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Revised employment insurance law enacted.

TOKYO, April 28 Kyodo

The Diet enacted an amendment to the Employment Insurance Law on Friday, paving the way for the government to raise premiums on its employment insurance program and cut insurance payments from April 2001.

The House of Councillors approved the amendment at its plenary session in the morning. It had already been passed by the House of Representatives on April 14.

The amendment is intended to prevent the government's employment insurance program from falling short of funds due to the swelling number of unemployed.

Japan's jobless rate stood at a record high 4.9% for the second consecutive month in March, reflecting the continued weakness of the Japanese economy, according to a government report released Friday.

The revised law, which will take effect on April 1, 2001, will allow the government to raise the insurance premium rate, currently set at 0.8% of the monthly wage, to 1.2%.

Premiums for an average policyholder with an annual income of 4.7 million will increase by 9,400 yen a year.

The revised law will also authorize the government to reduce insurance benefits for the unemployed by more than 20%.

Under the current program, people who have lost their jobs receive insurance benefits equivalent to 50% to 80% of their wages for 90 to 300 days.

The payment period will be shortened to a maximum of 180 days under the revised law.

Those forced out of work due to bankruptcies or restructuring, however, will be able to receive benefits for up to an additional 150 days.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:May 1, 2000
Previous Article:LEAD: Jobless rate stays at record high 4.9% in March.

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