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working in excess of 120 hours during March, no overtime!

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Joined: 26 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 6:08 pm    Post subject: working in excess of 120 hours during March, no overtime! Reply with quote

I have been working for six months at a school and my contract is not being followed. I have never been given health insurance, paid on time, or provided with items in my apartment that were promised in the contract. I "understood" the various financial and personal problems that my employers have been going through, and didn't complain. Obviously, this was my first mistake.

I have realized that this month I will work an excess of 120 hours, and asked to be paid for overtime. My coworker and I approached them to clarify the situation. My bosses flatly refused to pay overtime and refused to speak to me for 2 days. My coworker is also working illegally because they "could not" get a visa for "him/her" on time (due to my boss's purse being stolen). I want to clarify that my bosses think this person is the troublemaker since I rarely complained about things before. This person did not have housing for over a week after first arriving.

I overheard my boss on the phone setting up an interview with a teacher. When I attempted to speak to my boss about this he refused to talk to me and yelled at me to get to class. I hadn't confronted him, only asked to speak with him. When I again said, "Can I speak with you for a moment?" he pointed to the front door and yelled "Get out." I, and my coworker, followed him outside and he said "Write it down, I don't understand your English." He ran off. I assumed he had fired me, so I left with my coworker, who promised that we would do things together from now on.

My other boss, a woman, called and said she wouldn't call immigration or the police. We went back to work, willing to talk. They said they would talk after classes. We asked a korean friend to come and translate for us. They had excuses for every one of our grievances and "sorry stories" ( like they had to move out of their house to pay the deposit for the new teacher's room). They refused to pay what we are owed by our contract and refused to accept any negotiations, although they are blatantly violating our contract. My boss witholds 200,000 won of my money for a 1,000,000 won security deposit. She has 800,000 won of my money. I have been told this is illegal, but they claim other hakwons do it. Also, they are telling us that they shouldn't pay us for 5 minute breaks in between classes. That "other" hakwons do it. I told them then that will be considered prep time and that I will come in 10 minutes before class starts, since my prep time is 1 1/2 hours, and the breaks are 80 minutes in total for the day. They wouldn't agree.

They said they would provide us with an answer by Saturday, probably so they can find other teachers to replace us. I do have some things I can blackmail then with (phtocopied text books, doctor's visits on the bosses health insurance, illegal teacher). Is this a good idea? I don't know what to do. I am exhausted and frustrated. Please, any advice is appreciated. (I apologize for any typos.)

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Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Upon a mountain in unknown Kadath

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow...i sympathize with your problem, but unfortunately cannot provide any sound advice. I like to think that if i was in your situation i would start playing my blackmail cards, although that may be bad advice given your circumstances.

I'm in a similar situation with regard to outstanding overtime, but my case is nowhere near as pronounced as yours. I have been working maybe 34 hours a week for the past two weeks, and when told about these extra classes i insisted that i be compensated financially, as per our contract agreement. He said he would pay me at my next pay period, and that everything will work itself out. I'm overly paranoid about being taken advantage of here i canada, whenever an employer starts asking me to stay late to help out the "team", i always demand overtime pay for my efforts (i'm a true socialist at heart, i think)...

anyway, i think it's different in korea...i think the employers take it more personally....and i feel bad about asking for the overtime money from my boss. he has always been very kind to me, and i think he was taken aback by my demand for overtime pay, and so i partially regret bringing it up. But I, like you, just hate the thought that someone is taking advantage of me and so i think it's important to address these issues. i hope that made sense...i'm kind of under the gun writing here...good luck.
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Joined: 15 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2003 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly the language barrier in Korea can be a major hurdle.

Perhaps the director of your school is finding a new teacher to REDUCE the number of hours you are teaching and trying to help you in the long run.

Be patient.

Try to accept the Korean style of business.

Not every hagwon owner is ethical.

Good luck. Let us know what the outcome is.
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Austin Powers

Joined: 09 Mar 2003
Location: Incheon

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 2:47 am    Post subject: I find spitting the dummy works Reply with quote

I've had a few probs with my Hogwan. What I have done in regard to my "requests" is to ask nicely and firmly and get a commitment date.
When I get the multitude of excuses I say yes I understand, and empathise with you, however it is your problem and not my problem, please don't make your problem my problem. D Day arrives and usually they havn't delivered, bug them, politely but firmly. If there is no result, just don't rock up for lessons. They went ape, but it got results. Don't let them think you are a schmuck. Better they hate you and respect you than, like you and look down upon you.
I make it a point of being really good to the kids, candies, lollies. This way they rave to the parents about the great teacher (actually I'm a lousy teacher-but perception counts), so if I go, the parents would not be too pleased.
I'm getting my overtime, my accomodation sucks, but I've got them running around finding me new accomodation. Final point NEVER NEVER threaten, and don't let them think you are low on cash. I was offered a loan I refused I didn't want them to think I'm vulnerable.
The art of war-When weak show strength, when strong show weakness.
Good luck
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