Claims for work ills climb

Kyodo

Those who claimed workers’ compensation for depression or other mental maladies rose to a record 1,409 in the fiscal year to March, according to new data from the labor ministry.

The figure is up 152 from the previous year and has climbed more than fivefold since fiscal 2001, when the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry started releasing such data, it said Friday.

Of all claims, 436 were recognized by the labor standards supervision office, including 63 cases of people who committed suicide from excessive work.

Among the 436 recognized as suffering from work-related mental illnesses, 55 said the disease was triggered by harassment or bullying, while 28 pointed to sexual harassment and 17 cited troubles with superiors.

Among those whose claims were rejected, 12 eventually won compensation after having their cases re-examined or by pursuing litigation. “There have been more people feeling stressed because of work,” a ministry official said, noting that the rise in claims is also stemming from greater recognition that mental illness is covered by workers’ compensation.

By age, people in their 30s accounted for the largest percentage of those filing compensation claims, followed by people in their 40s and 20s.