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Need help regarding Training contract validity

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Arresto Menor
Hello Atty,

I would like to ask for your insights regards my situation.

I was hired by my present company last September of 2011. We started as a probationary employee for 6 months. In our first month from being hired, We were required to have Technical training in Japan for about 1 year. The company immediately processed our visa and at the end of our 1st month we were sent to Japan for the said training. Upon arriving in Japan we were asked to sign a Training Contract and we have no other choice but to sign it since we were already in Japan.

Here are some of the statements in the contract:

1.)When the employee is in one(1) year training time in Japan the salary will be given from the Company will become forty percent(40%) of his/her compensation. However, he/she will receive monthly allowance in the Japan Company for his/her daily living while in Japan.

2.)After the training in Japan, The trainee should stay in the Company(Philippine Office) for not less than five(5) years. In case the trainee is separated from the company for whatever reason before the end of the payback period stipulated above, he/she shall repay the company the cost of the Technical Training, pro-rated over the payback period, plus the other legal interests and charges the company may require.

I would like to ask for your opinion regarding the contract.

Would it be valid even if we were given no choice but to sign the contract since it was given to us the moment we were already in Japan?

From the statement of the contract, our salary here in the Philippines became 40% from our original compensations making it way below the minimum wage suggested by DOLE. Even the computations of our 13th month,SSS,Phil health and Pag-ibig from the time we were in Japan was also 40%.Income tax was also deducted. Would this in any way make the contract null or invalid?

I could not really call our stay in Japan as training because there was no skill enhancement trainings or even seminars that were given to us. For me, it was because they lack the man power to do their ongoing projects. We were asked to continue the ongoing projects that their previous employee left who resigned earlier on 2011. We were even sent to meetings to there clients to discuss matters about the project. We even use our own money to have nihonggo lessons in Japan. We were not given any certificates on what skills we have learned during the course of the said training. Can the company sue me for unjust enrichment?

I am asking all this because I have already submitted my 30 days notice to the company. I have been depressed due to being away with my family for a very long time and since I returning from the said training, I was not given any work load. I have not been eating well due to stress of always being alone and im afraid my health will deteriorate. For the past 3-4 months I have not done anything work related because nothing was assigned to me. I have decided to resign because im no longer motivated due to being idle for a very long time and I feel like I am wasting my potential in my current company.

After the company received my resignation. They are now asking me to pay for all of the expenses during training including Allowances, Rent, Electricity, Water and Gas for the entire 10 months in Japan and also the Airfare and insurance. There was no Exact amount mentioned in the contract. This is my first job by the way and I have no way in coming up anywhere near that amount. Do you think this is reasonable?

I really dont know what to do at this point. I hope you could enlighten me with this matter.

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Reclusion Perpetua
even if you were in Japan, you still had the option not to sign the contract if you didn't approve of it..

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Arresto Menor
Yes i am aware of that but i was already pressured to sign then because i have nowhere else to go. Had the contract been given any sooner it would have been a different story. Dont you think?

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i'm afraid that this is one those few situations that if the company sues you, they might be granted damages.

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Arresto Menor
Hello atty,

Thanks for your response.
May i know what made you say that the company may be granted damages? i am really worried because the amount thay are talking about is almost 500k. Does it mean that if ever they sue me i have little chance deffending myself?

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Arresto Menor
Dear Atty. LLL,

Can the company granted for damages to doubled? i'm, just wondering because as far as i know if the company will be sending an employee for training and there is a binding contract the company here in the philippines should be the one to prepare the contract and discuss the terms and conditions to the employee before sending abroad for training. in doubled case this contract was not discussed to him/her in his/her company here in the philippines nor he/she will be bound for 5 years but the contract was given and discussed in Japan. Supposed the company here in the philippine is liable for this since doubled is their employee therefore any contract agreement must came form them not in Japan.

I am also working in a global company and we are also sending employees from our different sites for training/support they also have binding contract, our contract usually came here in our company, but some other sites have their contract too but if the contract came from other sites we review it first together with our comapany lawyer if there are provisions stipulates in the contract which is/are agaisnt with the philippine labor law we revised it then discussed to the employee before sending to training or support.

One more thing, after a month doubled was hired he/she was sent to Japan, if the position applied by doubled is required to attend to training outside the country and there is a binding contract this must be discussed upon hiring to the applicant for them to know their responsiblities upon accepting the offer from the company or they can decide if they want to accept the job offer because of the contract. I think this information is important, which from the email of doubled it was not disclosed to him/her when he/she was hired.

Last question Atty. the contract came and done from Japan, can they use this document agaisnt doubled to sue a case here in the philippines? can the court honor this as valid evidence?

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