Japan to reduce leave allowances for virus-hit workers

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The labor ministry said Friday it will reduce the amounts of special employment adjustment subsidies and leave allowances, which are provided as part of measures to help companies and workers affected by the novel coronavirus crisis.

Beginning January, the ministry will reduce the daily limits on the benefits per head.

The ministry will review the aid programs as economic activities are returning to normal gradually.

The reduced amounts will be in effect between January and March. On the benefits for April and beyond, the ministry plans to make an announcement by the end of February.

Employees who are furloughed due to the coronavirus crisis but do not receive leave allowances from their employers can apply directly for the leave benefits from the government.

Currently, 80% of the wages before the leave are provided to such workers, with a daily limit of ¥9,900 per head.

Starting January, the limit will be lowered to ¥8,265.

The ministry will continue until March a program to provide up to ¥11,000 each for employees of companies that meet requests to shorten operating hours, mainly in areas that were under a novel coronavirus state of emergency.

As for the special employment adjustment subsidies to companies, which partially cover leave allowances they pay to furloughed workers, the ministry will reduce the daily limit per person from ¥13,500 at present to ¥11,000 for January and February and to ¥9,000 for March.