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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 17 - 23  > Low pay and aging of workers create critical crisis in nursing-care industry
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2019 April 17 - 23 [LABOR]

Low pay and aging of workers create critical crisis in nursing-care industry

April 23, 2019

The results of a nursing-care workers survey released on April 22 by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) show that monthly wages of regular care workers, as of the end of January 2019, were between 220,000 yen and 230,000 yen on average, 80,000 yen lower than that of workers in other industries.

Many care workers not only work at low pay but also are aging, which has become a serious issue. According to the survey results, care workers in their 20s accounted for 10.9% of staff in nursing-care facilities and only 1% in home-visit care services. The average age of workers was 44.8 years old in the former group and 55.5 years old in the latter, and 51% of home helpers were over 60 years old.

In regard to government measures in place to improve working conditions, including an anticipated increase in wages, 74.1% of facility care workers and 67.9% of home-visit care workers answered "insufficient". In contrast, less than 5% responded "sufficient".

Of facility care workers, 64.5% said that they sometime feel like quitting the job
mainly due to the physically demanding work, heavy workloads, the limit of their physical strength, and low wages.

Yonezawa Akira of the Japan Federation of Medical Workers' Unions (Iroren) pointed out, "Poor standards in regard to the placement of care workers are the major cause of the current situation in which workers do not have adequate days off and are unable to provide satisfactory care services."

Zenroren Vice President Iwahashi Yuji said, "Improvement in working conditions, such as higher wages, and dealing with the shortage of workers as well as conducting a review assessment of the public nursing-care system are urgently necessary."

Past related articles:
> 70% of nursing-care facilities impose 16 hour shifts on workers: Union survey [February 16, 2019]
> Iroren seeks application of sector-specific minimum wage in healthcare industry [June 8, 2018]

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