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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 21 - 27  > Support program for coronavirus-hit SME workers should be improved: JCP Miyamoto
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2020 October 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Support program for coronavirus-hit SME workers should be improved: JCP Miyamoto

October 23, 2020

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Miyamoto Toru and representatives of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) on October 22 petitioned the Labor Ministry to improve its subsidy program so that workers at small- and medium-sized enterprises who were forced to take unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for the program without asking for cooperation from their employers.

The government support program for pandemic-hit workers is designed to pay cash benefits to SME workers who were ordered by their employers to take leave without pay. However, as shown by the fact that of the budget of 540 billion yen, 25 billion yen or less than 5% was paid to applicants (as of October 15), the progress of subsidy payments is unacceptably slow.

The slow progress is largely because employers reject workers’ requests for cooperation in applying for the subsidy program by denying that they ordered workers to take days off.

In the petitioning, JCP Lower House member Miyamoto claimed that it is necessary to assist all workers who are financially struggling due to the coronavirus situation. Labor Ministry officials said that the ministry will work to enable more workers to receive the cash benefits by drawing up guidelines for labor bureaus in order to provide the subsidy on their own discretion even without cooperation from employers. In addition, the ministry official said that the ministry will consider providing support to workers whose applications for the subsidy were rejected because of employers’ non-cooperation.

Miyamoto and Zenroren representatives criticized the Tokyo Labor Bureau for not paying the subsidy when employers of applicants did not respond to the bureau’s inquiry about the applications. The Labor Ministry officials in response said that the ministry did not issue such an instruction and that applications should not be turned down just because no response was made.

Past related article:
> Only 4% of budget for support program paid to coronavirus-hit workers [October 15, 2020]

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