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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 20 - 26  > Woman worker dismissed after extending parental leave due to difficulty in finding childcare services
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2018 June 20 - 26 [LABOR]

Woman worker dismissed after extending parental leave due to difficulty in finding childcare services

June 25, 2018

A women worker has been waging a court battle claiming that her company dismissed her in violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law after she delayed her return from child-raising leave because her baby was put on her municipality’s waiting list to enter authorized childcare centers.

The 36-year-old female worker living in Tokyo worked as a regular worker at a private enterprise running a school for career development. Her job was to teach English as a “coach”.

The woman planned to return to work in April 2014 after taking maternity and parental leave for one year. However, due to the rejection of her child’s applications for admission to authorized day nurseries, she decided to extend her leave for another six months. At the same time that she informed the company of her decision, she said that if her child is still on the waiting list at the end of September 2014, she hopes to apply for the company’s leave of absence program until her child receives childcare services. Regarding her situation, the company proposed that she work as a non-regular worker on a one-year contract which states that she will be reinstated to her regular position upon demand.

Six months later, she accepted the company’s proposal. As she was contracted to work three days a week, her monthly income decreased to 106,000 yen from the 480,000 yen which she earned previously. Furthermore, she was assigned to monotonous routine work, not to her previous work as an “English coach”.

Fortunately, just after beginning to work as a contract worker, she successfully entered her child into an authorized care facility. She soon requested the company to reinstate her as regular worker by pointing to the briefing material that accompanied her contract, but the company rejected her request. She pushed the company to hold negotiations by joining a labor union. She, however, was dismissed in September 2015 under the pretext that her employment contract expired.

Lawyer Akutsu Yumiko, who is a member of the worker’s legal team, said, “This case involves a worker who agrees to her employer’s suggestion to change her employment contract from permanent to temporary as she worries about losing her job if she is unable to return from family leave due to difficulty in obtaining childcare services. The laws on gender equality in the workplace and on childrearing workers clearly invalidate such an agreement.”

Past related articles:
> JCP survey finds over 20,000 children in Tokyo are on waiting lists to enter childcare centers [June 19, 2018]
> 18,000 children’s applications for admission to public nurseries rejected: JCP Tokyo assemblypersons’ group [March 1, 2018]
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