What is a “Sharoushi” (Labor and Social Security Attorney) ?
A “Sharoushi” (Labor and Social Security Attorney) is a legal specialist based on the Act Concerning Labor and Social Security Attorneys (Sharoushi Act) of 1968. The mission of Sharoushi is stated in the said law as “A Sharoushi shall contribute to the smooth implementation of labor and social security related laws as well as to the welfare of employees and the sound growth of industries.” The major services provided by “Sharoushi” are as follows;
a. Preparation and submission of Documents designated by law
Employers are required to make various documents to apply, notify and report to the administrative agencies under the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) by law. A Sharoushi may take the role of proxy for clients’ legal administration.
b. Bookkeeping designated by law
Bookkeeping for calculating social insurance premiums and proving labor conditions is legally mandatory for employers. Sharoushi can conduct bookkeeping on behalf of employers.
c. HR Consultation/ Advisory Services
A Sharoushi provides legal consultation on personnel management and labor and social security relations for clients.
d. Payroll Calculation
Bookkeeping on payroll is legally mandatory for employers. A Sharoushi can conduct payroll calculation and bookkeeping on behalf of Employers.
e. ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)
A Sharoushi can act as a proxy on mediation for either party and also take the role of mediator at the resolution of individual labor dispute procedures. A Sharoushi is entitled to make a statement in court, by handling cases jointly with the attorney-at-law, within the scope of the services of a Sharoushi as listed above.
National Qualification and Type of Sharoushi
The examination for Sharoushi is conducted by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. This examination is one of the most difficult certificate examinations in Japan. At present, the total number of Sharoushi is approximately 40,000. There are two types of Sharoushi, one is the “Independent-type Sharoushi” who runs his/her own Sharoushi office and practices services for his/her clients, and the other is the “In-house Sharoushi” who is employed by a company as an internal practitioner.
Contribution of the “Sharoushi” to Japanese Society
In the period of rapid economic growth, Japan introduced and developed labor laws and the social security system. Along with the improvement of those laws and systems, it was important to address the pressing issues of the appropriate enforcement of the laws, as well as proper operation and stabilization of the systems. In addition, modernisation of personnel management in businesses became a major concern to society. In order to meet such social needs, the Sharoushi Act was enacted in 1968.
Since then, Sharoushi have been significantly contributing to Japanese society as follows;
a. Close cooperation with the Government
A Sharoushi is committed to raising awareness among employers and workers about labor and social insurance laws, for example, through education of employers on new laws and regulations. A Sharoushi works in close cooperation with the administrative agencies of the MHLW such as labor inspection offices, public employment security offices and pension offices. A Sharoushi helps government agencies enforce laws and implement the systems.
b. Advisory function to SMEs (small and medium size enterprises)
A Sharoushi provides legal advisory services to businesses, especially SMEs, as a legal consultant. Labor and social insurance laws demand a wide range of obligations of employers who usually don’t have enough knowledge concerning such obligations. Therefore, they often hire Sharoushi as a legal consultant. A Sharoushi makes the employers aware of the legal requirements of labor laws and procedures, and helps them understand the importance of legal compliance.
c. Contribution to the stability of Industrial Relations
In Japan, the trade union membership ratio has been falling. In contrast to the decreasing number of collective labor disputes, the number of individual labor disputes has greatly increased. Under these circumstances, since 2001, Sharoushi are entitled to act as proxy in the Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures and to serve as a mediator.
d. Fostering decent working conditions
Sharoushi’s activities help improve decent labor conditions and enrolment in social security, protecting employees’ rights, preventing labor disputes, and accordingly, improving productivity at businesses. Also, there is increasing demand for Labor Audits performed by Sharoushi. A Sharoushi fosters a good working environment while benefitting the government by sustaining the social security system and maintaining compliance at workplaces.
High Potential of Sharoushi Worldwide
In many emerging economies, labor laws and social insurance systems are being improved. Along with the introduction of laws and creation of new systems, it is very important to address the pressing issues of the appropriate enforcement of laws, proper operation and stabilization of the systems. Modernisation of personnel management in businesses is also necessary. To cope with such situations, the Sharoushi’s experiences in Japan could be applicable to those countries.
In Indonesia, where the universal social security coverage system is being launched, the Indonesian Government is going to set up an Indonesian Sharoushi system based on Japan’s experience. Japan Federation of Labor and Social Security Attorney’s Associations is helping the establishment of Sharoushi system in Indonesia.
Leaflet of Sharoushi system and Sharoushi federation
Japan Federation of Labor and Social Security Attorney’s Associations
The objectives of the Federation are to implement the clerical work related to instructions and communication to the prefectural associations of labor and social security attorneys and their members, including registration and examination of labor and social security attorneys, for the purpose of maintaining the dignity of labor and social security attorneys and improving the quality and operations.
Date of foundation
December 1, 1978
Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
(Labor and social security attorney building)