Trust Your Foreign Teachers: NOVA’s Unnecessary Demand for Medical Certificates When Sick!

Jul 20, 2023

Collective Bargaining with NOVA on Tuesday, July 18 saw us demanding the company scrap Article 38, Paragraph 3 from the “Rules of Employment for Instructors.” This contentious clause mandates foreign instructors – and only foreign instructors – present a medical certificate (診断書) in the event of personal illness or injury leading to their absence from work.

This requirement unfairly burdens these teachers – a point we argued resolutely. NOVA’s response only fueled our fire: they asserted that it is essential for making informed decisions regarding contract renewals, cautions, and disciplinary actions. Essentially, when a foreign instructor informs NOVA that they are unwell and would like to take a sick day, the company’s position is that “We don’t know whether or not they’re telling the truth” !

However, Japanese employees face no such clause in their employment regulations, a glaring double standard. When challenged on this, the company only offered that “instructors get a bonus for attendance, and we need the medical certificates to verify if they’re eligible for it.”

This whole situation is an absolute joke, and we need to address this injustice head-on. Absence due to illness means losing wages as it is – oh yes, absence due to illness is treated as “unpaid” at NOVA! They further insist that their employees fork out thousands of yen for an examination and medical certificate, and why? For outrageous and unjustifiable “proof” of unavoidable circumstances. If you’re feeling unwell and have to use a taxi or any other means of transport, it just piles on more expenses, just to prove whether the absence was unavoidable or not! Unacceptable!

Is any of this really necessary? NOVA should trust its foreign instructors! We are professionals who have dedicated ourselves to teaching, and they should respect us enough not to question our integrity.

We will fight tooth and nail until NOVA removes this demeaning requirement of submitting medical certificates from the “Rules of Employment for Instructors”! It’s time for them to recognize our dedication and commitment. We stand united and will make our voices heard until they see reason! Together, we’ll bring about the change we deserve!