My school has decided to start fighting with me because they didn’t deduct my salary in August when I was quarantining upon my return to Taiwan.
It’s February but they want to start this fight with me on a Sunday afternoon in February about something that happened in August anyway.
The reality is that I was doing plenty of prep work while I was locked away, but that’s not their point. They agreed to pay me while I was back in the States for in person grad school classes. Now they are getting on my case by asking annoying half-questions about whether or not quarantine is part of my grad school time I took off. They did explicitly say in my contract that they would pay me in full for the time I was attending my grad school classes, but quarantine was not mentioned in either direction. Does anyone know what the law is about quarantine? Is there one? They didn’t pay for my shit hotel, but they did pay me during the two weeks I was there.
Unlike my previous “burn the whole thing down” post from Friday, getting paid or not for two weeks is hardly something I find worth fighting them on. I do, however, want to know if there’s something on the books that I can point to about this.
(For context, they owe me a good 900k or so in overtime they didn’t pay me already and they have more or less figured out that I’m going to fight them on that, so they seem to be grasping at straws here/trying to show me how much they “take care” of me)
This is another one to ask the labor department and/or a lawyer. Both sides could conceivably claim force majeure. I haven’t been watching how it’s been going, so I don’t know how the authorities would treat it.
However, if you have evidence that you were still working while in quarantine and that it was at your employer’s request, that definitely helps.
Thanks for reminding me of your lawyer’s existence My school has dropped their nonsense. I don’t think it even took 24 hours before they are now pretending they never brought it up. I only needed to remind them that I was collaborating with others via google drive during quarantine for them to pretty instantly shut up. (The first and only time in my life I want to say thanks to google for tracking my every move)
(This doesn’t help if anyone else was wondering what the answer is from the legal end of things. I have more important things to worry about)
We’re a school that has 37 contact hours a week. There’s no cleaning staff and the parents are very needy. Cleaning the classroom and answering parents alone is 10 hours/week, assuming I put off talking to at least 80% of the parents. I have various Line chat screen shots of me pointing out how much time they are expecting us to do things “on our own time and on the weekends”(my words), giving minimum number of hours, etc. With each one they fail epically to dodge around the question/make a case that they’re not demanding unpaid overtime from us. I can only produce documentation for about 400k that I am owed without a doubt, but I would expect the labor bureau will accept that one does not prep for 37 hours worth of classes in 3 hours, especially since there’s already the screen shots of “scrubbing the floor with bleach is going to take us at least 45 minutes. Expecting us to that daily with everything else is asking too much”, etc that in and of themselves put us over the 40 hr week mark.
They specifically have a list of things that we need to do daily, along with a clause in our contract that says “all of these are an expected part of being a teacher and no further compensation will be provided”. I had some people tell me the admin would just say “find time to do it during working hours”, but children not being picked up on time and us needing to supervise them isn’t something that we can do during working hours. Our working hours themselves are 8.5 hrs/day, per the contract. Others at my school insist that I signed the contract, which means I agreed to it, but I’m pretty sure the LSA also overrides anything illegal in a contract. Their inability to answer the questions I asked with regards to their methods (all through text so documentation would be easier) goes to show how deep of they know they are in.
The other thing (which you probably know already) is that the LSA sets limits for how much overtime you’re legally allowed to do, e.g., how many hours per day and per week, IIRC.
The main reason I’m mentioning that is that I believe the fines for breaking those limits aren’t small (according to the arbitration lady when I helped someone else deal with a similar problem with her employer, each day of more than x hours and each employee counts as a separate violation, so it adds up)…which gives the employer a financial incentive to settle the issue with you so you don’t file a formal complaint and they end up getting fined (this is what my friend’s employer elected to do as well).
Yeah I was actually quite curious to know what the financial penalty is to the business for requiring too much overtime and/not paying overtime at all. When I called the labor bureau they told me filing a complaint would be like getting a ticket for running a red light (they’d get fined and there’d be a record, but I wouldn’t get any money.) That was something I would need to do separately. So I’m doing the “demand my money” option. What I want to know is how much that actual penalty is. There’s a few hundred people and the kindy has been around for 40 years. That’s a lot of fines the school will be paying…
I guess you’ll eventually end up going through arbitration as well, or you just plan to try and deal with them directly?
I don’t remember the exact penalties (I assume the labor bureau is open about that for specific offences though and can just tell you?). If I had to guess, and it might well be a shitty guess because it was 3-4 years ago now, the fine was maybe in the 1-2k range per violation, multiplied by the year she’d been there, multiplied by ca. 10 employees (I don’t know if they actually enforce that for people not complaining (?), and there’s presumably a statute of limitations)…plus presumably having to pay the unpaid overtime to the employee. Could be unpleasant enough to swing the balance in your favour though.
Like, for each day of the week that they didn’t pay overtime??!! So 5-10k/week for one person?
I understand there’s the statute of limitations as well. Sadly, no one else wants to make the complaint with me. I figure that means arbitration and me getting my money should be priority #1. I won’t have a job after doing this and the only thing stopping everyone else is that they “don’t think it will work”. Before, I wanted to make sure I left having done something to fix the problems, but now I just want all my coworkers to suffer, since they’re not risking anything/hope I’ll fix it all for them.
It was in that range according to my recollection yes, but again please don’t quote me on it. And I might need to clarify here - IIRC, the fine was for each occurrence of working more than the legal maximum number of hours (she was working maybe 11-12 hrs each day), rather than not paying overtime per se. Those two things are obviously somewhat related, though.
I don’t remember the total, but the arbitration lady was kind enough to calculate it and tell the employer what the fine could end up being if my friend pursued it, and they were quite keen to settle for a lower amount after that.
The LSA only overrides anything that falls below LSA minimum standards, but Civil Code Art. 71 overrides anything that’s outright illegal, and CC Art. 247-1 overrides unreasonable things in general (subject to certain conditions).
Refusal to pay wages, as a general rule, is overriden by LSA Art. 22 Par. 2.
Just to make sure I understand, as you’re the Forumosa resident legal expert, even if I agreed through the contract to do whatever work they assigned to me, they still owe me wages for the expected overtime, even though the contract says no further compensation will be provided?
I’m not sure. I may well have used the wrong word - I mean the thing where both parties are sitting in a room with someone from the labor bureau (or whatever related organization it is that deals with this - it was a place very close to CKS MRT station), who tries to help resolve the situation to the satisfaction of both parties. It might be mediation. I don’t know what they call it in Taiwan.