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Revised Act for Stabilization of Employment of Older Persons Comes into Force

The revised Act for Stabilization of Employment of Older Persons, which makes it obligatory for companies to employ all workers who wish to be employed after their retirement age of 60, came into force on April 1, 2013. Since it was enforced in 1971, this act has been revised several times in response to the aging of Japanese society. The latest revision aims to prevent an increase in the number of workers receiving neither wage nor pension after retirement, since the age from which male workers are eligible to receive the employee's pension (the part of the pension for salaried workers paid in proportion to income) was raised to the age of 61 from April 1. (In the case of women, the employee's pension age will be raised in five years' time.)

Until now the Act for Stabilization of Employment of Older Persons has made it obligatory for companies to take measures to ensure employment from the retirement age of 60 to the age of 65, and at present 82.6% of companies (about 109,000 companies) have introduced continued employment systems to re-hire workers wishing to work after retirement. As an exception, however, companies are deemed to have introduced such continued employment systems if they are operating post-retirement re-hiring schemes based on certain conditions stipulated in the agreement between labor and management.

RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) had been urging revision of the act to oblige companies to unconditionally adopt employment security measures for all workers who wish to continue working up to the age of 65, including (1) abolition of the system of being able to stipulate certain conditions through the agreements between labor and management, arguing that such schemes hinder employment security measures for all workers wishing to continue employment; (2) expansion of the range of jobs in continued employment systems; and (3) disclosure of the names of companies that do not implement employment security measures. In the sense that the latest revision meets these demands, it can be positively evaluated.

On the basis of the latest revision, RENGO will continue to encourage affiliated industrial federations and enterprise-based unions, which workers join individually, to build an environment, through labour-management consultations, in which all workers who wish to do so can continue to work until the age of 65. RENGO will also continue to tackle such issues as the linkage of employment and pensions for non-regular workers and the preparation and provision of a social safety net for those who are unable to continue working due to the need to engage in nursing care at home and so on.

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