Panel proposes wage hikes for nurses, nursing care workers, preschool teachers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, speaks at a meeting of the council for the realization of a new form of capitalism at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday afternoon.

Higher wages for nurses, nursing care workers and preschool staff and the promotion of economic security are among the main measures proposed by the government in line with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s “new form of capitalism.”

The government on Monday held a meeting of the council for the realization of the new form of capitalism, chaired by Kishida himself, in which an urgent proposal was formulated to achieve the government’s pledge of creating a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution.

Based on the proposal, the government will draw up an economic package as early as mid-November.

Measures contained in the proposal are positioned as the Kishida Cabinet’s top priorities and will be reflected in the upcoming economic package, the government’s fiscal 2021 supplementary budget and fiscal 2022 initial budget. If legislation needs to be amended, the government will take it up at next year’s ordinary Diet session or as appropriate.

To raise incomes for nurses, nursing care workers and preschool teachers, which is the main selling point of the government’s wealth distribution strategy, the proposal calls for the establishment of a committee comprising workers and experts in these sectors to discuss “public prices,” such as salaries for nursing care workers, that are set by the central government and municipalities.

In addition, the proposal also includes the provision of funding in the economic package that allows for the quick increase of incomes.

As a measure to help private companies raise wages, the council recommends expanding preferential tax treatment for companies that increase salaries of current workers. The measure will be finalized by the end of this year, in time to be included in the fiscal 2022 tax system revision.

The council also proposed measures to eliminate the gender wage gap and to enhance support for families raising children to cover housing costs.

Other measures include: early submission to the Diet of a bill for securing vital resources and preventing the outflow of technologies, and assistance for constructing advanced semiconductor plants in Japan.

“I would like to get the new form of capitalism quickly on track by taking actions on issues that need to be addressed right away,” Kishida said at the meeting.