How to Claim Unemployment Benefits in Japan

The thought of not having some sort of work to provide you with a stable income is a scary thought to many. As of May this year, there are currently 2.24 million people unemployed in Japan, that’s 2.24 million whose fear has become a reality. There is an unemployment insurance scheme in Japan (shitsugyou hoken) to help if you suddenly find yourself without work. Unlike countries such as Australia, where these systems are funded by taxpayers, in Japan any company that plans on hiring workers must enter the scheme and pay a portion of the premium, while usually deducting the rest from the employee’s wages. So, how can you claim these benefits?

See also: How to Find a Job in Japan

1. Eligibility

To be able to claim payments under the unemployment insurance scheme, you must have been working for at least 20 hours a week, and have been employed for at least 31 days at your previous job.

2. Register Your Interest

If you’ve been fired, your contract has ended or you’ve been made redundant, then you need to register your interest to receive the benefit at your local Public Employment Security Office.

3. Have all Your Documents

When you head to the Public Employment Security Office, you will need to make sure you take along a few important documents, including:

  • A separation notice (rishoku-hyo), which will be given to you by your previous employer after you finish working
  • Your insurance card
  • Your resident card/alien registration card or some other official form of ID
  • A recent photograph of yourself
  • A bank book

Once you apply, you can usually start receiving payments within seven days. This waiting period may be extended, however, to as long as three months depending on the circumstances under which you left your previous job (i.e. you were fired for some serious reason or resigned for what is deemed an insufficient reason).

4. How Much Will You Get?

The amount you receive depends on a number of factors including how long you previously worked for, why you left your previous job, your age, and how much was paid into the scheme while you were working. You may be able to claim as much as 80 percent of what you earned within the last six months. Factors such as being fired for a serious reason or resigning for an insufficient reason can reduce the amount you receive.

5. How Long Can You Claim For?

The scheme will cover you until you find a new job or for up to six months, whichever comes first. If, however, you were forced to leave your job, you may be able to claim for up to 330 days.

6. When You Find a New Job

Once you find a new job, you need to go back to the Public Employment Security Office and register your new employment so that you stop receiving benefits.

See also: How to Immigrate to Japan

Losing your job, particularly when it’s through no fault of your own, can be tough. Just remember there are people all over the world going through the same thing each and every day, and there are always unemployment schemes like these to help support you until you get back on your feet.

Statistics Japan