800,000 firms likely dodged pension scheme

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.

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‘Maternity harassment’ verdict benefits women, men — and our humanity

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.

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ICC Silent Protest in Yokohama

Tozen Members join in a silent protest against ICC for illegally firing union member Sulejman Brkic


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!

Tozen Vlog for April 8, 2014

US State Department Lauds Tozen for Pension Activism

“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.

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Is Sulejman Brkic no longer a member of the ICC Family?

Tozen member Sulejman Brkic was bloody illegally fired.

Fired TeacherICC 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.

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40% of part-timers want regular work

Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012

More than 40 percent of part-time workers aged between 20 and 34 want full employment, according to the results of a government survey conducted in 2011.

The proportion of respondents looking for full-time work increased from some 30 percent in the previous survey, conducted in 2006, the Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry said Thursday.

The ratio stood at 57.3 percent for the 20-24 age bracket, up from 44.7 percent in the previous survey, followed by 41.8 percent for people 25 to 29, up from 30.6 percent, and 42.7 percent for the 30-34 bracket, up from 23.4 percent.

But overall, only 22.0 percent wanted to be full-time employees, because older workers enjoy the flexibility of part-time work, the ministry said.

The proportion of male part-timers longing for full-time positions came to 29.4 percent, far exceeding the 18.8 percent for female workers.

Asked why they wanted to become regular employees, 76.9 percent of all respondents said they want to earn more, while 66.3 percent said they want job security and 27.6 percent said they want more experience.

Multiple answers were allowed.

The ministry said many part-time workers in their 20s and 30s aspire to become regular employees, possibly because many of them were not able to get full-time work in the fallout from the bursting of the bubble economy in the early 1990s and the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.

The survey is conducted roughly every five years. The most recent poll covered 14,835 part-timers across the country excluding the three disaster-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

The valid response rate was 69.0 percent.

Welfare pays better

The minimum hourly wage is expected to remain lower than per-hour welfare benefits in six prefectures even after planned increases later this year.

The six prefectures are Hokkaido, Miyagi, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Hiroshima. Wage panels in 11 prefectures, including these six, where minimum hourly wage is currently less than welfare benefits have proposed wage hikes ranging from ¥7 to ¥14.

In the five other prefectures — Aomori, Saitama, Chiba, Kyoto and Hyogo — the minimum wage will be raised to the same level as welfare or higher.

During discussions by the prefectural panels, employers expressed concern about increased personnel costs.

The revised minimum wage will be applied in October or later after being OK’d by the heads of local bureaus of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The new base will be ¥719 in Hokkaido, ¥685 in Miyagi and ¥850 in Tokyo.

Welfare ministry to bring charges against businesses dodging employee pension plan

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has decided to bring charges against business owners who refuse to join the employee pension program and pay insurance premiums — a violation of the Employees’ Pension Insurance Act.
Starting from the current fiscal year, the ministry will file a complaint with police against businesses dodging the mandatory pension program and release their names, ministry officials say.
The ministry will set specific standards, such as the number of times business proprietors reject requests for on-the-spot inspections to confirm pertinent data about joining the pension program, before moving to bring charges against violators.

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