Some people may still be unaware, but in April of 2013 the Labor Contract Law changed so that “when, under repeated limited-term contracts, the total period of employment exceeds five years, the limited-term contract can be converted to an unlimited one upon the worker’s request”. In other words, workers who have been employed under multiple limited-term contracts for a total period of over five years as of April 1, 2018, will become unlimited-term employees if they make a request to their company. (Please note this increases to ten years for some university positions that involve research.)
In various places around the country, conflicts have already begun over the turning point of April next year. Companies wanting to avoid unlimited-term employment are starting to have contracts terminated on March 31, 2018. For workers on one-year contracts, some have begun planning to give notice that “the contract starting in April 2017 is the last one, and there will be no new contract in 2018”. In some cases, this notification is already being sent.
In terms of the whole point of the change, this is an act of evasion of the law. However, many employers simply don’t care. If we want to take advantage of the meaning of the new law to make employment more stable, we are at an essential point in time.
In the midst of all this, the Education Ministry sent two emails in December of last year to national universities all over the country. The gist was that “terminating contracts for the purpose of avoiding the conversion to unlimited employment is not a good thing”. The Ministry sent the mails to national universities that are directly under their control. But based on the meaning of the law, the contents are applicable to all sorts of workplaces, both public and private.
We plan to use these emails to help realize employment security in all our workplaces.
Please contact us if this is happening in your workplace.
union (@) generalunion.org