Advice for sub-contracted ALTs working at public schools
Dos Dont's

Avoid working for dispatch companies, try and get a contract directly with the school or Board of Education.

If at all possible do not live in company arranged accommodation. If you cannot avoid accepting the accommodation, do not give company permission to deduct rent etc. from your pay packet. Pay directly.

Do make sure you read and understand your contract before signing. Take it home and go through it, preferably get a Union rep to look over it.

Do not sign any other agreements that give the company permission to deduct money directly from your salary.

Make sure you know how much your travelling allowance will be and how much actual costs will be. Also, make sure that the allowance is in the contract.

Do not believe any promises of salary increases/bonuses/allowances unless you have it written in your contract. Many ALTs have been promised extra loading only to see it never eventuate.

Make sure you know where your school is and how long it will take you to get there. Find out by yourself and donft rely on the company to tell you.

Do not take on face value a dispatch company's explanation of the Japanese health insurance system. Most companies try to avoid enrolling you in health/pension for the sole reason that they will save money. Keeping ALTs out of the Shakai Hoken (health and pension) means more profits for them.

Make sure you know what your health insurance arrangements will be. The FGU strongly recommends Shakai Hoken - SH (National Health and Pension Insurance), but even with SH you are strongly advised to understand the system.

Do not assume that there is a job behind every ALT job advertisement. Dispatch companies use these ads as lures to sign on prospective ALTs. They then put the number of ALTs "registered" in their tender bid. If the tender bid fails, the jobs evaporate.

Make sure the monthly salary, working hours and date of payment are clearly stated in the contract.

Do not assume that the monthly salary advertised will be what is in your contract. Many dispatch companies beat down salaries after luring prospective candidates.

Make sure the contract clearly states working hours ? many contracts stipulate hours you must be at the school, for example from 8am to 5pm, but then go on to say that you are only working during class hours, for example 5 hours. They try to have it both ways making you be at the school for 8 hours but only paying for 5 hours. In this example the contract should state that the working hours are from 8am to 5pm and nothing less.

Make sure you have a monthly salary, not a yearly or daily salary. Your conditions and rights will be affected.

Do not expect a reference from a school. They are not your employer, therefore they cannot give you one. Dispatch companies cannot really comment on your teaching because they are not present during class. Japanese teachers are prohibited from assessing your performance.
A sub-contracted ALT will find it difficult to get a reference when leaving.

Sign a contract for a whole calendar year. Any shorter terms may be detrimental to your rights.

Don't let anybody tell you that conditions are different because you are a gaijin. This is irrelevant.

Make sure you get any promises/directions etc. from the company in writing.