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Contract or Regular Staff
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:12 am    Post subject: Contract or Regular Staff Reply with quote

So, when you look at the working environment, aside from the headaches of getting your own permits, would you prefer to be permanent staff (visa support, maybe housing assistance and supplemental insurance) OR a contractor (paying your own ZUS, arranging your own housing & sup insurance, etc.)?

I see pros and cons both ways and, clearly, I favor being a contractor. Controlling your schedule through picking and choosing from the classes one or more schools offer out and being able to change up your schedule or pattern 2-3 times a year has some value, but there is something to be said for the schools' offerings of stability (sometimes illusory) and a working base. Then there are ethical and contractual issues regarding private versus school students which can arise.

Again, forget the initial hassle of getting setup but consider the tax/ZUS payments, classroom in your apartment issues, schedule locks, etc.
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Infinite



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did few years of "Umowa o dzielo" and it was cool, it helped me in seeing how things work from within. After a while thou, it becomes very beneficial to be your own boss. If you could do both that's even better, especially in the beginning.

Some people just stay with the crappy contracts, especially when they get a nice comfortable position at a school which allows creative freedoms for example.

There are advantages to both, it also depends on your employer, you can ask them to pay for your healthcare and it really won't cost them that much saving you from paying extremely high ZUS. Some schools are ran by good and honest people so it's possible to land a fair contract.

I think the main issue that I had with schools, was their inability to keep away from cutting important corners and hurting the business. The way that natives are looked at by schools is partially the fault of the natives, but a lot of times the corner cutting involves cutting hours of a good teacher just to hire someone who'll take 10PLN less per hour which tends to backfire. Happens all the time. So the chance of being undercut is higher than if you're just signing an individual contract with a company. More room for negotiating too... more work, that's for sure, but the knowledge that it's all somehow benefiting you and nobody else is rewarding Smile
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about schools owned by expats? See any behavioral differences?
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 966
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to find it empowering to have my own company, to have more control over my income and be able to say 'no' to those 7:30am in-company Saturday lessons.

However, the near 1,000zl/month ZUS payments really sting and the freedom is largely an illusion.

I mean, let's face it, there are only a handful of schools in Warsaw worth working for. I know that if I don't take an occasional 'lemon' (e.g. naughty kids and/or remote location) class from these schools, then I can kiss those juicy, evening, adult, general English classes goodbye.

Also, schools will always find a way to persuade freelancers to do admin tasks and attend meetings and training sessions. At the British Council, for example, they offer a few zloty more per hour to freelancers who agree to work exclusively for the BC and come to training sessions and meetings.

Working as a contractor at the end of the day you're left with:

-Slightly more money than a contract employee some months, but a lot less during months with holidays, and likely nothing over the summer
-No paid holidays
-No sick leave, or leave of any kind for that matter
-Still having to ultimately jump through the same hoops as a contract employee because you have:
-Less job security - you can be replaced at any time, so better keep your head down and take what's offered
-Did I mention the near 1,000zl a month ZUS payments after 2 years?
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What differences, if any, do you see between the schools with local owners and those owned by expats?

Will the legal, economic and social system wear down even the most idealistic expat-owner over time?

Also, could one of the veterans run down the different versions of contracts and permits in a single location/concise list?
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 966
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecocks wrote:
What differences, if any, do you see between the schools with local owners and those owned by expats?

Will the legal, economic and social system wear down even the most idealistic expat-owner over time?
I can't say I know of many expat run language schools. I do know of several who are run by Poles who have spent several years living abroad, like the Academy of New York.

The fact is that many Polish school owners treat their business as a get rich quick scheme, cutting corners on quality and only being concerned with the bottom line.

What lofty ideals would an expat owner have? If you're talking about teaching quality, where are you going to get qualified, experienced teachers and how are you going to support them and pay them enough to keep them coming back every year?

It's important to understand that Poland is a mature market and there are so many run-of-the-mill language schools now; what will make people choose your school over the competition?
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is BC a franchise owned by Poles? I thought it was "owned" by Brits?

There is at least one Language School in Gdansk owned by a Brit so I would expect there to be a couple of dozen or more around the country owned by individuals.

One of my old employers owns operations in France and Germany, relatively mature markets, in addition to Azerbaijan and the UK (wouldn't it be an ancient market? j/k).

Language Solutions has operations in multiple countries (Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Libya, etc.) as well. I would expect there are several others.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How does this seem as a POTENTIAL job ad? Would it seem attractive and interesting for this market for the non-EU teacher?

Position Announcement:

Looking for a Native-Speaker English Teacher (1 position) to teach Business and General English to set classes and individuals.

Expectations:

Teach Business and General English classes to classroom groups and individuals. Students are generally adults but we may form occasional classes for teenagers (16+). Generally, the work day is from 1:00 PM until 9:30 PM, Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 AM until 12:00 AM. Occasional Saturdays (in rotation 1-2 times per month) involve conversation groups and/or activities such as movies or field trips where English is the focus language.

We will provide a copy of our contract for those selected to interview.

Minimum Qualifications:

Native Speaker from North America (Canada or United States).

Completion of a bachelor’s degree.

TEFL or CELTA/Trinity (100+ hours with an observed teaching component). ESL endorsements on teaching certificates are considered equicalent as well.

1-2 years of FT experience teaching General and/or Business English to adults, preferably in Eastern Europe or the FSU.

5+ years experience in non-teaching employment such as supervision, IT support, healthcare, military, etc.

Preferences:


Experience with Business English, TOEFL/IELTS Academic and FCE/CAE programs is a large plus.

Experience in Eastern European and FSU countries.

Package:

Compensation: 3200zl/month (net)

Visa assistance with residence and work permit support provided.

Assistance in finding an apartment, registering, opening bank account and learning how to get around.

ZUS is provided or you may opt for a medical insurance policy.

2 Week Vacation to be taken in July, August or first half of September. We will be following the Polish Holiday schedule and will also be closed for 10 days at Christmas/New Year plus an additional week at Easter. We encourage you to relax and travel at this time.

End of contract bonus of 1500 zl payable upon successful completion of contract period.


Last edited by ecocks on Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:39 am; edited 2 times in total
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oipivo



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 159
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hah, that sounds like a dream job. I would imagine it would draw in numerous requests.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Salary doesn't seem too high or too low based upon the experience request? What if it were dropped to 3000? 2800?

What about thoughts on vacations/holidays and such?

"Contract completion bonus" instead of a ticket payment?

This is somewhat an outgrowth of my question about what could/do foreign business people bring to the table compared to locals. Some good, some maybe not as good aspects of what is considered "normal"?
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oipivo



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 159
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say based on the experience requested the compensation is pretty fair if even a bit high. I know I would happily take a job like that after the recent bullshit I've gone through.

I think the contract completion bonus is a better idea than ticket payment. I had this perk in Istanbul and it really did make me want to re sign. It left everything on a high note.

The vacation/holidays sounds good as well. They should know not to expect many (if any) classes around this time.

Again the whole package looks better than any other language school offer I've seen.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never seen an advert specifically asking for a North American native speaker - what would be the point in that?

I can understand why someone with experience of working in business might be desirable if the job is heavy on business English teaching, but 5 years? Never seen a teaching job ask for that much before.

Also, under the qualifications section it is written 'TEFL or CELTA'. This looks pretty ambiguous as TEFL doesn't mean anything with regards to qualifications. Perhaps you mean Trinity Cert. TESOL instead?
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 543

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd only point out one thing - on a 3200zl net salary with ZUS paid, you'd be looking at paying a gross salary of 4497zl - and the cost to you would be 5429zl a month.

It would be considerably easier (though - the legality is very questionable and you'd want to take professional advice on the matter) to hire them under umowa o dzielo contracts and then provide them with paid private healthcare.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

delphian-domine wrote:
I'd only point out one thing - on a 3200zl net salary with ZUS paid, you'd be looking at paying a gross salary of 4497zl - and the cost to you would be 5429zl a month.

It would be considerably easier (though - the legality is very questionable and you'd want to take professional advice on the matter) to hire them under umowa o dzielo contracts and then provide them with paid private healthcare.


I see that Delph, but legal is one of the primary goals. By the time you have a lawyer put the magic stamp on the document, what are the true costs?

Looking at my own process in coming here and seeking to become a contractor from the start, it seems like anyone hired would [possibly/probably] still be looking at getting themselves legalized 6 months later which is a distraction and a bit demoralizing (IMO). My landlord had an American employee (not a teacher) who went through the same issues I am facing. Oipivo seems to be frustrated by the process and all of those with long times on the ground in Poland tell these same horror stories about getting legal.

If someone was already here and had their situation established, it could work (I guess). However, it is my feeling that as contractors they are somewhat conflicted with regard to loyalty to the organization. After all, they are potentially a competitor. IF this went through, an additional goal would be to have the person content with their income and lifestyle to the point that they weren't trying to work in private students. Maybe it is just me who prefers employees who make enough to live and enjoy their life without being in competition with their employers? Lord knows, the majority of TEFL teachers I meet have a few privates for financial or personal reasons. Then again, some don't.

I have had private students while being an employee (yeah, usually in violation of the contract) and, being frank about it, find that it creates a bit of conflict with the "regular" job. The heavy workload affects both the job AND the private group(s). Aside from the realities of your "favorite" students wanting to come to you directly there is also the tendency to get sucked into too much work if you start getting more and more referrals.

I meet individuals who seem content to work for one employer (some for years) without becoming fixated on chasing every possible zloty. Whether that is because they have simpler, goals in their work life or maybe just no interest in entrepreneurial activity, it seems possible to at least minimize their "other" work. Long term, it is so they can have a healthy experience and be fresh in their approach to the job you want them to do.

Re: North American Speakers Only - I see ads often enough which specify country of citizenship. Sometimes it is due to the legal issues (EU citizen for instance) and other times it is the company's insistence on one type of English over another. There are TEFL companies around the world which only hire Canadians, Brits, etc. Others expand native speaker to include Indians, Ugandans, etc.

Re: Business Backgrounds - In a similar fashion, certain backgrounds lend themselves to certain markets and business plans. In the Mid-East you see requests for technical, military, air traffic and engineering specializations where background and familiarity are pluses. Again, it depends on the business plan and market being sought.

Re: TEFL/CELTA - We don't agree on the TEFL v. CELTA issue so that's that. Nothing wrong with Trinity though so yes, it should say, "TEFL or CELTA/Trinity". For that matter it should also include teachers with an ESL certification. I'll edit that change in, Thanks for pointing that out!
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecocks wrote:
Re: North American Speakers Only - I see ads often enough which specify country of citizenship. Sometimes it is due to the legal issues (EU citizen for instance) and other times it is the company's insistence on one type of English over another. There are TEFL companies around the world which only hire Canadians, Brits, etc. Others expand native speaker to include Indians, Ugandans, etc.


Yes, of course but do you see adverts in Poland (or anywhere else in the EU for that matter) asking for North Americans only? I can't see what the advantage is here in Poland for doing that.

ecocks wrote:
Re: Business Backgrounds - In a similar fashion, certain backgrounds lend themselves to certain markets and business plans. In the Mid-East you see requests for technical, military, air traffic and engineering specializations where background and familiarity are pluses. Again, it depends on the business plan and market being sought.


Yes, specialisms are often sought in certain contexts but in Poland it's quite rare. If the teaching is just general business English, then I don't see much benefit in asking for 5 years corporate experience. Just like with the previous issue, it would serve only to limit the pool of applicants with little or no tangible benefit.

You've got to remember that you're in Poland and in all honesty, it's not a place where native speakers are falling over themselves to come and find work. It tends to attract mostly inexperienced teachers who come here for a year or two and then move on to better things elsewhere. In other words, you can't afford to be too picky!

ecocks wrote:
Re: TEFL/CELTA - We don't agree on the TEFL v. CELTA issue so that's that. Nothing wrong with Trinity though so yes, it should say, "TEFL or CELTA/Trinity". For that matter it should also include teacher's with an ESL certification. I'll edit that change in, Thanks for pointing that out!


Granted, I've seen a few adverts asking for a 'TEFL' (whatever one of those is) and when I do my first thought is that these employers obviously don't know much about the industry they're working in if they think that TEFL is an acronym for some kind of certificate or qualification. Sorry to be blunt but that's the harsh truth. Best just to leave that out imho.
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