Interac: ALTs are not disposable!

Jul 31, 2023

The Interac employment contract contains the clause: “It is agreed that this contract is non-renewable and will not be renegotiated upon its expiration.” However, once a new contract is established between Interac and the board of education, Interac easily renews the employment contract of the ALT in spite of the clause in the employment contract.

If a fixed-term employment contract states that it is “non-renewable,” but then is actually renewed, the “non-renewable” part becomes invalid making the contract legally “renewable”.

However, what Interac does before the contract’s term expires is that they approach the ALT about the contract for the following year and obtain their agreement to work the following year. But then, if a contract is not established with the board of education, Interac simply refuses the ALT a new contract despite the ALT promising to continue working another year.

One GU member worked as an ALT for two years. On 25 January, the member was offered yet another job offer for a third year and on 1 March the member enthusiastically accepted this offer. However, on 12 March, without any prior indication, the member was informed that their contract would be terminated on 31 March, upon its expiration.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s “Standards for the Conclusion, Renewal, and Termination of Fixed-term Labour Contracts,” if a labour contract with a duration of less than one year is renewed or repeatedly renewed, and the total continuous duration exceeds one year since the initial contract was concluded, “if the contract is not renewed, the employer must give notice at least 30 days before the end of the contract period.” Therefore, this is not a case of ‘contract expiration’, but rather a clear “’unlawful dismissal’.

According to Article 19 of the Labour Contract Law, if there is a reasonable expectation that a fixed-term labour contract will be renewed for that worker upon its expiration, the contract must be renewed. Conversely, not renewing the contract would be considered as “dismissal.” Therefore, Interac has no choice but to either renew the contract or acknowledge it as a “dismissal” and pay the severance allowance.

To verify whether Interac’s inflexible stance complies with the Labour Standards Law and the Labour Contract Law, we have decided to file a complaint with the Labour Standards Inspection Office. We aim to build our fight step by step.