Caveat Subscriptor: World Kinder Interational School, Takasaki

While many may be aware of the Latin term of "caveat emptor" (meaning "buyer beware"), there is another term that you might not be aware of that is very apt in the context of reading contracts: Caveat Subscriptor - Signer Beware.

Although Japanese business owners are known to treat worker rights with some degree of contempt, it is often the case that foreign owners are even worse. Be it due to ignorance of labor laws, a lack of understanding of the culture, or just a general feeling that they are above the law due to not being Japanese, many of the worse problems that foreign employees face come from other foreigners.

This is one of those cases: beware of World Kinder International School, Takasaki.

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The General Union doesn't usually issue warnings about specific schools due to a number of reasons. In many cases, the evidence against a school's alleged illegal practices might only be circumstantial at best, and such "he said, she said" situations can verge on libel.

In this case, however, we have copies of both the contract and an e-mail exchange between the owner of World Kinder International School and the young New Zealander who stumbled into a bad situation through no real fault of their own.

The New Zealander applied for a kindergarten position at World Kinder International School while they were still in their home country.

However, once they became aware of all of the illegalities in the contract that they had agreed to (again, while still outside of Japan), they had second thoughts and informed the owner of World Kinder International School that they would not be taking the position, giving said owner more than a month of notice of their decision.

In response to this, the owner of World Kinder International School decided to attempt to seek damages from the New Zealander, citing "legal obligations" and demanding compensation for "advertisement and visa fees".

Of course, there is no obligation for the New Zealander to pay anything at all - in fact, had the New Zealander come to Japan and then quit the job within two weeks of starting, the owner of World Kinder International School would actually have to pay the New Zealander for the return airfare back to their own country (if you return within two weeks).

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As for the contract in question, here are just some of the issues that we found questionable enough to issue this advisory:


• Working hours between 8:00am and 6:10pm - Illegal
• No paid overtime if the working hours are extended - Illegal
• No unemployment insurance or health insurance - Illegal
• No paid FLEXIBLE annual leave - Illegal
• Can be dismissed on the spot, with no prior notification, for trivial issues such as when "Employee's hygiene, attire, and/or attitude is deemed severely poor" - Illegal

For these reasons and more, the General Union would advise anyone who comes into contact with World Kinder International School to avoid entering into employment with the school due to these numerous illegalities.

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