Two, another way to take paid leave if you are in a hostile environment is to save it up until your contract is about to expire and use it at the end of your contract if you’re not renewing. Based on the number of days you have, just give notice that you will taking these days at the end. If the employer refuses, just take them.
If the employer doesn’t pay you for them or punishes you financially in other ways, you can deal with it as unpaid wages through the Labour Standards Office or your Union. We find that the Labour Standards Office isn’t bad when dealing with unpaid wages. It’s no guarantee, but it beats being harassed while still working there.
Next, we get into the issue of paid leave for our many members working in universities and non-eikaiwa schools. To be clear, paid leave also applies to these workers, both full and part time, but we have two types of members in these workplaces.
The first type are those part timers that are paid only for their working time (i.e. not paid during summer or winter holidays or non-teaching days). In this case the advice given above is what we’d say applies to you.
The second type is much trickier; that is those teachers both full and part time who have lots of paid non-teaching days already. Again, just to be clear, paid leave also applies to these workers, but how to best use these days is a difficult question. Why?
There is a danger here that too much use of paid leave during teaching days may lead to a situation where the employer just decides that, for example, instead of having time off in the summer, you will attend work and stare at the wall. Can they do this? We would argue that an employer cannot just change ‘traditional’ working practices, but it would be hard to fight back against this, especially in a workplace with no union.
So how can you deal with this issue if you are in this group of workers. We would suggest that you take no unilateral action without your coworkers. You do not want to end up in a situation without your coworkers support and even endanger their other summer and winter holidays, etc. Together with your coworkers and the union, work out a plan of action and decide how to deal with it as a group.
Our long history as a union has shown us the the difference between the law and reality, especially since the Labour Standards Office is not very good at protecting you if you make a claim while still working for the company. We believe that the first step in protecting your rights, even those granted by law, is to talk to union, talk to your coworkers, and make your demands together.