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Contract Questions
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Is a sticky regarding contract questions worthwhile?
Yes
83%
 83%  [ 10 ]
No
16%
 16%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 12

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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

latefordinner wrote:
The tough part will be putting some relevent, perhaps overlapping but not too contradictory (and thus confusing) posts together. It looks like a good group project. Any takers?


My thoughts were to ask the people out there with the most experience working in China and negotiating contracts to put together a 'check list' of important points. At the very least I think it would be useful to post up a basic contract which states a minimum of what should be considered acceptable.
Something very similar to what Erinyes and tw have already provided.
After that I thought that it could be a place where people can post questions re: specific points of a contract that they are considering for others to comment on or critique.
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Babala



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 1177
Location: Suzhou, Jiangsu

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

erinyes,
Sorry but I think some of things you say to demand are way over the top. A rice cooker? These are things that if you want them, buy them yourself.
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kev7161



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 5769
Location: Suzhou, China

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, babala. That was kind of my point. Obviously, if a school offers a furnished apartment, then the basic necessities should be met. I've been very lucky in both schools I've worked (previous and current) in that they have given me a very nicely furnished apartment with all sorts of extras that I would never ask for - - and would buy if I wanted them.

Right now I'm in the market for a sofa and/or comfy chair with footstool. My school provided two "okay" chairs as living room furniture, but I need something a little more to be comfortable and relaxed.
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Babala



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 1177
Location: Suzhou, Jiangsu

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also think it's important for newbies to know that excessive demands may also cost you a job. I'm am not saying settle for anything, you do need to make sure you are getting the basics but if I had someone apllying a job and they started making all sorts of excessive demands, I would definately pass on them and I think quite a few schools would also.
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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

83% in favour
We'll see what the mods think

Thanks to all who offered opinions, although it would have been nice to know why those who voted against it thought it wasn't worthwhile...
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Super Mario



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 1022
Location: Australia, previously China

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
you do need to make sure you are getting the basics but if I had someone apllying a job and they started making all sorts of excessive demands, I would definately pass on them

Babala, you may be interested in the "English mistakes by English speakers" thread.

The standard state contract would make a useful sticky, even though it doesn't say a lot [or is that alot?]. What, and how, people negotiate after that is up to them, but establishing a good relationship and reputation within the school is a precursor to requests.
Just clarify, and have in writing, your accommodation [aircon? internet?], working conditions and, of course, salary. Airfare as well.
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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK folks, we have a sticky!
If there are any questions regarding contracts, benefits, wages etc feel free to post here and hopefully somebody will be able to steer you in the right direction.
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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience is somewhat limited having only signed one contract and (to this point) negotiated a second, but here are some points that I think everybody looking to sign a contract should keep in mind.

Listed in no particular order of importance:

Length of contract:
6 month, 12 month or something in between?

Employer & Employee Responsibilities - What do they promise to do for you & what do they want you to do

In China it seems that most (not all) positions will include an apartment free of charge.

What does it include?:

It should include:
Cooking utensils, a gas cooker, pots, pans, knives, forks, spoons, cups, glasses, wok, plates, a water dispenser, a microwave, bed, sheets, pillows, furniture (sofa, chairs, wardrobe, cupboards, desk etc) a shower or bathroom with gas fired water heaters if there is no running hot water, western toilet, washing machine, fridge, computer with free internet access (high speed 24 X 7 is preferrable), air conditioner unit(s), phone and drapes / curtains.
Most apartments are also offered with free essential utilities such as non-drinking water, electricity and gas

To my mind anything else is certainly negotiable but this is what I would expect to be included. If you want a TV and one isn't mentioned then ask about it.

Location:
Where you work will directly impact how much you need to earn to live in a manner befitting your lifestyle.

Salary:
How Much?
When will it be paid?
If you agree to work overtime what will the rate of pay be?

Contact Hours / Teaching:
How many do they want you to teach per week? (around 20 seems to be a good max # from my perspective)
How many days per week do they want you to work?
Do they provide a syllabus or curriculum?
Which books do they use?
How many students per class?
What age groups?
What type of resources are available for you to use?
At what time of day will you work; mornings, afternoons or evenings?
Do they provide transport to and from classes if you must travel?

Office Hours:
Do you have to spend time in the office in addition to teaching?
If so how many hours per week?

Days off:
Which days off will you be given?
Consecutive days off or split?

Travel Bonus:
How much?
When will it be paid?

Air fare Reimbursement:
How much?
When will it be paid?

Vacation Periods:
When are they?
Are they paid or unpaid?
Are you expected to work during traditional holiday periods?
If so what will your compensation be?

Visas and Permits:
Will the employer provide working visas and residency permits? - If not; why not?
Will they cover the cost of medical examinations performed in China and required to obtain said permits?

Sick Leave:
How much are you allowed?
What kind of documentation must you provide?

Health Benefits:
How much is provided?
What is covered?

Penalties:
What are the penalties for absenteeism?
What are the penalties for non documented sick leave?

Termination:
How much notice must be given?
What are the situations under which you can break the contract?
What are the situations under which the employer can break the contract?
What is the penalty for breaking the contract?

There are undoubtedly some things that I have missed however, these are the 'big questions' for me. Other benefits such as free Chinese lessons, sightseeing trips etc are icing on the cake but don't be impressed by the icing until you've made sure the cake is palatable.

As I said in an earlier post don't assume, get it in writing and don't be afraid to ask about specifics. That being said, it's up to each individual to decide whether the specifics of a particular contract are acceptable or not. Personally there's no way that I would work for less than 5000 RMB in my current location, in Shanghai that number would be a lot higher.

Ask questions, do some research, have fun.
Good luck.
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Midlothian Mapleheart



Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 623
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edited to remove offensive content.

Middy


Last edited by Midlothian Mapleheart on Mon May 29, 2006 6:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post Middy, thanks for your comments and suggestions.
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Jen-Ai



Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 4
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had all very good experiences at my school, everything is top-notch, plus I get paid in advance (my first monthly check before I even saw my first class), travel allowance, nice apartment, etc. I can't say enough about how kind, professional and caring the director, the staff and the students have been to me.

As good as my school has been to all foreign teachers, I understand that as an employer, in the past, they have had their share of problems with foreign teachers.

Therefore, I suggest that in addition to making lists of things you want, foreign teachers might also consider a list of things they are willing to give. For example:

go to classes on time; let someone know if you are sick and will not be able to teach; not use your apartment as a full-time hotel for guests thus incurring excessive utility bills which you expect your employer to pay; be prepared for each class with a creative lesson plan; demonstrate appropriate behavior, attitude and demeanor; have an open mind; work well with other teachers - both and foreign and Chinese; be willing to give a little extra time to students; and the list goes on.
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dug



Joined: 11 Feb 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:19 pm    Post subject: breaking a contract, repercussions Reply with quote

Can anyone comment on the consequences of breaking a contract? Is it possible to be sued? Assuming one does not want to continue teaching in China and is not concerned about the effect that breaking a contract with little notice will have on career goals in the country, what other ramifications might there be? Any input welcome. -Thanks
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hairuo



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 473
Location: Somewhere in China

PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of questions about what the schools are suppose to do are listed on the SAFEA website...State Administration Foreign Experts Affairs. Such things like the hours that are considered full time for teachers is listed as 16. The website gives info about visas plus lots of info for the foreigner. And it is in English.

http://www.china-tesol.com/Jobs_with_TEACH_CHINA/SAFEA_Guide_at_TEACH_CHINA/safea_guide_at_teach_china.html

If you are having problems with your school, make sure you document everything, ie: who you talked to, the date, the time, who said what and so forth. You do have the option of going to the Provincal level of the Foreign Affairs office and talking to someone there. They can usually tell you about what is legal and what is not. If you chose to file a complaint, you need the documentation.

I have been working in China for more than 4 years. I have had very good schools to work for. The organization through which I came to China, made it a point to educate it's teachers about SAFEA and many other things dealing with being a foreign teacher in China. It has proved to be invaluable. Educate yourself before agreeing to anything. Good Luck. A good experience in China is a wonderful thing. Chinese students are great. The country is full of surprises. Find yourself a good school and enjoy.
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Mysterious Mark



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 6:49 am    Post subject: Legal validity of contracts Reply with quote

It's been stated that in order for a contract to be legally binding, it needs to be written on SAFEA paper, have a SAFEA stamp, and be in Chinese, with an English translation being optional.

I don't remember coming across any first-hand evidence to support these claims. It may be that they're true for SAFEA contracts but that SAFEA contracts are not the only contracts under which foreign teachers can legally be employed.

Is there a general law stating that all contracts of any kind must be in Chinese in order to be binding?
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China.Pete



Joined: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 547

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:51 am    Post subject: Contracts Can Be Highly 'Flexible' Reply with quote

Not to take anything away from the good info and advice about contracts above, it might be helpful for the newbies out there to recognize that much of our discussions have a distinctly western perspective: namely, that contracts are really, really important. One should bear in mind that the contract is something that the school must use to get a foreign teacher legally. Contract law, like much else in China, may be honored more in the breach than in the obeyance. You may have to undergo serious back-and-forth "discussions" with your school to insure that issues such as those discussed elsewhere are either fully disclosed in advance of your accepting the job, or are "reconsidered."

Last edited by China.Pete on Wed Jun 28, 2006 2:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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