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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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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There're all kinda contracts out there around China, but there's one FAO SAFEA contract.
There're all kinda absurd points/clauses in all those contracts, and there're some absurd points/clauses in the FAO contract too.
Sure that Chinese employers would love to have foreign "b*tches" around to make a buck, but if it comes from the FAO ...... Sad

Quote:
5.Party B shall respect the Chinese people's moral standards and customs.
Who knows what they are??? Wink

Now, I'd like to see to the future of the FTs and their contract issues in China..... Confused .... my guess is that if we go for those low paying jobs and their demands, there'll be a trend that we'll be sorry about. However, will FTs have choices, if those SAFEA contracts become a "UNIFORMED OBLIGATION" to obtain a legal work permit in China???
So far, there're plenty of jobs with plenty of standards around China and there're plenty of FTs too. Smile

As an academic director in one center in China I had one sad experience with one sad employer that requested 40,000 RMB from one female FT for breaking her contract. Well, the FT wanted to leave on a "short notice" that became a month notice after my negotiations with both parties. Still that "price" stood. I guess FTs need to consider their contracts, their employers, their centers/schools and their signatures on their contracts before they begin their "journeys east" and in China.

WHO WROTE THE SAFEA CONTRACT AND WHO TRANSLATED IT??? Confused

Cheers and beers to the hard working FTs in China Very Happy
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MITCH



Joined: 18 Aug 2006
Posts: 58
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:25 am    Post subject: The Chop What About The Chop? Reply with quote

EG, thanks for all your comments, and advice.

Can anyone answer this one???

Walked into the FAO this afternoon. I had gotten the job of my dreams. The teaching schedule from the FT department. Everything was in place.

I asked the FAO for one more thing. She looked at me.(What else?)

I'd like the contract.

She showed me the contract. One copy signed by the president. (I have to point out, it took her 2 weeks to get the bosses signature.)

Folks, this is the job i've been looking for. I said to her i'd like to have the original, and she could keep a copy. I'd be happy to sign another contract that she could keep.

This is a famous institution, a university.

FAO: "Why didn't you tell me to make two copies in English and Chinese?"

ME: "It's not my job to tell you how to do your job".

FAO: "Don't you trust me?"

ME: "Of course i do! But it's the contract law we are dealing with. I want the original, and i want the Chop".

FAO: "The Chop person is not in today."

Finally i suggested i'd keep the original English copy, and she could keep the original Chinese, and i would get a copy of the Chinese version.

ME: Can i have your signature too?

FAO: No.

*BUTT, NO CHOP! Crying or Very sad

FAO: All the other FT's have no Chop.

*QUESTION: Is my contract legal?

I tried my best folks, really......
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Shan-Shan



Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Posts: 1074
Location: electric pastures

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The law is fluid here, morphing into shapes and degrees of enforcement which differ from one instance to the next. Even if 胡锦涛 and 玉蒂 both co-signed your contract, it would depend on extenuating circumstances to determine its weight and authority.

Nice, though, that you've been able to combine "dream", "employment" and "China" all into one.
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MITCH



Joined: 18 Aug 2006
Posts: 58
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shan Shan,

I've had the bliss before, and i'm trying to find her again.

The combination of good conditions, excited university students eager to learn, gives me hope that i'm going to have another wonderful experience.

Legal or not, i will do them proud.

You have always got to be optimistic, and make things happen.
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: Contract Questions Reply with quote

This sticky's showing well how FTs contracts are in China. It's great that this topic's been put up as a sticky.
Mitch, your "contract experience" reflects China pretty well.

Quote:
The law is fluid here, morphing into shapes and degrees of enforcement which differ from one instance to the next.
Unfortunate truth Sad ....and for some newbies confusing and scarry at the same time Wink

Contracts are just a new concept to China/Chinese. Chinese employers would love to see that "flexibility" from their employees, however foreign employees would love to know their employments' "expectations".
Have you ever asked your "chemployers" for directions or guidance about what to do or how to do it and how often have you got a clear answer?

Peace to chemployers
and
cheers and beers to the hard working FTs in China Very Happy
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Gregor



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 842
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going into my third year in China, and a new employer, I encountered the SAFEA contract for the first time. I was asked to sign that, in Chinese, and the school's regular contract. This was an EF, by the way. The school I worked for before was an EF as well. But the SAFEA thing was new I guess.
It seemed very dodgy to me. It IS dodgy, but dodgy doesn't always mean you're getting screwed. It just means you feel kind of unsure and insecure. This time, it turned out fine.
The school told me that the SAFEA contract was legally necessary for me to obtain my residence permit (which ad ALSO recently changed - this was early 2005 and previously I had a Z visa in my passport and a little green booklet for residence. This time I had just a residence permit affixed to my passport, no visa - but then again, I didn't have to enter the country, so maybe a visa was unnecessary).
Anyway. They assured me that the EF contract was the actual "rule of the road," and the SAFEA contract was only a formality to be ignored.
For what it was worth, I preferred to live under the EF contract. It was more fair to the worker. In my opinion and experience, the SAFEA contract tended to be a bit one sided.
And that was how they really worked it. I was lucky that way. I was not taken unfair advantage of. But you want to be careful, especially if you're a newbie.

Really, the best contract advice I can give a newbie is to READ the contract, and then do the job it and the job description and code of conduct describe, and do it for the prescribed duration. If you do that, the Chinese management will LOVE you, and will do back-flips to keep you happy and just keep you, or at the very least get you back some day.
Before you get into a nit-picky dispute over something that really doesn't matter, think about the dispute. IF it's a serious concern, and you are otherwise an exemplary teacher, you can get a solution with patience and diplomacy.
If, on the other hand, it's a cry-baby complaint, or else a complaint that doesn't really concern you (keep your Western ideas in the West is good advice when going East)* and your students don't much like you, anyway, then you're going to have the kinds of problems that whingers and complainers on this board (we all know who they are) wind up with.
I don't personally know a single poster on this forum. But I was a DoS at two EFs in China and I've been teaching in various countries for close to ten years now. And among my colleagues and friends and acquaintances over all those years, the only real serious whingers I have ever met were teachers who did not follow those pieces of advice. I'm talking about HUNDREDS of people, y'all. I have only once encountered a teacher who wasn't at least partially asking for trouble. And even that one time, the employer eventually made it right. It was a miscommunication, not intentional.
Oh, I saw and had to deal with various problems during my tenure as DoS, but in every case, I was dealing with failure to communicate, lack of trust, and lack of diplomacy (on the part of both parties, sometimes, but you can only control yourself).
So that's my advice. Only sign a contract you've read and then understood, then do your job as well as you can, and don't leave early.
And then, if a problem arises, don't treat it like "US vs THEM." Treat it as a solvable problem. 99.9% of the time, IT IS.

* This is important. You will encounter racism in the form of schools refusing to hire blacks, or different treatment of Chinese colleagues and FTs, possibly dodgy practices on the part of your employer, and smoking in crowded rooms and spitting and any number of things you might find distasteful, but you need to be aware that this is what you will encounter. If you come here as an FT, it's not your business and complaints of that sort are going to be seen as cry-baby complaints. If you don't like it, don't come. If you want to change the culture, then sign on for life and dedicate your life to stamping out these things in China. But this is what it will be like, so there you go.
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice post Gregor...I quite agree...although I'd worry about having signed two different Contracts...the more "agreements" you sign the more obligations you might have...well SAFEA doesn't particularly outlines much of the FTs job duties or rights but it surely protects the employers pretty well. Wink

Gregor wrote:
...if a problem arises, don't treat it like "US vs THEM." Treat it as a solvable problem. 99.9% of the time, IT IS.
Fair advice...as long as the problems are 'solvable"....as for that percentage, it's nice to see such an optimistic number there Wink

Quote:
Really, the best contract advice I can give a newbie is to READ the contract, and then do the job it and the job description and code of conduct describe, and do it for the prescribed duration. If you do that, the Chinese management will LOVE you, and will do back-flips to keep you happy and just keep you, or at the very least get you back some day.
I've had once in my contract that "I have to LOVE my students" Smile ..and I complained about that one...that employer took it off my contract then Smile
But I see your point ... given the "circumstances" that the above and your working environment is fine, YES....i mean "yes" to working for such an employer, not "yes" to those "back-flips" and LOVE Smile


Now, if we are in China searching for our jobs, we can "check things out", but if not ... Confused Coming from out of China, FTs should really know whether the SAFEA is to be signed or not as well as they should know its content if they are to deal with it. Having other "deals"/contracts FTs coming to China should understand them well as well as read them well before their arrivals to China. Having their "deals"/contracts send via email prior to their arrivals is a great idea. Then, if it's presented in the same form in China ... no problem.
Buttom line is to KNOW WHAT YOU ARE COMING TO and KNOW WHAT YOU ARE COMING FOR. Wink

Peace to all
and
cheers and beers to the hard working FTs in China Very Happy
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Gregor



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 842
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Englishgibson reiterates my point - I wouldn't advise a newbie - or anyone else - to just sign two different, possibly contradictory, contracts. I did so because I knew what I was getting into, knew the people involved, and knew how to get out of it if it turned into a bad situation. And even THEN it felt dodgy.

Here's a possible situation - you get all the way to China with a job offer, and when you finally sit down to sign the contract, they spring their own AND the SAFEA one on you. What do you do? Employers need to let people know that will happen before-hand, if such is the case, but most don't. So what are you going to do?
Sign them. Try to find a different job. Go home. Try another country. All are potentially dangerous and expensive options.
The best I think you can do is, find out as much as you can about a school, talking to current and former teachers, and then, whatever you've done, once you've decided to work there, just trust the school and sign. That's what I'D do.
But I can't in clear conscience advise someone else to do it.

In any case, though, READ THE CONTRACT BEFORE YOU SIGN IT. And then GET YOUR COPY! It always amazes me how many teachers complained about stuff that was specifically covered in the contract. They agreed to it before they started work, and then they came to me to complain. Sorry. At that point, I can't help. Not at ALL. READ the bloody thing, and keep a copy.
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gregor wrote:
..READ THE CONTRACT BEFORE YOU SIGN IT. And then GET YOUR COPY! ...
more agreements/contracts more reading, more ambiguous Chenglish more racking of brains, BUT hell YES know what you're signing...if you sign the SAFEA one, there's a number in the corner of it and it's registered/official...it has a substential penalty when breaching that contract...if worst comes to worst, you'll be pressured to pay for breachin' it Sad ..financial penalties've been discussed here before.

Now, know what you are coming to China for, and have a clear understanding of your job before you sign in. If it takes 100s of emails (before arrival), 100s of questions, 100s of face to face discussions, then so be it...but you'll be sure what you're gona get yourself into.

Nothing's 100%...be aware....act professionally for as long as you can....

If you do not come to your agreements with your designated employers, search for others in China...if it's a question of your visa, make a trip to Hong Kong to get antoher one...and surely do not come to China with NO MONEY in yoru pockets Exclamation

Cheers and beers Very Happy
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Gregor



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 842
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Nothing's 100%...be aware....act professionally for as long as you can....

Ha! That's good. "For as long as you can." Yeah, I know what you mean, EG (can I call you EG?). But I might add that you should be able to throughout the entire process and duration of contract. If not, then perhaps you need to seek a different (kind of?) job. Being a foreigner for the first time is very trying. Some would say that China is doubly so. I don't agree - China's no worse than any other place. Lots of stress to being an expat. Be ready for THAT, too.
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 6:37 am    Post subject: Contract Questions Reply with quote

Quote:
can I call you EG?
Sure, but can I call you GEG Question

Quote:
I might add that you should be able to throughout the entire process and duration of contract. If not, then perhaps you need to seek a different (kind of?) job.
..BE PROFESSIONAL..YES.
I'll tell ya how hard it can get there...if there are two employers that "own ya"...one says "YOU ARE FIRED" and the other one "OHH, WAIT A MOMENT, LET'S THINK IT OVER" Confused or a reasonable request "MAKE THOSE 50 KIDS SPEAK ENLGISH" Idea

Well, keep your professional attitude and remember that you have signed an employment agreement. Smile
1) If "things" happen deal with it professionally (with employer)
2) If "things" keep happening deal with it professionally (with foreign affairs office)
3) If "things" seem out of hand "visit" your consulate Wink
4) If you think you'd like to try it in yet another country .. pack and go Smile
Remember that the PENALTY for breaching your contract might be reasonable or unreasonable Wink

Quote:
Being a foreigner for the first time is very trying. Some would say that China is doubly so. I don't agree - China's no worse than any other place.
sure we are all entitled to our opinions on those forums ... i've been a "foreigner for the first time" quite a few times ... beyond the point that i've been stared at due to the size of my nose etc, i've been taken advantage of due to the knowledge/experience i have, in China ...and i don't wanna get started on those "white monkey shows" requested of me and my teachers when in academic management position....ohh one of my teachers was "black" Sad
Surely, some countries are just like China, but then some other countries aren't Exclamation

Quote:
Lots of stress to being an expat. Be ready for THAT, too.
That's one thing I must agree on Wink

Signing a Contract for a period of time ...Contract with some "tough" obligations may bring in more of that STRESS...singing two Contracts at the same time may bring in even more of that Wink ...having a clause with a PENALTY for breaching it may bring in much more than just that STRESS...be ready for THAT, too. Wink

Peace to Contracts
and
cheers and beers to the hard working FTs in China Very Happy
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Gregor



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 842
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Englishgibson (no, you may not call me GEG, so fair enough and my apologies),
Are...you...STILL IN CHINA?? For some reason, I was under the impression that you were.
Maybe I was mistaken. Because if China is as bad as you say it is, surely you don't still LIVE there, do you??
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:33 am    Post subject: Contract Questions Reply with quote

Quote:
I was under the impression ..
"impressions" might be rather decieving, but at this time yours is correct...IN COTRACTS/EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS WE SHALL NOT USE OUR "IMPRESSION"


Quote:
if China is as bad as you say it is..
i say the SAFEA Contract is bad as well as the idea of signing two different Contracts/Employment Agreements at the same time and with the same employer Wink ...what you insinuate has little to do with the topic of Contract Questions Exclamation


Peace to Foreign Affairs in China, their SAFEA
and
cheers and beers to hopeful changes in those Contracts soon or within a reasonable time Smile
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Gregor



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 842
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am only insinuating that you hate having to do what you have to do to make a living in China.. And I submit that it is entirely germane to this discussion.
Quote:
i say the SAFEA Contract is bad as well as the idea of signing two different Contracts/Employment Agreements at the same time and with the same employer

Well, I said that I was asked to do it, and I wouldn't recommend it to newbies, but I did not say it was bad. (Did I?) It worked out fine by me.
And, really, I have no problem with SAFEA because I never intend to break the contract and hurt my good name. That contract is only a problem for people unwilling to live up to their word. Would you agree with that? And why not?
Because, really, the bottom line is that if you don't sign it, you don't get your residence permit. Is that incorrect? That is what I have been led to believe, and I have no reason for doubting it.
Other options are working on a business (F) visa, which is illegal but I've not heard of anyone getting caught, or working on an L visa, which doesn't seem very practical unless you marry a Chinese woman and get to endlessly renew the L. And even then, it's also illegal (but they might turn the other way if you're supporting your Chinese family).
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gregor wrote:
... really, the bottom line is that if you don't sign it, you don't get your residence permit. Is that incorrect?
Yeah, and that's "THE BOTTOM LINE" here about SAFEA or this thread Wink ..but "REALLY" you create a few other "BOTTOM LINES" on here Rolling Eyes

Quote:
..really, I have no problem with SAFEA because I never intend to break the contract and hurt my good name..
your "GOOD NAME" is yet another "BOTTOM LINE"...keep comin' with yor precise reports Laughing
don'cha luv yor fat lill pony a** being owned by someone else Laughing

Quote:
That contract is only a problem for people unwilling to live up to their word.
"THAT CONTRACT" is a slap in FTs faces and an example of one-sided business dealings as well as an example of unprofessionalism and ambiguity beyond any border lines...but respectfully you can "LIVE UP TO your WORD" ...shovin' yor lill pony brown nose up yor employers' big fat a**es Wink ..you'll always get paid!

Quote:
Would you agree with that? And why not?
YES, I AGREE

Now, your recruiting techniques are absolutely impeccable. You'd convince all FTs and newbies to China that the SAFEA is great or shall I say "NO PROBLEM".

Keep it coming, but don't create too many "BOTTOM LINES" here, please
and
cheers and beers to recruiting to China Very Happy
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