Japan proposes expanded accident compensation for freelancers

By autumn 2024, Japan plans to enhance freelancer confidence by expanding employees’ insurance coverage.
By: | November 22, 2023

Japan’s labour ministry is set to broaden the coverage of employees’ accident compensation insurance, extending its reach to encompass freelancers across all industries. This initiative, discussed during a meeting of the Labour Policy Council’s subcommittee, aims to provide a heightened sense of security for freelancers navigating the evolving landscape of diverse working styles.

The proposed expansion, slated for implementation by autumn 2024, is part of the government’s commitment to fostering an environment where freelancers can work with confidence. Employees’ accident compensation insurance, a national programme primarily catering to corporate employees involved in work-related accidents or commuting incidents, has traditionally been limited in scope.

Under the current system, small business operators and freelancers in select industries can enrol in the programme by paying relevant premiums. The impending changes will see a review of this system, making it applicable, in principle, to all freelancers undertaking outsourced work for corporations.

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According to a government survey, Japan is home to 4.62 million freelancers, with an estimated 2.73 million engaged in commissioned work for corporations. The existing special system, initially expanded by sector, welcomed animation production employees, bicycle delivery personnel, and IT freelancers in 2021. Dental technicians were added to the roster just last year.

The proposed expansion further underscores the labour ministry’s commitment to providing protection to freelancers, aligning with the enactment of a new law in April that governs business dealings between freelancers and organisations. A supplementary resolution accompanying the law advocated for the extension of the special system to all freelancers engaged in corporate-commissioned work, promoting the ministry to explore implementation strategies, reported The Japan Times.