Consultation: "Our Employment Conditions Are Getting Worse! What Can We Do?"

gu consultation

The General Union receives multiple inquiries from people on a daily basis, and a lot of the assistance that we provide is often helpful for other people.

This "consultation" series aims to share some of the advice that we give to members and non-members alike.

In this consultation:

I have been working at a small international pre-school for several years. It has never been an easy job but over the years the working conditions have been getting worse and worse. We're struggling with issues of bullying, spotty shakai hoken enrolment, no sick pay, no breaks, and no paid preparation time. What can we do? Thank you in advance. 

(content edited for brevity and privacy) 

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In our experience, many so-called "international" pre-schools have the same issues that you have reported.

Shakai Hoken:
Depending upon when you were enrolled, you may have a case to demand two years of back enrollment.

The down side of this is that you would need to pay your half of the contributions as well.

If you had any large medical expenses that the insurance would have covered during the time you should have been enrolled, you might be able to claim those as well.

Also to keep in mind: if you were paying into the pension through the ward office when the company was illegally not enrolling you in shakai hoken, your pension will be smaller than it should be upon retirement.

You can't sue for it now, but you might be able to sue for damages when you retire.

We have recently done this at a college in Osaka for a member who turned 65 and he received compensation.

Sick Days:
There are no sick days guaranteed under the law.

However, at ECC we were able to win something similar for communicable diseases like influenza that, by law, require a mandatory absense for work, so we would look to try and negotiate that at some point if it was a priority of the staff if the employees there were unionized.

Paid Annual Leave:
Yyou should get between 10 - 20 flexible days per year depending upon the length of employment.

You should also be able to use those as sick leave, as well as being able to use them in term-time for vacation - not just when the school holidays are.

You also need to receive between a 45-60 minute break per day - eating with students doesn't count as a break.

These things can be negotiated with companies and won, but it is easier with some employers than it is with others.

The real way to win these legal benefits is as a group because if it is just you alone you will find likely find yourself ostracized or otherwise bullied by management.

If you'd like, we can talk about how to encourage your coworkers to get more involved.

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Consultations for non-members such as this are only possible thanks to the continued support of our dues-paying members.

Even so, due to the substantial amount of time, effort, and research that many complicated consultation requests demand, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to answer all inquiries from non-members -- we simply receive too many requests to handle.

Before contacting us for basic information, please be aware that many of the questions that the General Union receives can often already be found on our website: http://www.generalunion.org/component/search/


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