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Is this a decent deal?
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mersshroyer



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 33
Location: Rosario, Argentina

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:31 pm    Post subject: Is this a decent deal? Reply with quote

I'll be interviewing for a full-time job with a private all-girls high school in Nagoya soon, but I wanted to know what thoughts you guys may have on the pay. I've never lived or worked in Japan, but the pay seems low and I don't like that there isn't any housing. The only thing that seems to be a saving grace pay-wise is the bonus.

Monthly salary: 196,200 per month
Bonus in June and December equal to 3 month's pay
Paid vacation, amount not specified
Housing not included
Transportation allowance, amount not specified.

I want to be able to save around 70,000 yen per month. Possible?
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mersshroyer



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 33
Location: Rosario, Argentina

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to add:
I don't mind living in a guesthouse,
do not plan to drive,
don't smoke but like to go out once per week,
would like to do a little sightseeing around Japan,
i like to eat cheaply in the local places, but splurge on something different once per week,
don't plan on talking on the phone a lot.
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1304
Location: Way, way off course.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, assuming the bonuses are actually paid, that works out to ~3.5MM yen/year, or ~290k/month, which is not bad. No reason you would stay in a guesthouse in Nagoya - a cheap apartment can be had easily.

The real question is what deductions are coming out of that pay. Tax, medical, pension, unemployment. All should be coming out, except maybe tax (if you're a US citizen) for the first two years if you're a direct hire and not just a dispatch employee.
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mersshroyer



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 33
Location: Rosario, Argentina

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It says income tax and the school fraternal insurance fee is deducted. Confused
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1304
Location: Way, way off course.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mersshroyer wrote:
It says income tax and the school fraternal insurance fee is deducted. Confused


Already deducted?

And what is "school fraternal insurance"? What does it cover and how much does it cost? What does it exclude? Does it cover dental and mental health?

If there's more than 5 employees then they have to offer the national insurance plan. There's no if's but's or maybe's about the law on that point: it must be offered, even if they also offer other plans. I'd be surprised if their internal insurance is a better deal than the national insurance.

Why is tax deducted? You pay local municipal tax, but you shouldn't be paying national tax if they're a registered school and you're an employee (assuming you're American - if you're not then ignore this bit and you're liable for tax, sorry).

As I said, from what you've posted it doesn't look like a bad deal overall, but there are some details you probably need to look at a bit closer, IMO.

Nagoya, however, sucks. Smile Couple of good aikido dojo there though. Smile
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

G Cthulhu wrote:
Well, assuming the bonuses are actually paid, that works out to ~3.5MM yen/year, or ~290k/month, which is not bad. No reason you would stay in a guesthouse in Nagoya - a cheap apartment can be had easily.

The real question is what deductions are coming out of that pay. Tax, medical, pension, unemployment. All should be coming out, except maybe tax (if you're a US citizen) for the first two years if you're a direct hire and not just a dispatch employee.


Have I done the calculations incorrectly?

196,200¥ x 12 months
+ 3 months' bonus (196,200 x 3 = 588,600)
= 2,943,000¥ a year = 245,250¥ a month

From what I've seen many places offer a housing allowance (about 50,000-60,000¥) and about a 250,000¥ salary so I probably wouldn't accept that job offer.
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mersshroyer



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 33
Location: Rosario, Argentina

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have it worked out to be around 294,000 per month because supposedly I would get the bonus twice per year. Your calculation only included it once.

Is nagoya really that lame?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to work at a private HS in Sapporo. It was part of an academy, so there were 2 other schools on Honshu. It paid much more, and I don't know what is the norm.

Don't even think about housing. It's rarely included in any teaching job here. You MIGHT get a winter heating allowance. I don't know about the Nagoya area.

Quote:
that works out to ~3.5MM yen/year, or ~290k/month, which is not bad.
You need to get them to clarify some things, as others have pointed out. I wouldn't look at it like ~290K/month, because that's not how you will live month to month. Plus, the higher pay during bonus time will probably be taxed more than a monthly salary. Remember, those are all pre-tax figures. To get paid <196K per month pre-tax is lame, IMO, especially for a private HS. At my old school, even the PTers got more than that.

Definitely clarify what the insurance situation is, as others have pointed out. By law you are probably going to have to be on shakai hoken (insurance plus pension), and that will take out roughly 20,000 per month.

Quote:
Bonus in June and December equal to 3 month's pay
Wording is important here. Confirm that the combined bonuses is this amount. I suspect it is, not 3 months' pay times 2. Usually, bonuses in June are far less than in December, so I suspect your total bonus income will be that 3 months' pay.

Moreover, bonuses are the first thing trimmed in today's economy. Seems like every year I was there, bonuses were cut another 10% or more.

Transportation allowance is normal. You will be asked how far you live from school and what sort of transportation you intend to take. They will charge you a base minimum for gasoline (car) or public transportation, depending on your option.

BIG HEADS UP!
When I worked at the private HS, I was deluged by work. In addition to making 11 lessons per week (more than anyone else), FTers had to serve on committees, attend 4-5 meetings per week (sometimes 2-3 hrs long), and be on some sort of sports group as an assistant regardless of your own experience. Then there was involvement (read: time wasted) in open campus, school festival, safety training drills, special teacher presentations (we danced for the students!), meeting with parents, five major exams a year to prep and correct, and entrance exams on top of that (a huge affair). It is a VERY BUSY post. Don't expect a life before 8pm most days. (And, heaven forbid you get stuck with dorm duty, which means AFTER work you go to the dorm from 9 to 11pm just to watch them (encourage them) to study and do bed checks. You only get transportation costs for that.) Then there is also the annual school trip abroad (or if you are darned lucky, just within Japan).

You will likely also have to get a special teaching license. For my old school, we had to get our resume and all transcripts and degree parchments translated into Japanese. Simple deal and nothing more, and it was only good for that one school/area, expiring in 3 years (a typical contract). If you have tenure, there is far more to look forward to: taking university courses.

I was also assistant homeroom teacher one year. That sucks the life out of your day, too, meeting with the class and HR teacher twice a day or more.

So, is a salary of <200,000 per month really worth it? Figure you will spend about 125,000 on basic necessities (rent, food, utilities, insurance, phone/internet). Bonuses aside (because they only happen 2 times a year), that leaves you with 75,000 per month. You will NOT be able to save 70,000 per month, not on a monthly basis anyway, IMO. I leave it to you do do more math once you figure out exactly what they mean by their bonus plan. There will likely also be a deduction for a savings plan and an option to join the union. Heck, at least when I was there, we got 100,000 for research funds, but I think that was an exception!

EDIT:
My J wife has just reminded me that when I had that job, I was 45, and people over 35 get paid more, plus they gave us a small additional wage for the fact that I had a wife and kid. She said that ~200K is fairly typical for Japanese just starting out in most jobs. I recall seeing ads for 250K occasionally, and the standard for most entry level work here used to be 250K, so gauge your decision on all that, too.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
I used to work at a private HS in Sapporo. It was part of an academy, so there were 2 other schools on Honshu. It paid much more, and I don't know what is the norm.

Don't even think about housing. It's rarely included in any teaching job here. You MIGHT get a winter heating allowance. I don't know about the Nagoya area. Probably only in Hokkaido. But, if they aren't paying for housing (likely), then you have to know whether they will be guarantor for your apartment (also likely, but ask). Be advised that moving here without a place to stay is pricey. Will they at least help you locate housing? You will have to pay (again, likely) 2-5 times a month's salary just to move into a place, and unless you find a LeoPalace apartment (fully furnished with Internet provided), most places will be absolutely bare (no appliances of any kind, no drapes, bedding, NOTHING, sometimes even no light fixtures). The 100-yen shops go only so far in furnishing such a place. This obviously cuts into your desire to save early in your stay.

Quote:
that works out to ~3.5MM yen/year, or ~290k/month, which is not bad.
You need to get them to clarify some things, as others have pointed out. I wouldn't look at it like ~290K/month, because that's not how you will live month to month. Plus, the higher pay during bonus time will probably be taxed more than a monthly salary. Remember, those are all pre-tax figures. To get paid <196K per month pre-tax is lame, IMO, especially for a private HS. At my old school, even the PTers got more than that.

Definitely clarify what the insurance situation is, as others have pointed out. By law you are probably going to have to be on shakai hoken (insurance plus pension), and that will take out roughly 20,000 per month.

Quote:
Bonus in June and December equal to 3 month's pay
Wording is important here. Confirm that the combined bonuses is this amount. I suspect it is, not 3 months' pay times 2. Usually, bonuses in June are far less than in December, so I suspect your total bonus income will be that 3 months' pay.

Moreover, bonuses are the first thing trimmed in today's economy. Seems like every year I was there, bonuses were cut another 10% or more.

Transportation allowance is normal. You will be asked how far you live from school and what sort of transportation you intend to take. They will charge you a base minimum for gasoline (car) or public transportation, depending on your option.

BIG HEADS UP!
When I worked at the private HS, I was deluged by work. In addition to making 11 lessons per week (more than anyone else), FTers had to serve on committees, attend 4-5 meetings per week (sometimes 2-3 hrs long), and be on some sort of sports group as an assistant regardless of your own experience. Then there was involvement (read: time wasted) in open campus, school festival, safety training drills, special teacher presentations (we danced for the students!), meeting with parents, five major exams a year to prep and correct, and entrance exams on top of that (a huge affair). It is a VERY BUSY post. Don't expect a life before 8pm most days. (And, heaven forbid you get stuck with dorm duty, which means AFTER work you go to the dorm from 9 to 11pm just to watch them (encourage them) to study and do bed checks. You only get transportation costs for that.) Then there is also the annual school trip abroad (or if you are darned lucky, just within Japan).

You will likely also have to get a special teaching license. For my old school, we had to get our resume and all transcripts and degree parchments translated into Japanese. Simple deal and nothing more, and it was only good for that one school/area, expiring in 3 years (a typical contract). If you have tenure, there is far more to look forward to: taking university courses.

I was also assistant homeroom teacher one year. That sucks the life out of your day, too, meeting with the class and HR teacher twice a day or more.

So, is a salary of <200,000 per month really worth it? Figure you will spend about 125,000 on basic necessities (rent, food, utilities, insurance, phone/internet). Bonuses aside (because they only happen 2 times a year), that leaves you with 75,000 per month. You will NOT be able to save 70,000 per month, not on a monthly basis anyway, IMO. I leave it to you do do more math once you figure out exactly what they mean by their bonus plan. There will likely also be a deduction for a savings plan and an option to join the union. Heck, at least when I was there, we got 100,000 for research funds, but I think that was an exception!

EDIT:
My J wife has just reminded me that when I had that job, I was 45, and people over 35 get paid more, plus they gave us a small additional wage for the fact that I had a wife and kid. She said that ~200K is fairly typical for Japanese just starting out in most jobs. I recall seeing ads for 250K occasionally, and the standard for most entry level work here used to be 250K, so gauge your decision on all that, too.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the position through the school, or through a dispatch company?

I'm at a private J/SHS, and my experience differs greatly from Glenski's. I'm employed by a dispatch company. I didn't have to go through any of the paperwork stuff, and I work from around 8:30am - 5pm, have 16 lessons a week and plenty of time to plan. I do have other responsibilities like helping students prepare for Eiken, university entrance exams, etc. But it isn't a chore. I'd say my workload is medium, at times light.

I think your position, assuming the bonuses are paid, is a bit low for a private school. However, you might also find it a better place to work, and better experience, than a public school as an ALT. Find out how long the holidays are, too. If you're getting the same deal as a Japanese teacher (ie. not a lot of time off) then that's a big no. One of the best things about working in a school as a foreign teacher is the 4-5 weeks off in summer and the 2 during winter.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regards to Glenski's experience, each private school is run differently. My work is probabaly much easier than he experienced.

In my Junior High/High School in Kagoshima, I teach about 17 hours a week total - which is not much at all. My colleagues teach the same amount or a little more. Despite what Glenski says - it is not difficult to teach 2-3 hours a day. But, my prep situation might be easier than his was. Each class has a textbook that you can pretty much follow. Do remember if you were a public school teacher in the US - which I was - your would teach 25-29 hours a week...

In my current position, I do not participate in committee meetings or (at least so far) help run a club. I do go to morning meetings (10 minutes), and do a short homeroom (5 minutes) a few times a week. I also supervise daily cleaning (10 minutes). And, go to periodic assemblies as well as helping out with the sports and culture festivals, and Eiken prep.

I arrive at school each day at 7:45 and finish usually at 5:30 (in the wintertime when it's darker at 5:00). I also work on 3 Saturdays a month from 8:00 to 1:30 pm.

I do get a housing allowance that covers part of my rent, and some other benefits.

Also, my income level, I would say is good.


Last edited by timothypfox on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mersshroyer



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 33
Location: Rosario, Argentina

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The position is through the school. May I ask what dispatch company you went through?

I'm starting to doubt the position overall, especially because I have seen ekeiwa jobs that pay better and help with housing. Part of the draw for me is that it's not an ekeiwa. I'm more comfortable with the idea of working through a public or private school.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is a direct school hire, and I am a teacher - not an ALT.

For job searching - you would need to target private JHS and private HS. Believe it or not I found the job through the job boards here - but I found a lot of listing on the site "tieonline.com". They do require a fee though just be aware.
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1304
Location: Way, way off course.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kpjf wrote:

Have I done the calculations incorrectly?

196,200¥ x 12 months
+ 3 months' bonus (196,200 x 3 = 588,600)
= 2,943,000¥ a year = 245,250¥ a month

From what I've seen many places offer a housing allowance (about 50,000-60,000¥) and about a 250,000¥ salary so I probably wouldn't accept that job offer.


I assumed "bonus in dec & June equal to 3 months pay" meant each bonus was equal to 3 months pay. If your interpretation is correct then my numbers are off and yours are right.
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1304
Location: Way, way off course.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mersshroyer wrote:
Is nagoya really that lame?


Personally, I hate the place second only to Kobe. But that's just my opinion. Ignore that part of anything I say because you're not me. I know people that like Nagoya. You might too.
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