Gov’t looks to open up pension plan to part-time workers

The ruling coalition and government are discussing the possibility of allowing part-timers who work for an employer for more than a certain period to join the pension system, sources said.

Currently, companies are obliged to pay a half of pension premiums for their part-time employees who work more than 30 hours a week [sic].

Earlier, officials of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare tried to make some 3 million people eligible for the pension system by cutting the required hours of work to more than 20 hours a week. But those in the distribution industry, which employ many part-timers, were so vehemently opposed to the plan that the ministry dropped the idea.

But now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly wants to allow more people to join the pension plan, prompting government and ruling coalition officials to discuss the idea of allowing part-timers who work for a certain period, probably more than one year, to join the system.

Under the idea, part-timers who work more than 20 hours a week for less than 12 months will probably be excluded from the pension system, sources said.

Currently, companies are required to pay half of pension premiums for full-time employees who work more than two months for a company.

http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20061114p2a00m0na006000c.html

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