Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Korean Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Korean Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Salary penalty for leaving early?Is this normal?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Korean Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Job-related Discussion Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Richtofen



Joined: 26 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 10:34 pm    Post subject: Salary penalty for leaving early?Is this normal? Reply with quote

Hi,
I have been answering a few ads for teaching positions, and one there's one thing keeping me from signing with any school. It's that the contracts all have a salary penalty of one to three months, or sometimes unspecified amounts if you leave without giving a 60 day notice. How many of you have signed contracts like this? When I had email conversations with prospective directors asking them to remove this clause because it was basically an unreasonably threat to force me to stay beholden to them, like their property, and that this kind of thing doesnt exist anywhere in any contract Ive ever signed, they usually respond by saying that I obviously intend to walk off the job, and what a bad prospective teacher I would be. They never see my point and they only reiterate how so many teachers have left without notice. Are you teachers all signing these kinds of things? It seems illegal to have salary penalties anyway, are they? the ones I've seen have amounts of two months salary. Must be like $3500. What's going on there?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
waterbaby



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: Baking Gord a Cheescake pie

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say that the schools are trying to protect themselves and recoup the cost of getting you here if you do leave... recruiters fees, advertising, your airfare etc. Of course a school is going to be disappointed if their teacher does a midnight run soon after arriving... but I understand your point to... what if your school is the school from hell? Shocked ?

I've heard of schools taking a "deposit" from the first 3 or so monthly salaries to cover any debts (utility bills, phone bills) in case their teacher runs... I personally wouldn't do it.

I'd say the schools you're applying to have been badly burnt by previous employees leaving them in the lurch... could be for any number of reasons... bad school, bad teachers...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two months salary? Yikes.. I think a more reasonable deduction would be 100,000/month for the first 3-4 months. That was what mine was (3 months, 300,000 total). I get it back when I complete my contract.

Like the manager/owners told you, lots of teachers scram. Sometimes it is justified, sometimes the teacher is just a plain loser.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fact is, you are somewhat beholden to your boss -- the director who hires you sponsors your working visa, & its not transferable at your whim. The contract stipulation you mention seems unusual. More normally theres some kind of condition about having to return airfare if you leave before 6 months. Some will try to recoup recruiters fees but thats not legal. The owner does fork over a fair amount to bring you here -- you are an investment to him. Some owners will think in terms of 'owning' you but other honest operators have also been burned by unscrupulous teachers.

In any case, its probably not in your best interests in getting hired if one of your first questions is "What if I walk ..?" If everything else seems legit, I suggest go for it. If indeed the job is untenable, there will be ways around that clause. Contracts arent carved in stone here.

[By the way, hows Vietnam? Heading there next month on vacation.]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Son Deureo!



Joined: 30 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That large of a salary penalty, and them telling you that a lot of their teachers haven't finished their contracts should be setting off alarm bells.

Sorry, I wouldn't sign a contract with that provision.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rapier



Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The salary penalty basically forces teachers to do midnight runs if they want to leave. The employer should realise that teachers are only going to give 2 months notice if they aren't going to be penalised for doing so.
Incidentally, after a midnight run, does a teacher become forever blacklisted from returning to work in Korea?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
GirlFromMars



Joined: 15 May 2003
Location: Corea do Sul

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rapier wrote:
Incidentally, after a midnight run, does a teacher become forever blacklisted from returning to work in Korea?


nope, i know someone who is working at another branch of the same franchise he did a midnight run from two years ago.

GFM


EDIT: I should have added that one of the reasons he did a midnight run is because of the issues being discussed on this thread. He would have given notice if he could have done so without being penalised.


Last edited by GirlFromMars on Sun Jul 20, 2003 3:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
hellofaniceguy



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: On your computer screen!

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, if only these hokwons would realize that they wouldn't need to withhold salary if they would only honor the contract! They want to protect themselves from midnight runs? Why do midnight runs? It's usually because the school owner turned out to be a nightmare. Some teachers are also nightmares but it's more of the school owners fault. No one can force you to sign a bad contract. Get what you want or don't sign. If only everyone would not sign bad contracts then these school owners would wise up and change their ways. No teachers..... no students and the school owners would be hurting.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Butterfly



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Location: Kuwait

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Son Deureo! wrote:

Sorry, I wouldn't sign a contract with that provision.


I would and did. It's normal, your employer is investing quite a lot of money in you.

Flight.

Apartment key money (not immediately returnable if you leave, employer will have to pay rent until landlord finds another tenant, usually one month).

Medical insurance.

Registration with immigration department.

Now the hakwon owner does not break even on his investment in you until the six month mark, provided you turn out to be an okay teacher and you fill classrooms.

So before six months, you are a money vacuum, and even then after sucking up all that money there is no guarantee you will be a cash cow after six months, because there are so many flakes and duds in Korea.

Now that it is easier for teachers to break their contracts than they used to, I think it is fair that bosses make some provision to protect their investment.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
some waygug-in



Joined: 25 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Words to live by: Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Don't leave home without it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ask for names and phone numbers or e-mail addresses of teachers who have successfully completed contracts. Talk to them about their experiences. And while you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to ask the school about sitautions in which the penalty close was actually invoked.


This is the best advice you will find, regardless of what the contract says, or doesn't say.

I had to pay a 300,000 won deposit from my first months salary, and this even though I had paid my own airfare.

Don't trust teachers who are still there. For any number of reasons, they can be forced to give a "good report" about the working conditions. The boss can threaten to withold their final salary and severance and airfare if they don't comply.


If a school can't give you the names and email addresses of teachers who have successfully completed their contracts and were paid in full......... Confused
Well, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

Even though it is not in my contract, I was told that I would have to pay back recruiter fees if I left before 3 months.

One teacher left after 2 and a half, for reasons I think were totally justified. If they had treated me that way, I would be gone too! Evil or Very Mad

Money or no, there are other countries to work in. Shocked Korea is not that wonderful a place that I would put up with intimidation, just because I may worry about future employment in Korea. Cool
I have 2 friends in China right now, who are quite happy. They earn far less than I do, but the cost of living is far less also. Their stress levels are also far lower than mine and their quality of life (at least from what they have told me) seems much better than mine.

Just something else to think about.
Cheers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
humanuspneumos



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 6:35 pm    Post subject: Not every contract is the same Reply with quote

There are degrees of requirements/penalties out there:

The least I've seen is 4 weeks notice and no return airfare (that's it- that's all)

Others have pumped it up to

a.) 6-12 weeks notice
b.) paying for recruiting fees
c.) paying for "damages"
d.) paying for your flight to Korea and back home again

all assuming an early departure. Part of the "why" is that Koreans view employment very, very seriously. The idea of trying something to see if you like it isn't in the Korean psyche. It's an offence to suggest/motion anything that looks like the "try it to see if you like it" mentality. Just asking about an early departure clause can seem like (be interpreted that) you barely want the job in the first place. I know- it's not our culture. Yet- there it is. The comfort in it all- I suppose- is:

- free apartment
- saving more than you likely would in any other country on the planet at a language school
- the convenience of airfare given

So- I often say- sign for one year- save as though things can go badly wrong after 6 months- live like it's your last day.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TheUrbanMyth



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: It's not a superiority complex when you really are superior

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Butterfly wrote:
[Now the hakwon owner does not break even on his investment in you until the six month mark, provided you turn out to be an okay teacher and you fill classrooms.

So before six months, you are a money vacuum, .



How do you figure? Let's take my situation first year. I worked in a hakwon where I was the only foreign teacher. We had about 200 students (give or take half-a-dozen). I taught all the classes, some twice a week, others once a week. About 30. I learned that for classes taught by a Korean it was 80,000 won (per class). But for classes taught by a foreigner (me) it was 100,000 won. So an extra 20,000 won a head and at 200 students, the guy would have made about 4 million won his first month. After two months he would have made a clear bit over his original investment. There is no way he was losing money on me for six months, maybe one.

BTW for intensive courses it was more (120,000) for a foreigner-taught class.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Richtofen



Joined: 26 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 7:10 am    Post subject: Here's the contract I was sent Reply with quote

I have selected portions from the contract that I posted about for you to see. I think since the wage was 2.3 it would have been more than airfare, one month's rent. This seems to be a lot of money to pay to "buy out" from this contract if things went wrong. I used to work in Korea and never had to sign something like this.
If "B" wishes to resign from "A" prior to the expiration date, "B" must receive written permission at least 60 days before resignation.

If "B" doesn't keep the above policy, "B" shall not receive severance bonus and shall compensate two-month salary to "A" for the financial damage.
After I recieved the contract I politely apologized and said to them I was sorry but couldn't sign it due to this penalty clause, and was responded to with a rather sarcastic email that said ok, if I planned of quitting and running then I shouldn't be sorry, because they had plenty of teachers wanting to get to their fine school so they wouldn't be put out by my lack of interest.
After that I responded with my unsolicited opinion that never in my years working and teaching have I had to sign anything that gave any employer such control and made me an endentured servant, with a price on leaving as this would effectively do. How ownership of people was an obsolete concept, and that it's not realy Christian to treatworkers that way, at least not since St Patric persueded the English into freeing all their slaves, a long time ago. That I was not an animal and didn't need to be tied up to be kept from runing anywhere. The response was this:
Dear (Richtofen)....
I have experienced difficulties due to some Canadians who left without any notice.
Americans didn't do that, only Canadians did that....
They don't understand the meaning of responsibility.
I advise you to remain your "free" country if you "can" find nice job that permits you to leave whenever you want without telling your boss or manager.
Thank God that I didn't hire you...............
Bye.....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mack the knife



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: standing right behind you...

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't even think twice about signing up with these guys.

30 days notice is plenty. That's more than enough time for them to find a replacement teacher.

The phone/bill deposit is normal, and should be around W300,000. Whatever remains after the school pays your final bills (you will most likely never see these bills) should be refunded.

There is no legal precedent for a "salary penalty". As with any job, your employer is required to reimburse you for every hour worked, regardless of how your relationship with the school terminates. Naturally, if you flee in the middle of the night (no 30 days notice), you can kiss any wages you haven't been paid goodbye (your contract will most likely state something to this effect).

Bottom line: don't sign a contract that makes you think twice or scratch your head.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
waterbaby



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: Baking Gord a Cheescake pie

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just stumbled across some info on the [url=http://www.efl-law.com/quest_cont_1.html]EFL-Law[url] site that relates to this topic... taking a security deposit or asking the teacher to pay a fine upon leaving a school early is in breach of Labor laws.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Korean Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Job-related Discussion Forum All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2013 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International