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The labor ministry said Friday it has decided to extend again a special measure under the government’s employment adjustment subsidy scheme, by two months until the end of February 2021, as the nation’s employment situation remains severe due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

When the ministry decided in late August on a three-month extension of the measure until the end of this year, it suggested a policy of scaling down the step in stages after the turn of the year.

But the ministry reversed course after many lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party voiced opposition to shrinking the special measure early amid the growing spread of the virus.

The subsidy scheme covers part of leave allowances companies pay to furloughed workers.

Typically up to two-thirds of the allowances were covered by the program, with the upper limit set at ¥8,370 per day per employee. But under special measures introduced in response to the COVID-19 crisis up to the full amount is covered, with the daily cap set at ¥15,000.

The subsidy scheme will be brought back to normal in stages unless the employment situation worsen in and after March, labor minister Norihisa Tamura said at a news conference after Friday’s Cabinet meeting.

The ministry also decided that another subsidy program, intended to help workers take leave to care of their children amid school closures due to the pandemic, will be extended to cover leave taken by the end of February.

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