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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 1 - 7  > Revised law on elderly employment enacted without workers' rights protection
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2020 April 1 - 7 [LABOR]

Revised law on elderly employment enacted without workers' rights protection

April 1, 2020
A bill to revise the Law for Stabilizing the Employment of the Aged passed the Upper House plenary session and became law on March 31. The Japanese Communist Party voted against the bill on the grounds that the revised law will not guarantee the protection of workers' rights.

Earlier in the day, JCP Kurabayashi Akiko at a House of Councilors Labor Committee meeting presented the results of a survey conducted by the major staffing agency Adecco Group. According to the survey, about 50% of company respondents said they take advantage of hiring elderly people "to hold down labor costs". Pointing out that the employment rate for the elderly in Japan is the highest among developed countries, Kurabayashi said, "The root cause of many elderly having to work lies in the low rate of pension benefits, and many seniors cannot survive without working."

Kurabayashi asked for the incidence rate of work-related accidents among older workers. A Labor Ministry official answered that the rate for male workers who are in their late 60s is twice as high as workers in their late 20s, and five times the rate of young workers for elderly female workers.

Kurabayashi said, "As you have just indicated, the incidence rate is so high among aged workers that more consideration to them should be the norm." However, the revised law will enable employers to contract out work to older workers and thus will exclude them from the workers covered by the Labor Standards Act, the Industrial Safety and Health Act, and the Minimum Wage Act.

Labor Minister Kato Katsunobu said, "The government believes that the revised law is necessary for securing job opportunities and providing more choice to elderly workers until they turn 70 years old." Kurabayashi refuted, "Most of them have no choice but to work at low pay at their own risk."

Kurabayashi demanded that a pension system be created to guarantee a minimum amount of benefits so that the elderly can live without having to work. She also demanded that employment for anyone who wants to work be adequately protected. She again said, "The law, which will accelerate the use of the elderly without any safety net as self-employed individuals, is unacceptable."

Past related article:
> Abe gov’t seeks to promote use of elderly workers without legal protection [March 18, 2020]
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