Career Guide

Procedures and Work Rules of Unemployment Insurance for Part-Time Workers

Procedures and Work Rules of Unemployment Insurance for Part-Time Workers

What if you got fired, or your contract ended, or resigned and lost all the incomes? These are questions nobody wants to think about, but we are living in this unpredictable world. The COVID-19 forces everybody to stay home and makes businesses go bankrupt out of losing customers. As a result, a lot of full-time or part-time workers may be cut off, especially in the food and service and tourist industry.

Luckily Japan has unemployment insurance (Koyou Hoken, 雇用保険), which pays money to unemployed people to support their livings until they find their next job. Part-time workers and foreigners may be worried about their eligibility, but the truth is that everybody who meets the conditions can claim unemployment insurance, no matter regular or irregular employment, Japanese or not. And you can also work paid moderately while receiving benefits. We are going to talk about the claim procedure and work rules of unemployment insurance.

What is unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance, also known as Shitsugyou Hoken (失業保険), is one part of Japanese Social insurance system, together with workers'accident compensation, pension and health insurance. Unemployment benefits, managed by Hello Work, conclude of employment-seeker benefits, placement promotion benefits, education and training benefits, and successive employment benefits.

While employment-seeker benefits include basic allowance, skill acquisition allowance, lodging allowance and injury and disease allowance. Unemployed workers may apply for different allowances under different benefits, but still the basic allowance of employment-seeker benefits is the most common livesafe for our situations. It can be known from the name that the allowance is meant to support unemployed workers' living while they seek a new job. So people who have no willingness to rework are ineligible.

Procedure of claiming unemployment insurance

1) Check eligibility

Workers need to meet the following two conditions to be eligible.

Have enrolled in unemployment insurance for over 1 year

On the day you lost your job, you should have paid unemployment insurance for over 1 year. Basically employees must enroll in this insurance if they work at least 20 hours per week and to expect to be employed for at least 31 days. All the enrollment procedures are taken automatically by the employers. The insurance premium rate is about 1.10% of the employee's total wage, in which 0.7% is paid by the employer and 0.4% by the employee.

If you are not sure whether you are covered, you can confirm with your boss or Hello Work staffer.

Take efforts to find a new job

You need to prove that you are seeking a job. Actually your job searching activities will be recorded and checked every month before you receive benefits.

2) Visit local Hello Work office to take an application

When you become unemployed, go to the local Hello Work office along with the following documents to apply for benefits. Hello Work officers will confirm your eligibility.

・Letter of Separation (Rishoku Hyo, 離職票), which should be provided by your employer and be supposed to show your employment periods, pay, and the reason for leaving the job whether you quit or get fired, etc.

・My Number card or other documents that can prove your My Number

・Residence card

・Bank account under your name


・Two photos

3) Waiting Period for one week

During this week, you should be under unemployed status totally, no work is allowed.

4) Benefit Limit Period

If you quit your job, you have to wait for another three months, during which no benefits will be paid. But this period is not set for people who get fired.

5) Visit local Hello Work office for Unemployment Insurance Explanation Seminar

This is a must step before receiving benefits and difficult to reschedule, so you'd better not miss it. You will be given three important documents:

・Hello Work card

・Certificate of Unemployment Insurance Qualified Recipient

・The Application Form for Recognition of Unemployment

The flow of receiving benefits, how to fill the forms, and any questions about the system or job hunting will be taught and answered.

6) Visit local Hello Work office on your Date of Confirmation as a Qualified Recipient

In many cases, the Date of Confirmation as a Qualified Recipient begins from the first day that you take an application, and repeats every 28 days. You need to return to the Hello Work office at this date every month, and show them the application form with your job-searching activities and work histories filled-in to prove that you are still unemployed and trying to seek a job.

At least two job-searching activities need to be taken during a cycle, such as applying for a job, consulting with or taking a course with Hello Work or other employment agencies.

7) Benefits will be transferred to your bank account.

So during your payment period, you will repeat: taking job-searching activities, visiting the Hello Work office on your date, receiving benefits.

Amount of benefit payments

Payment periods and benefit payments vary depending on your age, working period, previous wage and your leaving reason. Payment periods usually range from 3 months to 1 year.

Daily amount of benefit payments is usually 50%~80% of your past wage, and you earned more, the less of the percentage. And there is an upper and a lower limit for the daily amount depending on the age. For example, for someone under 29 years old, the daily amount should be more than 1,984 yen but less than 6,750 yen. The values change every year.

Can we work during receiving unemployment insurance

The answer is absolutely yes, except for the Waiting Period. As said before, no work is allowed during this week, else you have to wait longer.

You can work during the Benefit Limit Period, and during benefits receiving period, only that you can't enroll in unemployment insurance again, which means that you can't work over 20 hours per week for more than 31 days. Otherwise, you will become ineligible for the benefits.

During the benefits receiving, you must report all your work histories to the Hello Work office, no matter work paid or free, even no actual working but just a title. If you obey, you may be ordered to return the benefits three times in the worst case.

Recommended work styles during receiving benefits

While receiving benefits, you are recommended to work under unemployment insurance's conditions, i.e. work less than 20 hours per week, or less than 31 days. For example, you can find short-term part-time jobs not lasting for one month. Or work a good paid part-time job long-term for not over 20 hours per week, in which case you are highly recommended to schedule your shift over 4 hours per day, if else your daily amount of benefits will be reduced accordingly. While if you work over 4 hours a day, you just end with this day's benefit being delayed.