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Resigning or quiting a 1 year employment contract before it is up.

timtam

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Hello,

I would really appreciate some advise on my situation. I am employed under a 1 year contract which comes to an end on the 31st of March. It has been indicated to me that I will not be renewed next year. Given this I have found another job, problem is, I need to start the new job on the 1st of March. Meaning I cannot complete the last month of the 1 year contract. The employment contract states that I am liable for recruitment costs and for damages for each individual school I am dispatched to. Reading around the net I get the sense that this is not entirely legal. I have provided 1 months notice of resignation to my employer.

Does anyone know what specific laws cover this situation. I can find plenty of info that relates to post 1 year but none that relates to the first one year contract. Any links you can provide or personal experiences would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Tim
 

timtam

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Good info, not Interac and it is very small and not keen for them to get wind that I am making enquiries so won't name them here. Good to know there are Unions out there! Appreciate the reply!
 

Glenski

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You could also talk to your nearest Labour Standards Office.

Basically, the labor laws prohibit what they say they want to do to you. Realize that not all clauses in contracts are legal, and some employers just want to bully people, whether they got burned themselves from a prior teacher. Labor laws here:
Japan.- Labour Standards Law
In particular to your case, see article 16.

More useful info here:
Foreign Workers' Handbook
When you resign from a company | 東京外国人雇用サービスセンター
 

Majestic

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Article 16 is a prohibition on a pre-determined amount. It doesn't apply here (unless the damages are pre-determined in TimTam's contract).

Unfortunately with TimTam being on a one-year contract, he isn't looking so much to "retire", rather he is looking to terminate the contract early. You are allowed to terminate the contract early with sufficiently urgent cause (civil code 628). Sufficiently urgent cause might be death in the family, injury, or being asked to do something illegal.

So, breaking the contract to take up another job is not going to be considered urgent cause, and I think your company would be within their rights to seek damages (if any). Bear in mind your company would have to prove that any damages suffered are a direct result of your breaking your contract early. But in the real world, what they will probably just do is withhold your last pay check and claim it as "damages" and recruiting costs. You would have to hire some legal muscle to try to get this back. In any event I wouldn't assume you have the upper hand on your company, and I think you'd be better off being humble and apologetic and trying to stay on your current boss's good side.

If you were a regular employee I think you would be in a more advantageous position, but as a one-year contract employee I think your situation doesn't leave you in a good position to argue with your employer.

I'm not a lawyer, by the way, so consider the above to be an amateur's opinion.

労働相談Q&A
労働相談Q&A:あいねっと倶楽部
契約社員は、契約満了前に退職したら訴えられますか? 賠償金も払わなくてはいけま... - Yahoo!知恵袋
 

Glenski

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Unfortunately with TimTam being on a one-year contract, he isn't looking so much to "retire", rather he is looking to terminate the contract early.
Retire is the term Japan uses in place of resign.

You are allowed to terminate the contract early with sufficiently urgent cause (civil code 628). Sufficiently urgent cause might be death in the family, injury, or being asked to do something illegal.
Yes, of course, but many employers don't like that and often fight such a law without the employee knowing it exists. In fact, they often demand outrageous time periods for such notice. There is a difference in how much time you are required to give depending on whether you have worked for someone less than or more than a year, too.

So, breaking the contract to take up another job is not going to be considered urgent cause, and I think your company would be within their rights to seek damages (if any).
Within rights? Maybe. It's a teaching position, so a lot will depend on just how much work was actually slated for the month of March. In my opinion, that may not even be an issue for an ALT!

Bear in mind your company would have to prove that any damages suffered are a direct result of your breaking your contract early.
And, proving that is not so easy, but companies will still bully employees with outlandish claims of how much it costs to advertise and recruit a replacement.

But in the real world, what they will probably just do is withhold your last pay check and claim it as "damages" and recruiting costs. You would have to hire some legal muscle to try to get this back.
Yes, this might be what they do, but you don't have to hire a lawyer initially. The Labour Standards Office and sometimes the General Union can help immensely with just a phone call to the employer.

I think you'd be better off being humble and apologetic and trying to stay on your current boss's good side.
Definitely don't be aggressive about it, and definitely try to make this sound "regrettable" and that you are sorry to cause any trouble. Agreed.
 

Majestic

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You are missing an important legal distinction between a one-year contract employee vs a regular employee, or a contracted employee of several years, a point which is made clear in the links I provided. Broadly speaking, a regular employee may resign at any time, for any reason provided sufficient time is given, which is typically considered two weeks (but may be longer depending on what the company rules state).

A one-year contracted employee has a binding agreement with the employer to provide a year of service. A year of service doesn't mean indentured servitude, but the company also has a right to expect the contract will be honored and that the year of service will be provided. One side cannot unilaterally terminate the contract without urgent cause. Urgent causes are the ones that I have mentioned. Likewise, the employer cannot choose to fire the one-year contracted employee unless there is sufficient cause.

Another link
退職、解雇、辞職の違い : 福岡の社労士 江口勝彦の公式ブログ
 
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edogaijin

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Well, bluntly put under Labor Law you owe them only 2 weeks. Company might say you need something else -- that's a total farce. This isn't a country where slavery is legal, despite what some forum members will tell you. You're allowed to put in written notice and then resign. Keep in mind that makes collecting unemployment much harder.

"One side cannot unilaterally terminate the contract without urgent cause. Urgent causes are the ones that I have mentioned. Likewise, the employer cannot choose to fire the one-year contracted employee unless there is sufficient cause. "

No offense but I don't think that's right. The Labor Standards law says that all workers are covered by the act. Anyone is allowed to resign whenever they want. The contract can say whatever it wants, but it's trumped by national labor law ultimately..

OP my friend resigned from GABA and got a lot of flack about not "being allowed to". You own your VISA, unlike Korea. They cannot cancel it. They cannot deport you, as they are not immigration. They cannot make you work there either, and you only owe them a legal 2 weeks notice.

I recommend you contact the General Union if you need professional advice. There are also labor attorneys in Tokyo that offer free advice. Don't let your work intimidate you. Ultimately they may feint you, but you're allowed to quit whenever you want, for whatever reason you want. I recommend leaving on good terms if possible, but don't let them muscle you either
 

Majestic

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The OP was asking whether it was legal for his company to seek damages. He/she also asked for links.

As compelling as the story about your friend from GABA is, I shall defer to the good sense of the people on this forum as to whether or not that has anything to do with the company seeking damages for early termination of a contract.
 

edogaijin

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A company has no legal basis to sue you if you give a legal resignation time. The company may threaten but ultimately they cannot force you to work regardless of what the contract "says". Labor Standards Act trumps an illegal contract every time. My advice to the OP:

Call the General Union. Know your rights, and weigh your options
 

Majestic

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This is the second time you've mentioned being forced to work or slavery - which has nothing to do with the company suing (legally) for damages if a yearlong contract employee leaves before the end of the year.

But since you argue with such conviction, I suppose it should be an easy thing to come up with some links that would contradict the four I've already posted.
 

Majestic

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To OP, I suggest reading:
Labour Standards Law Q&A
In which you will find the following phrase

"First year of a one year contract --- you can quit at either the end of the contract or quit by following the procedures laid out in the contract for quitting. If you don't follow these rules your company has a theoretical claim against you but can only act on this by using civil court procedures."


Bloody hell, the trolls are out in full force today.
 
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