The GU Knows What it’s Talking About When it Comes to Unlimited Term Contracts at Universities

Jan 9, 2021

The union has been involved at numerous workplaces dealing with universities’ refusal to grant unlimited term contracts after 5 years as per the changes to the Labour Contract Law.

Many universities are holding out by using an exception granted to the universities which lets them wait till after the tenth year to grant an unlimited term contract. But this exception ISN’T in all cases and ISN’T for all instructors teaching in a university. Famously, even Tokyo University did a U-turn on this when challenged by it’s union.

Basically, the instructor must be hired under any of the three categories outlined in the “Act on Term of Office of University Teachers” (often referred to as NINKI-TSUKI or NINKI-HO) or an of the three categories in the “Act on Revitalisation of Science and Technology/Inovation Creation”, and told very clearly upon hiring, in writing, which category they fall into.

Most of the universities that we deal with have usually not done this at all, or have simply written the name of the act (or other such language) in the contract.

We have pointed this out to numerous universities. Some, like Momoyama Gakuin University and Aichi Prefectural University have been reasonable and soon accepted the union’s demands for an unlimited term contract after five years. Some like Doshisha University refuse to listen to reason.

The union is now considering legal action at one of the famous Kansai universities (we’ll let you know which one when a final decision is made).

If you are a university teacher and faced with this ten year exception, contact us and let’s see what we can do together. We hope that your university will also be one the universities that listens to reason.

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And to show you that we’re not pretending to know which way is up, we leave you with a Q&A from the ministry of education which comes out of this year’s union negotiations with the central government.

Question from the union:
In order to apply the “10-year exception” to workers, the worker must fall under any of 3 categories in the “Act on Strengthening R & D Capacity by Promoting Reform of R & D System and Efficient Promotion of R & D” (After that, it was renamed to “Act on Revitalization of Science and Technology / Innovation Creation”) 15-2 or under any of 3 categories in Article 4 of “Act on Term of Office of University Teachers” Also, it is also necessary for the employer to clearly indicate this to the worker, have him/her understand and agree with it. Please confirm this point.

As you pointed out, it is necessary for the worker to fall under any of Article 15-2 of the “Act on the Activation of Science and Technology / Innovation Creation” or Article 4 of the “Act on Term of Office of University Teachers, etc.”

When concluding a fixed-term employment contract with a worker subject to the special provisions of the law, there should be an appropriate operation of the employer such as appropriately informing the worker in advance by clearly stating in writing that the worker is subject to the special provisions and explaining the contents.

In addition, the above was already made known to each university.