Prepare to be unemployed

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Without a new job waiting for me, and with no HR people to take care of paperwork, there were many things that I was not aware of, and realized afterwards that I would have to take care of myself during the time I was unemployed.

Post unemployment documents

The following documents from the HR and Payroll department was sent to my home address (usually within 2 weeks).

雇用保険被保険者離職票 (a.k.a 離職票)  ri-shoku-hyou – Unemployment Insurance Form
雇用保険被保険者証 koyou-hoken-hihoken-shoumeisho – Employment Insurance Card
– gensen-choshu-hyou – Income Tax Withholding Slip

The Unemployment Insurance Form (離職票), which proves that I am unemployment, is required to register for the National Pension or 国民年金 (kokumin-nenkin), and Health or Social Insurance.
Paying into the National Pension is compulsory, and should be done at the local ward office and registered usually within 2 weeks of being unemployed.

For the Health Insurance (健康保険 – kenkou-hoken), there were 3 options:
1. Pay into the National Health Insurance (国民健康保険 – kokumin-kenkou-hoken)
2. For the next 2 years, continue to pay into the same Social Insurance System (社会保険 – shakai-hoken) which my previous employer paid on behalf for me. This is called 任意継続 – nini-keizoku.
3. Pay into a new Social Insurance System through the new business once it’s registered.

Very IMPORTANT things to note:

For Option 1. the National Health Insurance is determined by a percentage of the previous years compensation. If the previous years compensation was high, the National Health Insurance could be expensive, which would make Options 2 or 3 more attractive.
(Advice:  Consult with the ward office, or with an accountant.)

Option 2. has to be applied within 20 days after the last working day, IN PERSON. Continuing the same Social Insurance System could be beneficial as there is a max. payment limit. Therefore if the previous years income was high, the max. payment limit could be less than paying into the National Health Insurance.
(Advice: ask your HR or Payroll department for information on where you should contact)

I have put in bold that you should check yourself, even if your HR department helps you. This is important as if you miss the 20 day limit, you have no choice but to pay into Options 1 or 3.

If you don’t want the bother to do all this yourself, you can hire someone to help you through the paperwork.
Search for keywords ‘labor consulting office’ for a Certified Social Insurance and Labor Consultant (社労士 – sharoushi – they are like external HR and Payroll people) who will be happy to help for a fee. It is also handy to have a Certified Social Insurance and Labor Consultant ready for when you do start to hire staff.

I may have simplified many of the explanation, mostly due to my limited knowledge. I have posted my experience and what I had learnt (as of Dec. 2012), however I recommend that you should check with your HR and Payroll department, Ward office, or other professionals for a clearer explanation.