I'm currently recuperating after being injured at work. Initially, I submitted a medical certificate (shindansho / 診断書) for a recuperation period of one week to my employer, but it was not long enough for me to recover, and I was then given a medical certificate for two weeks' recuperation. When I submitted the second medical certificate, I was told that my employment would be terminated because it wasn't clear when I would recover. Can they do that?
When you are injured at work, the expenses incurred in your recuperation (ryōyō / 療養) (or medical treatment [chiryō / 治療]) are provided through workers' compensation insurance (rōsai hoken / 労災保険, or rōdōsha saigai hoshō hoken / 労働者災害補償保険). In addition, if you need to be hospitalized or you are otherwise unable to work as you recuperate or undergo treatment, and are unable to receive wages, you can apply to receive compensation for absence from work (kyūgyō hoshō kyūfu / 休業補償給付) for the period from the 4th day you are unable to work. If you are unable to receive compensation through workers' compensation insurance, despite being injured at work, you will be compensated by your employer (under Chapter VIII of the Labor Standards Act [労働基準法]).
When consulting a medical facility, inform the facility that you were injured at work, and you will be able to receive treatment. (To search for workers' compensation insurance-accredited medical facilities, see the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website.) Please note that you cannot use social insurance (shakai hoken / 社会保険) (i.e. your employer's health insurance) for work-related injuries.
When you receive medical treatment through workers' compensation insurance, payment is to be requested using a designated form, which you can receive from your nearest Labor Standards Inspection Office, or download from here.
In principle, the medical treatment compensation benefits (ryōyō hoshō kyūfu / 療養補償給付) one receives through workers' compensation insurance continue until the recipient has recovered (chiyu / 治癒). 'Recovered' is also used for cases where further improvement is unlikely, even with continued medical treatment.
Regarding the possibility of termination of employment while an employee is recuperating, Article 19 of the Labor Standards Act states that 'Employers shall not dismiss a Worker during a period of absence for work for medical treatment with respect to injuries suffered in the course of employment, nor within 30 days thereafter,' therefore there seems to be a problem with dismissing a worker at a time when their absence from work is necessary for their recuperation. Please note that this does not apply in cases where absence from work is not necessary for a worker's recuperation, and the standard notification of dismissal may be possible.
If you have a concern or are experiencing an issue with workers' compensation insurance or dismissal, please consult the General Labor Consultation Corner at your nearest Labor Standards Inspection Bureau Office. Also, the Labor Bureau (rōdōkyoku / 労働局) in each prefecture provides a foreign workers' consultation corner, and consultations in foreign languages are available at some locations. If you do not agree with the result after consulting labor-related government organization, you might also consider consulting a lawyer or other professional with a specialist knowledge of labor issues.
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