Unemployment Benefits in Japan

If your job has been impacted by COVID-19 and you lost your job, you need to determine whether you wish to file a lawsuit to keep your position (if you have any reason to win the case). If you decide to accept your unemployment and attempt to find a new job, file your unemployment with the Public Employment Security Office (“HelloWork”) to receive your unemployment benefits.

Requirements for receiving unemployment benefits

Look at your monthly salary slip. If “labor insurance” or “social insurance (labor)” has been deducted from your payroll, you are entitled to unemployment benefits if you still have working visa after the unemployment.

If you do not fall under any of the following types of workers during your employment, your company has an obligation to pay a portion of your labor insurance:

  • Part-time workers with working days and time being less than 3/4 of full-time workers;
  • Day laborer with an employment contract with a term of 30 days or less.
  • Seasonal worker; or
  • Worker employed by a solo proprietor with less than 5 employees and running agricultural, forestry, sericulture, or fishing business.

If your company had the obligation to pay your labor insurance but did not do so, you can apply for the insurance even after your separation with the HelloWork up to the past two years and receive your benefits after you paid your insurance fees for the past two years. It should be noted that you are only entitled to receive benefits, in this case, only for the two years of employment, even if you worked for the company for more than 10 years.

Also, you may claim against the company for the damages you suffered for not receiving your unemployment benefits if your company did not pay for your labor insurance during your employment even though it was obligated to do so.

The important thing that you have to remember is that if you do not have any working visa after you lost your job, you cannot, unfortunately, claim for unemployment benefits even you paid labor insurance from your salary.

How to receive unemployment benefits

To receive your unemployment benefits:

  1. Receive “certificate of unemployment” (離職証明書) from your company.
    Sign it if you do not have any objection to what is written (e.g., reason for separation). If you still have not made up your mind whether you take a legal action to claim for your position in the company, don’t sign any documents you receive from the company.
  2. After you submit the signed certificate to your company, the company will deliver you a “separation notice” (離職票) issued by the HelloWork.
  3. Bring the separation notice to the Hellowork.
    You also need to have your ID card, 2 pieces of your photos (3cm x 2.5cm) and your bank account information.
  4. After you receive a certain explanatory session and report to the HelloWork that you are looking for a new job, you will get unemployment certification (失業認定).
  5. After this unemployment certification, you will receive your benefits basically within a week.

The basic benefit per day you will get varies depending on the amount of your salary, the duration of your employment, the reason for your separation (Was it due to the company circumstances or your personal reasons?), etc. But the number of days you can receive your benefits are, in principle, as follows (Employment Insurance Act, Article 22):

Duration of employment Days you can receive benefits
less than 10 years 90 days
10 years to less than 20 years 120 days
20 years or more 150 days

Wishing you all the best and stay safe.