Case 7 Sick Leave Analysis
One must always be aware of cultural differences when working internationally and teaching abroad. This case study deals with sick leave that illustrates what can go wrong, when foreign employees don’t understand another country’s culture. It is important to understand that one’s own held cultural values and beliefs can shape how they perceive, communicate, and negotiate with someone else. Therefore, if you want to be good at negotiating with someone with a different cultural background, then it is important to understand and learn their culture.
Kelly is a 22-year old college graduate from Canada with a degree in management. While in high school and college, she studied Japanese and became very fluent in the language. When she was 15 years old, she spent four months in Japan on a school exchange program. She had always wanted to return to Japan and got her opportunity after graduating college, through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.
Kelly heard about the JET Program from some of her friends. It sounded like it was easy to get into, would be a great way for her to make money, and have some fun before she had to come back to Canada to get a “real” job. After she applied, she was offered a position as an assistant language teacher (ALT). After receiving the offer, the Conference of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) provided Kelly with a lot of information about what it was like to live and work in Japan. They also offered numerous training sessions to explain what life in Japan was like.
The JET program was developed by the Japanese Government as a way to get native English speakers to come to Japan to help improve and expand on the instruction of the English language. The Japanese felt that promoting internationalization and international exchange at the local level would lead to smoothly functioning cultural exchanges. The Conference of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) was established to not only establishment the JET Program, but to also assist with things such as: recruiting candidates, placement of participants, providing guidance and counseling to local host institutions and participants, etc.
As an ALT, Kelly had a contract given to her by CLAIR which laid out the hours she would be required to work each week and what she would receive for paid leave (vacation time and sick days). The contract stated she would work Monday through Friday until 5:00 p.m. There was no mention of any requirement to work on Saturdays. Her paid leave would consist of 20 paid holidays and 20 days of sick leave.