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How will Japan’s new 'equal pay' law affect ALTs?

By Liam Carrigan

While the debate rages on as to what impact the 2020 Olympic Games and the worldwide media attention that comes with it will bring to English education in Japan, branches of the government have been slowly implementing change.

Those who have ever worked for a Japanese company or within the public sector in Japan, will have noticed the large disparity that exists between seishain, or full-time workers, and their part-time-contract worker counterparts. From no sick leave to having no health insurance support from companies, part-timers and independent contractors often get the short end of the stick.

The “Equal Pay for Equal Work” legislation, formally passed by the Japanese Parliament last year and taking effect in April, aims to remedy this. It could mean fairly big changes for many types of contracted workers in Japan, including foreigners like myself who are ALTs.

Full-time vs part-time work in Japan

Almost all ALTs in Japan, be they direct hires or employed via a dispatch company, fall into the category of contracted, temporary workers, despite the fact that they are basically working full-time, sometimes more, for years.

It’s well known that both ALT dispatch companies and eikaiwa put their teachers on part-time contracts despite the hours being more or less full time. Some shady companies that employ teachers as “independent contractors” don’t provide holidays or pension and insurance contributions. One notorious eikaiwa, even makes contractors pay the company per lesson missed when they want to take a day off.

The government sees this as a problem not just for foreigners working in education, but also for an increasing number of Japanese staff forced to do the same work as their full-time colleagues but with none of the job security, salary reviews, or perks that go with it.

So, the new Equal Pay for Equal Work law compels companies to offer part-time staff similar conditions to those of full-time workers, including the accompanying benefits.

How does this affect ALTs?

Well, the short answer is that it really depends on where you work and what kind of contract you are on.

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Informative article but the first picture... the writing on the white board!!??!! That ALT needs to get better at what she does if she wants things to get better.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

The key takeaway is equal work. While it may or may not be true, they can argue that ALT on average teach less classes or work less hours and that alone can be just justification for not actually paying them as much as their Japanese counterparts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“do you don’t care” about pet shops. I’ve never heard of this pattern of English.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

The ALT in the photo may have intended to write: 'Do you think it is cruel, or do you not care at all?'

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I’ve never heard of this pattern of English.

It's vibrant, I'll give it that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its obviously a stock photo! It's just too "perfect". Somebody just wrote some mumbo-jumbo on there. Good spotting though. You guys are thorough, I'll give you that much.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Mumbo-jumbo? OK yeah, maybe. And maybe she is not even an ALT, but is just a model posing for the photo. But you have to admit, she is most certainly not a 'seishain' and does not deserve the same salary as a full-time, qualified and licenced JTE classroom teacher. This begs the question: Why isn't she pursuing a teaching career in her own country, where salary and benefits are so much higher? Why do the local BOE of every city in this country persist in this facile sham?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Why do any of these children become ALTS?? What a waste of time, they should be starting careers at home. The pay in japan is absolutely atrocious. I heard that interac only pay a disgusting 215,000 yen a month !! Who would flock to japan for that absolute pittance?? Unbelievable.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

 the writing on the white board!!??!! That ALT needs to get better at what she does if she wants things to get better.

Most of the time it's not the ALT that writes bloken Engurishu but the Japanese teacher. The official textbook can be weird too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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