workers who provide service at an applicable workplace and receive salary or wages for the service provided. There is such employer-employee relationship on regular bases. It is regardless of the the worker is a regular worker (SEISHAIN) or a part-timer, or whether there is a written employment contract or not.

Practically, even if your worker is not a regular worker, he/she shall be subject to coverage, as a worker employed on regular bases, in the following cases:

1. Part-Timers and other Non-Regular Workers

Are your part-timers subject to coverage of the Social Insurance? It depends on their work hours and work days compared with your regular workers who are engaged in same work in the same workplace.

In principal, your part-timers shall be covered by the Social Insurance if their;

(1) work days per month are more than 3/4 of your regular workers


(2) work hours per day or per week are more than 3/4 of your regular workers

To be precise, there could be other factors to be taken into consideration such as working conditions/ actual working situations.

2. Non-Japanese Workers

The EHI and EPI cover workers employed on regular bases irrespective of their nationality.

3. Workers on Probation

Irrespective of employment contract or consent of the worker, any workers employed on regular bases shall be covered by the EHI and EPI.

“Application for Enrollment” (SHIKAKU SHUTOKU TODOKE)

When you employ workers who are subject to the coverage of EHI and EPI, you shall submit the “Application for Enrollment” to the Social Insurance Office within 5 days of employment. If you fail the application, you may have to pay the past contributions in a lump.

For details, please contact your nearest Social Insurance Office:

(When you contact us please speak Japanese.)

MINATO Social Insurance Office
1-10-14, Hamamatsucho,
Minato-Ku, Tokyo 105-8513

Detailed information in English on Employee’s Health Insurance from the Japanese Social Insurance Agency: