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2008年12月29日 (月)

介護報酬改定 職員の賃金アップを確実に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 29, 2008)

Govt must push for better caregivers' pay

介護報酬改定 職員の賃金アップを確実に(1229日付・読売社説)

The nation's nursing care insurance system seems to face a crucial stage.

 介護保険制度にとって正念場だろう。

Government-set fees for nursing care services, which are revised every three years in principle, will be raised by 3 percent overall in fiscal 2009 in an effort to secure adequate human resources and to improve the quality of nursing care services.

 3年に1度の介護報酬改定が決着した。人材を確保し、介護の質を向上させるため、報酬全体を3%引き上げる。

The latest increase mainly targets burdensome work, including services for dementia sufferers. In addition, the revision includes a raise in payments to operators of nursing homes that hire a high percentage of caregivers as permanent staff.

 認知症の介護など、負担が大きい分野に報酬を重点配分した。常勤職員の割合が高い介護施設などにも報酬を上乗せする。

The increase in payments for nursing care providers comes as no surprise. Since the nursing care insurance system was launched in 2000, the payments for nursing care providers had been slashed in the past two revisions due to the government's policy on curbing the social security spending.

 介護報酬の引き上げは当然の措置だ。2000年にスタートした介護保険制度は、社会保障費の抑制路線の中で過去2回、マイナス改定が続いていた。

Accordingly, the financial health of many nursing care providers is deteriorating. Caregivers are suffering low wages while a serious shortage of human resources is apparent. This situation must be improved.

 その結果、介護事業者の経営は悪化している。職員は低賃金にあえぎ、人材不足が深刻だ。この状況を改善しなければならない。

A policy of raising the payment had already been announced in an economic stimulus package unveiled by the government at the end of October in response to the economy's rapid deterioration. The nursing care service industry is seen as a likely source of an increasing number of job opportunities.

 今回の改定作業は、景気の急速な悪化を受けて政府が10月末に打ち出した景気対策の中で、早々と報酬引き上げの方針が決まっていた。介護業界が雇用拡大の受け皿としても期待されたからだ。

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Pay increase

With the latest increase in payments for nursing care providers, the government estimates that a caregiver's wage will be raised by 20,000 yen per month and the number of caregivers will increase by about 100,000.

 政府は今回の報酬引き上げなどで、介護職員の賃金は月約2万円上昇し、人数も10万人程度増えると目算している。

Of course, we cannot feel delighted about the worsening economy. But, at least, nursing care providers will be able to secure personnel more easily.

 無論、不況を喜ぶわけにはいかないが、介護事業者が人材を確保しやすくはなるだろう。

The current situation is similar to when the nursing care insurance system was launched. Since many people were looking for jobs due to the sluggish economy, the nursing care industry had no problem finding workers.

 介護保険が始まった当初も似た状況にあった。不況で仕事を探す人が多く、介護産業は人材集めに苦労しなかった。

Owing to that, a business model predicated on low wages for caregivers was established in the industry. But once the economy recovered and the employment situation improved, valuable personnel flowed out to other industries.

 このため、低賃金を前提とするビジネスモデルが出来た。だが、景気が回復して雇用情勢が好転すると、貴重な人材は次々と流出してしまった。

We should not allow the pattern to be repeated.

 同じ轍(てつ)を踏んではならない。

According to an estimate by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the number of people certified as being in need of care will be about 6 million in five years time, an increase of 1.5 million from the present figure. Along with that, the number of caregivers has to increase by between 300,000 and 500,000 from the currently figure of about 1.1 million.

 厚生労働省の推計では、5年後の要介護認定者数は今より150万人増えて約600万人となる。これに伴い、現在約110万人いる介護職員を、さらに30万~50万人増やす必要がある。

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Attracting, keeping workers

To tackle this situation, it is important to retrieve workers that once left the industry by taking advantage of the current deteriorating economy, as well as convincing caregivers to stay in the industry by improving the working conditions.

 この状況に対応するには、報酬引き上げを契機に人材を取り戻すとともに、待遇を確実に改善して、定着してもらうことが大切だ。

The problem is whether the increase in payment for nursing care providers will be reflected on caregivers' wages. If nursing care providers--acting on the idea that securing personnel will be easy due to the declining economy--used the increase only to improve a company's financial situation, working conditions for caregivers will not change.

 問題は、介護報酬の引き上げが職員の給与にきちんと反映されるかどうかだ。不況で人を集めやすくなると考えて、介護施設の経営者がプラス改定分を収支の改善のみに費やせば、職員の待遇は変わらない。

From now on, the health ministry needs to research whether caregivers' working conditions improve. The ministry also should obligate nursing care providers to disclose caregivers' wage level.

 厚労省は今後、介護職員の労働条件が向上しているかについて調査する必要がある。介護事業者にも職員の賃金水準などを公開するよう義務づけるべきだ。

The government should make the profession of caregiver a financially rewarding job, then nurture the nursing care service industry as one of the key industries in the age of a declining birthrate and aging society.

 「介護」を働きがいのある仕事にし、超少子高齢時代の基幹産業に育てなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 29, 2008)

200812290153  読売新聞)

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