The July 24th (2016) edition of the Japan Times ("Questions About Paid Leave") provided a very good overview of the law covering paid leave (yūkyū kyūka). However, when taking this article into consideration, we must compare what the law guarantees versus the reality of your working environment.
First, as a union, we wouldn't recommend that you just "take this leave" (as the article suggests) if you're in a workplace that is hostile to this practice, as doing so is a good way to make your employer find various "other things" to harass you about as a way of getting back at you.
In our experience, the best way to secure the right to use your legally granted paid holidays is to have a union in your workplace.
When people think of the General Union, many immediately associate it with our work in the language school industry at places like Berlitz, ECC, and Aeon.
Be that as it may, did you know that about half the General Union's membership is made up of teachers working in universities, high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools? In our union, this is called the "Schools and Colleges" ("SAC") sector, and covers all of those people working in the aforementioned establishments.
In this sector alone, our members work at over a hundred-and-fifty different workplaces.
Berlitz Teachers: More Money; Fewer Classes. Brought To You By: The General Union. (Starts September 18th)
In a remarkable display of solidarity and strategy, Berlitz union members have made enormous gains for all instructors at Berlitz - both union and non-union.
The biggest gains:
- A ￥90-per-40-minute-class pay increase for per lesson (PL) teachers. For a new teacher, this is a jump from ￥1920 per class to ￥2010; an almost 5% increase! (For our non-Berlitz friends: a "per lesson teacher" is kind of like an on-call part-timer, and a major pillar of the Berlitz workforce.)
We recently received this email from an ALT with Heart Corporation:
"My manager told me that I must sit and eat with students during their lunch period. I don’t mind as it is part of my job responsibilities but the manager said I have to eat the school lunch. Worse than that, when I checked the company manual, it said that I am not allowed to eat any outside food at all, even in the teachers’ room. Is this legal?"
• Article 6.9 - "Aside from approved ALT-brought lunches, it is not acceptable to chew gum or eat outside food in the school at any time, including the teacher’s room."
In March of this year (2016), sixteen part-time teachers at the Osaka City University (OCU) - located in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, received new contracts to sign which had, unbeknownst to them, been changed from previous contracts to include a clause stating that THIS contract would be their final employment contract with the university.
Many teachers signed the contract - which was only given to them in Japanese - without realizing that the contract (which was, for all intents and purposes, otherwise identical to previous contracts) had been altered to include the new "final contract" clause.
In addition, the university abstained from verbally informing the teachers of the additional clause, perhaps hoping that they would not notice its inclusion...
November 13, Sunday – Autumn General Meeting
As our union continues to grow steadily, more and more members are unable to attend our general meetings and exercise their voting rights.
Seeking motivated individuals to take part in a LGBTQIA+ focus group!
This group will spear head a LGBT resource guide as well as consider further actions the General Union can take to address sexual and gender identity inequality in the workplace!
Why do LGBT protections and support matter?