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Working in China Contract Standards

 
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Porksta



Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Incheon, SK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:20 am    Post subject: Working in China Contract Standards Reply with quote

I come from working in Korea where I know about some of the shady things private schools do (over tax, no pension, etc) and was wondering what to look out for in Chinese contracts. Are there any things that all contracts must include (insurance, bonuses, etc) or perks that all schools provide (flights home, housing, and the like)? Just want to know what I should expect to have written in any contracts that get sent my way.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2485
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just bumped a 2011 thread (Job Offer Checklist) which may help.
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muffintop



Joined: 07 Jan 2013
Posts: 803

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest you get your airfare at a set rate...not to be reimbursed. (10,000RMB is common)
You'll usually get some kind of bonus at the winter holiday if at a public school (@2,000RMB)
Watch for teaching hours vs hours in the contract. Do not permit language such as '20 hours per week'.... you want to see '20 teaching hours per week' for example.
If it's a mill...be sure the language for holidays and days off are very clear.
Be sure that anything above 20(example) hours a week is overtime, not anything over X hours a month.
If housing is provided go through the addendum and make sure things like A/C, heat, washing machine. microwave...etc are listed.
...I'd make they state that the apt will not not be above the 3rd floor if the building is a walk-up...but that's just me.
Look for language about who covers the cost of utilities and have the utilities listed clearly.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, I'm sure others will add more
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Porksta



Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Incheon, SK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw that and thanks, but it doesn't really answer my question. I am not looking for questions to ask my recruiters or schools, I am looking for things that all contracts should include. So for example in Korea it is standard that schools pay for your flight and give you an apartment. They also must provide pension and a severance. Some schools are also bad and will over tax you. Does China have any contract standards like that?
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Porksta



Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Incheon, SK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

muffintop wrote:
I'd suggest you get your airfare at a set rate...not to be reimbursed. (10,000RMB is common)
You'll usually get some kind of bonus at the winter holiday if at a public school (@2,000RMB)
Watch for teaching hours vs hours in the contract. Do not permit language such as '20 hours per week'.... you want to see '20 teaching hours per week' for example.
If it's a mill...be sure the language for holidays and days off are very clear.
Be sure that anything above 20(example) hours a week is overtime, not anything over X hours a month.
If housing is provided go through the addendum and make sure things like A/C, heat, washing machine. microwave...etc are listed.
...I'd make they state that the apt will not not be above the 3rd floor if the building is a walk-up...but that's just me.
Look for language about who covers the cost of utilities and have the utilities listed clearly.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, I'm sure others will add more


Thanks for the help.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2485
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you DO need to question rather than rely on 'standard' clauses.
The checklist is to enable you to look at the offer in an analytical way and ask savvy questions.
'Hours' can mean several things and unless you have an email trail to show it nailed down, you could be effectively 'bait and switched'.
'Oh that 20 hours?' 'That's only the contact hours, the 20 Admin and English Corner hours are on top'.
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Working in China Contract Standards Reply with quote

Porksta wrote:
I come from working in Korea where I know about some of the shady things private schools do (over tax, no pension, etc) and was wondering what to look out for in Chinese contracts. Are there any things that all contracts must include (insurance, bonuses, etc) or perks that all schools provide (flights home, housing, and the like)? Just want to know what I should expect to have written in any contracts that get sent my way.


Contract issues should be dealt with in the same way. That's how I approach it. The list of issues are what's important to you. For example, I have used my winter and summer vacation time these past 2 months because the school is simply not in session now due to the Chinese holiday. If this matters to you more, then don't take a job now because that means the holiday will be at the tail end of your contract period and that means the school will try to weasel out of those final months by ending the contract early. The school year starts in September, like the US, so if you want a university job you have April through May to secure one. There will be others after May, but they may not be good. In June they will be ending the year and getting ready for finals. April is also a time when they do test preparation so you might get time off near the end.

You probably won't get pension or severance. Airfare is different from school to school. It might be as low as 3,000-4,000 or you might get 10,000. It all depends on what you agree to. Also, look at the salaries listed. Universities generally hire teachers 12-16 classes/week 5,000-7,000 RMB/month. Language schools, 8,000-12,000.

Ask about housing as soon as you can. Chinese don't have the same concept of housing as Koreans or Japanese. Don't just ask for an apartment, ask for the bed, the fridge, the mattress (otherwise, you might just get a bed frame and no mattress!!!), AC (AC attached to outlet, otherwise you might just get an outlet and be expected to get your own AC), kitchen, kitchen with plates, silverware, and knives (otherwise you might just get an empty kitchen and be expected to get your own kitchen utensils), rice cooker, microwave, western toilet (otherwise, you might be expected to share a school lavatory).
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2485
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. You really do have to tie it down to that level of detail.
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Simon in Suzhou



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 253
Location: GZ

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having worked in both countries for 5 years each, I can say the folks here on Dave's paint a MUCH bleaker picture of China then is generally the case. Be aware of that. I have NEVER had money problems in China and have gotten paid every penny promised me (in 3 jobs), compared to my previous country where i got ripped off by EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYER I had. It is not always the case, but in China MOST of the teachers getting screwed over financially by their bosses (i.e. don't get the salary promised, excessive deposits lost) are the non-native speakers and non-degreed teachers working illegally under the wrong type of visa. They end up working for shady places and have no recourse when they get screwed over. That is why this board is so adamant that you should NEVER come over without a Z-visa in hand.

Integrity-wise, Chinese bosses are MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better to work for overall than in kimchi-land.


Things are a little more standardized in university contracts. Private institute contracts are all different. There is no standard end-of-the-year bonus like is legally mandated where you are. Usually airfare home at the end of your contract is considered your "bonus." This amount should be negotiated, if possible, to make sure it will actually cover your air ticket.

There is no pension scheme with a big refund at the end of your time in China (although you might be paying into a new pension program depending on what city you live in). So employers aren't going to steal "your" money in this way.

Taxes are pretty straightforward and I have never heard of any tax fraud like is rampant in hogwans. It's easy to calculate what your taxes should be so you don't get more deducted than you should. If your boss doesn't pay your taxes, the Chinese gov't is generally not organized enough to come looking for you to pay them. Not gonna happen.

While there may be problems with your apartment (stuff breaks a lot here), compared to where you are now, there is an 80% chance your apartment in china will be at least twice the size. But as other posters said, its good to get photos and details about the apartment. I would ALWAYS recommend a newbie to China get a job which provides housing. Dealing with arranging your own apartment (even with "help") is a frustrating scenario for someone new on the ground.

As others have said...what you really need to focus on in the contract are teaching hours (how long is an hour?) and "extra" non-teaching activities and office hours.

Make sure they can provide a Z-visa up-front. If they can't or even try to tap around this in the smallest way in their contract, don't even think about them. Your odds of having a miserable time in China go up about 800% dealing with such people.

One other thing. The best jobs in China are not on the internet and cannot generally be obtained from another country. This is a culture, even more than other Asian cultures, about WHO YOU KNOW. If the internet ad sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. I always recommend that someone take a good, reliable, lower-paying job in their first year rather than taking the highest salary job with "perhaps some downsides" and hope for the best. The latter is usually a recipe for unhappiness. Once you are on the ground, making contacts, it is much easier to line-up a good job in your second year. If you are just here for a 1 year cultural experience, I still recommend the latter. Make less, have less stress, and enjoy your time in China. If you are desperate to make big money and teaching is just a means to that end, don't come to China. There are better places for that.

If you like teaching and are qualified to do so, you will find MANY good people in China who will give you MUCH more respect as a teacher than you are getting where you are now.

Like everywhere in the ESL world, a little common sense and low expectations (or just realistic ones) are big keys to happiness.
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creeper1



Joined: 24 Aug 2010
Posts: 210
Location: Beijing, China

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:28 am    Post subject: wrong place Reply with quote

You are thinking about this in the wrong terms. You are thinking Korea = China. It doesn't . I also worked there. In Korea there is a standard package roughly 2.2 million plus airfare, severance and apartment.

In China

airfare - NOT prepaid and often given at the end of a contract
housing - Not always a part of any deal
severance - forget about it.

Something you will get though is this - http://aqicn.org/map/
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon in Suzhou wrote:
Having worked in both countries for 5 years each, I can say the folks here on Dave's paint a MUCH bleaker picture of China then is generally the case. Be aware of that.

I gotta agree with this. China is huge and is just totally unlike most other ESL destinations in many ways. Everyone's experiences can be vastly different, or in some cases exactly the same, or smth in between. Also remember that anything you read on here represents the opinions of only a tiny minority of people in China that populate online forums, and may not be a representative sample of reality. Still, this forum is better than a couple of others I've had a look at.

creeper1 wrote:
In Korea there is a standard package roughly 2.2 million plus airfare, severance and apartment.

In China

airfare - NOT prepaid and often given at the end of a contract

Prepaid airfare isn't that clear cut. I had "prepaid" airfare in another land, and yeah, I got the "free" ticket up front. Soon found that 25% of the ticket price was being deducted from each of my first 4 paychecks, reimbursable at end of contract. Or you buy the ticket (one way oftentimes) up front and get the money back on arrival, or some variation. There are threads on another part of this forum to support what I've posted here, and here's a quote from one of them:

Quote:
a. Airfare for 1,300,000xxx is provided with the one-year contract from the employee’s nearest airport to the international airport in Xxxxx and transportation from the airport to the employee’s residence in Xxxxx(by reimbursement). The Employer will reimburse paid airfare within one month after working. , Upon completion of this contract, the employee will be paid the remaining airfare.

And now you're on the hook for the airfare, at least till your boss decides to get off his ass and reimburse you. I wonder why there's a one month wait to reimburse? Probably because ESL employers aren't idiots, they've been burned before by flaky teachers, and they want to make sure you're actually going to stick around.

At least in China there's little confusion about airfare, you pay up front and get it back later.

creeper1 wrote:
You are thinking about this in the wrong terms. You are thinking Korea = China. It doesn't.

Thank God. For all it's flaws, living and working in China has been infinitely more interesting and preferable to me than that other place.
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RWA1981



Joined: 27 Mar 2014
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most schools that offer to pay for your air fare say they will "reimburse you at the successful close of your contract" which sounds fair on the surface. But if you discover the school is one that cheats its teachers, doesn't pay for overtime, or doesn't even have a license to sponsor your visa, you will probably leave and thus the air-fare issue becomes a moot one. Here are some other contract ideas that U think is a good way to protect yourself:

http://www.thebeijinger.com/forum/2014/02/07/free-legal-guide-english-china-expat-foreign-teachers
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