This is not the kind of shock that any pregnant woman should have to deal with.
The Board of Education’s reasoning was that, as a “special employee”, she is not entitled to maternity leave. The logic seems simple enough, right?
The General Union believes that this category of worker is clearly entitled to both maternity and childcare leave. She is an employee, has a year long contract, and has an expectation of renewal. She is entitled to her legally-given maternity leave.
This case is also complicated by the fact that her area does not have a local union. If this was Osaka or Nagoya, the General Union would be banging on the proverbial door, demanding immediate negotiations. However, this time, other steps were necessary…
Armed with the facts that the General Union gave her, the woman was able to talk with the Board of Education on her own.
The first cracks in their facade quickly began to show: confronted over the firing, the Board of Education backed down in regards to their intent to dismiss her, but they then insisted that she resign.
In response, the woman stood her ground, stating that she would neither resign nor accept such obvious bullying.
The issue is still ongoing, but the bureaucrats responsible for this situation have somewhat backed down by stating that they would seek legal advice on the matter. In the meantime, we are setting up a consultation for her at a union much closer to the area in which she works, and will provide support until this matter is resolved.
The General Union believes that the direct hire of ALTs is always preferable to dispatching but, as you can see, even direct hire positions sometimes have issues. Direct hire ALTs at Boards of Educations and private schools alike need to unionize to prevent issues like this.
Hopefully, we can give you a positive update in the coming months.
If you’re interested in learning more about your working rights while pregnant in Japan, one of our members wrote an excellent article on the subject (based on her own experiences) which can be found here: Maternity Leave And Child-Raising Leave In Japan
We sincerely hope that you find this information useful if it currently applies to you, or might apply to you in the future.