‘I’d Rather Work in a Supermarket’: Privatization of Home Care Work In Japan

Title‘I’d Rather Work in a Supermarket’: Privatization of Home Care Work In Japan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBroadbent, Kaye
JournalWork, Employment & Society
Volume28
Issue5
Pagination702 - 717
Keywordsemployment conditions, home care, home care sector, Japan, Long Term Care Insurance, organization of work, workplace
Abstract

The rise in nuclear family households and more married women engaging in paid work have forced governments to address the issue of aged care for the elderly to a greater degree. A good illustration is home care in Japan where the government introduced a Long Term Care Insurance scheme (LTCI) (2000) focused on offering affordable almost universal care by extending existing home care services. Japan’s home care services were privatized in 2006 and, while this is not unique to Japan, the combination of cost-cutting measures and the client-driven model encompassed in the LTCI has had a significant impact on employment conditions and the organization of work in home care services. This research assesses the impact on employment conditions and the organization of work in Japan’s former government-run home care sector compared with the pre-LTCI period and argues that privatization has resulted in work intensification and deteriorating employment conditions.