The labor ministry plans to expand the scope of freelance workers eligible for workers' accident compensation insurance to cover all industries in principle.

A subcommittee of the Labor Policy Council, which advises the labor minister, held a meeting to discuss the plan Monday.

The measure, which the ministry hopes to implement by autumn next year, is aimed at creating an environment in which freelancers can work with a sense of security amid the diversification of working styles.

Workers' accident compensation insurance is a national program in which corporate employees can receive benefits if they are involved in accidents during work or while commuting. Insurance premiums are paid by employers.

The program has a special system allowing small business operators and freelancers in some industries to enroll if they pay premiums.

It will be reviewed to make eligible for the special system in principle all freelancers to whom corporations have outsourced work.

A government survey has found that there are 4.62 million freelancers in Japan, of whom 2.73 million are estimated to be working on commission from corporations.

The scope of freelance workers covered by the special system has thus far been expanded by sector. Animation production workers, bicycle delivery workers and information technology freelancers were added in 2021, while dental technicians were added last year.

Japan enacted in April a new law to ensure proper business transactions between freelancers and corporations. A supplementary resolution attached to it sought the expansion of the special system to cover all freelancers commissioned to work for companies, prompting the ministry to consider how to respond.