• Amendment to the Employment Insurance Act
  • June 8, 2016 | Authors: Harukuni Ito; Yuichiro Mori; John C. Roebuck; Shinya Watanabe; Yuki Yoshida
  • Law Firm: Jones Day - Tokyo Office
  • The Amendment to the Employment Insurance Act Etc. (the "Amendment") was enacted on March 29, 2016. The Amendment amends the Employment Insurance Act and related acts for the purposes of preventing worker turnover while also promoting the reemployment of previously employed workers and the employment of the elderly. The Amendment includes the following points.

    First, as to the Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave (the "Child and Family Care Leave Act"), in order to avoid the need for workers to leave employment so as to provide family care, family care leave will be allowed to be taken in installments. Prior to the Amendment, family care leave was allowed to be taken only at a single time. In addition, the scope of children to which child care leave applies will be expanded (for example, it will apply to a child under the care of a worker who has applied for a special adoption), and the requirements for fixed-term employees to apply for child care leave will be relaxed. (These amendments will come into force on January 1, 2017.)

    Next, as to the Act on Securing, Etc. of Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment (the "Equal Opportunity Act"), in order to prevent superiors or colleagues from creating a working environment that is hostile to employee pregnancy, childbirth, or taking child or family care leave, employers will be required to take measures for the proper management of employees (to come into force on April 1, 2017). Guidelines as to what actions must be taken are planned to be established by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

    Third, as to the Act on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons, workers who are newly employed after reaching 65 years of age will be covered by employment insurance (to come into force on January 1, 2017).

    Last, as to the Employment Insurance Act, insurance premium rates for unemployment benefits were decreased from 1.0 to 0.8 percent (to come into force on April 1, 2016).

    The provisions of the Amendment cover a broad range of items, and the enforcement dates differ depending on the specific area being amended. Employers must act in accordance with the various provisions of the Amendment with key consideration paid to each enforcement date. With respect to the amendments to the Child and Family Care Leave Act and the Equal Opportunity Act, companies must confirm whether policies should be established or revised regarding the requirements for taking leave or the measures to prevent harassment of an employee taking leave, while taking into account the guidelines to be established by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.