TOKYO, Oct. 7 (Kyodo) -- Most Japanese companies in a survey have introduced programs to extend the employment of workers to 65 years old as legally required, the labor ministry said Tuesday.
Employment extension programs were adopted by 96.2 percent of some 94,000 companies as of June 1, up 3.5 percentage points from a year earlier, said the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The percentage ratio came to 99.8 percent for large companies employing 301 or more workers, up 1.7 points, and 95.6 percent for smaller firms with a workforce of 51 to 300, up 3.8 points.
Effective in April 2006, the employment stabilization law for senior workers requires companies to adopt measures to keep such employees on the payroll until they become 65 years and submit reports on them as of June 1 each year to the ministry.
Data for this year are based on reports from 93,886 companies -- 14,198 large companies and 79,688 smaller firms.
Of the companies that have taken steps for employment extension, only 2.1 percent have abolished mandatory retirement systems and 12.5 percent have raised their age limit, while 85.4 percent have introduced reemployment and other continued employment programs.
Among other findings, 39.0 percent have adopted systems allowing employees to work beyond 65 years of age if they wish, up 2.0 percentage points. The ministry hopes to raise the ratio to 50 percent by fiscal 2010.