Hundreds of English schools probed over foreigner benefits exploitation

Government inspectors have begun a nationwide inspection of about 750 operators of mostly English language schools amid speculation that it has become standard practice not to enroll foreign teachers in social insurance programs.

Anybody working 30 or more hours a week for more than two months is obliged under Japanese law* to have health insurance and enroll in a pension plan, but the Social Insurance Agency says that many foreigners are being forced to pay full charges for medical care because their employers do not offer them coverage.

In June last year, the agency decided it would focus its inspections on organizations employing many foreign workers.

Then, in March, members of the General Union, a labor union formed mostly by foreign teachers, held a news conference saying that Nova, the country's biggest employer of foreign language teachers, had not enrolled its foreign staff in social insurance programs. The claims prompted the agency to embark on an investigation into the industry's employment practices.

There are believed to be somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 foreign language teachers throughout Japan. The agency will force teachers to enroll in social insurance programs if they are supposed to have done so but have not yet joined. (Mainichi)

*The law actually states that all workers must be enrolled without any mention of hours worked. Internal government directives interprets this to be anyone working "about 3/4 of a full-time employee).


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