Are Taiwanese teaching contracts the worst in SE Asia?

Another post regarding stagnant teaching salaries in Taiwan got me thinking about the typical teaching contract here:

No sick pay.
No pay for public holidays.
No paid vacation. Unpaid vacation has to be negotiated with the school manager.
Hourly pay based solely on contact hours with students.
Work visa must be paid for by the employee, and yet the legal framework gives effective ownership to the school manager (they are able to cancel it).
The employee is tied to one teaching establishment.
Work visas are typically one year duration. Employees must undergo a medical every year. Anything wrong and work visa is cancelled.
Upon cancellation of work visa employee has just 10 days to find a new job or they get deported.

I’ve looked at jobs in Japan, South Korea and even some of the less developed nations such as Vietnam and they all offer far better terms than this. A limited amount of paid vacation is almost always offered. Relative salaries also seem to be much better.

It seems to me to be totally unsurprising that teaching salaries are the same now as they were 10-15 years ago. How could any teacher negotiate a pay increase from such a weak bargaining position? Anything you get is simply down to the good-will of the boss. In Taiwan the teacher is essentially self-employed on a paid per hour basis, only with massive restraints of trade thrown in.

Unless you came here for an alternative reason such as to learn Chinese then you’d have to be nuts to come to Taiwan to teach English.

[quote=“tomthorne”]Another post regarding stagnant teaching salaries in Taiwan got me thinking about the typical teaching contract here:

No sick pay.[/quote]

True, but then TW teachers generally don’t get it either.

I’ve always been paid for CNY and the other holidays, typhoon days etc.

Depends. TW staff don’t get paid vacation in the first year either (or is it 6 months, I forget). I’ve had paid vacations at my school.

Varies between schools and contracts.

[quote]Work visa must be paid for by the employee, and yet the legal framework gives effective ownership to the school manager (they are able to cancel it).[/quote] School usually pays for the work visa, teacher pays for the ARC.

No, you can add extra employers to the ARC.

Mine is 3 years - the maximum allowed.

15 days actually, and it’s the same across all industries.

My contract is also completely verbal. Like anywhere, if you do the right thing to your employer, they’ll do the right thing to you. No complaints from me.

cfinages, are you on a monthly salary, or a pay by the hour contract? Monthly salaried jobs are the only ones I have heard of that pay typhoon days (and one week at CNY I think).

TW employees not getting paid vacations in the first 6 months / 1 year or not getting sick pay is irrelevant, really. The fact of the matter is that Taiwan is not competitive with its neighbors regarding foreign teacher contracts. And, that affects the kind and number of teachers who are willing to come to Taiwan these days.

The bottom line is that teachers are going elsewhere for better pay and working conditions, and if Taiwanese schools can’t make employment more attractive to foreign visitors, this trend will continue.

Indiana - I’m on a monthly salary, but with by the hour conditions - ie don’t have to spend hours in the office doing unpaid work. I also get 2 paid days off every 6 weeks or so, except during summer vacation.

That’s unusual!! Good for you. :slight_smile:

It sounds like you’ve landed yourself an exceptional, atypical deal cfimages. The reality for most English teachers is very different. I take issue with a couple of corrections you made to my initial post - but I don’t want to get caught up in too much detail.

You still haven’t answered my question as to whether you think the deal in Taiwan is the worst in SE Asia or not. I am sure that a new teacher can get better pretty much anywhere else, and I would strongly recommend a newbie not to consider Taiwan unless their primary reason for coming here was something other than a teaching career.

Keep in mind that what is offered in South Korean contracts is most definitely not what is received. You’re less likely to be cheated in Taiwan.

I agree that the conditions are terrible.

I can only compare it to Japan but the job conditions really do suck here.

  1. the pay is less. (but I can live with that)
  2. you get a 20% tax whacked on your salary that you only get back if you stay longer than 6 months AN if you start before the ‘6 month mark’ in a year, otherwise you just lose it.
  3. NO PAID HOLIDAY (this is a joke) Even if TW don’t get them, who cares? We are not taiwanese! Taiwanese don’t need ARC’s or 20% tax, give us some days off!
  4. Change jobs = changing you VISA = leaving the country!

the worst part about this all is that I’m quite qualified and have experience but it still doesn’t change, even for me. I feel sorry for those of you who have elected to live here for the rest of your life.

Let me tell you about my last job in Japan.

  1. 20 days paid vacation a year, if you don’t use it, it is added on to the next year.
  2. 300,000 yen a month (not a lot but it was TAX FREE! something taiwan should consider)
  3. summer and winter vacations were off, I didn’t have to work for 6 weeks of the year.
  4. VISA and insurance all sorted out for me prior to arriving.
  5. If I quit, I could keep my VISA
  6. I have a subsidised apartment.
  7. Flight to and from Japan paid for.

I didn’t even have my MA at that point! Jobs in Taiwan make me feel a little queasy. Even if I do manage to get a job working at NTU (my goal) I will not get any substantial benefit because all uni teaching jobs pay exactly the same rate (nice move taiwan gov.)

Taiwan needs to get it’s act together or it will lose good people. The worst part is, every Taiwanese I meet is under the impression that Taiwan is some kind of heaven for foreign teachers. Great pay and easy work. I have no idea why they think this.

I taught at universities in Taiwan for several years and I completely agree with yamato and Indiana.

There are a few good things about teaching at universities in Taiwan: very few duties other than teaching hours and getting the summer off with pay.

However, I know there are some universities that do require extra work, and some where teachers are expected to be on campus 8 hours a day. University jobs in other places, such as Japan and Hong Kong, have a lot better pay and more perks.

Taiwan gets exactly the kind of teachers its prepared to pay for, IMO. Just try telling parents that little Ah Huang would do SO much better if only they were prepared to pay double. Good luck with that!

Is Taiwan in South-East Asia now? If it has moved, then why hasn’t the food improved?

Sorry, carry on.

[quote=“tomthorne”]Another post regarding stagnant teaching salaries in Taiwan got me thinking about the typical teaching contract here:

No sick pay.
No pay for public holidays.
No paid vacation. Unpaid vacation has to be negotiated with the school manager.
Hourly pay based solely on contact hours with students.
Work visa must be paid for by the employee, and yet the legal framework gives effective ownership to the school manager (they are able to cancel it).
The employee is tied to one teaching establishment.
Work visas are typically one year duration. Employees must undergo a medical every year. Anything wrong and work visa is cancelled.
Upon cancellation of work visa employee has just 10 days to find a new job or they get deported.

I’ve looked at jobs in Japan, South Korea and even some of the less developed nations such as Vietnam and they all offer far better terms than this. A limited amount of paid vacation is almost always offered. Relative salaries also seem to be much better.

It seems to me to be totally unsurprising that teaching salaries are the same now as they were 10-15 years ago. How could any teacher negotiate a pay increase from such a weak bargaining position? Anything you get is simply down to the good-will of the boss. In Taiwan the teacher is essentially self-employed on a paid per hour basis, only with massive restraints of trade thrown in.

Unless you came here for an alternative reason such as to learn Chinese then you’d have to be nuts to come to Taiwan to teach English.[/quote]

It’s all Chen Shui-bian’s fault. :sunglasses:

It depends on what superlative is being discussed.

I translated an article claiming Taiwan has the highest mountain in Southeast Asia (but what about Mt. Kinabalu, says the fact-checker?), and later claimed it has the biggest something-or-other in Northeast Asia (which also turned out to be a dubious claim).

Which education level is the framework for this discussion? I think there would be a great deal of variation amongst every level from kindie to univershitty.
I know from my own experiences that there was much more room for negotiation a number of years ago when the economy was better, demand for teachers was high, and supply was low. Now it’s the exact opposite: shite economy, low-to-moderate demand, and high supply.

Taiwan gets exactly the kind of teachers its prepared to pay for, IMO. Just try telling parents that little Ah Huang would do SO much better if only they were prepared to pay double. Good luck with that![/quote]

good point, but if I didn’t have commitments here I would be on the next plane out. They need to think of incentives for qualified teachers to stay. At the moment it’s either ‘no experience needed’ or ‘PHD please.’

I don’t think paying more would get a lot of good teachers but it might just make it so that enough good teachers come to replace the really awful ones.

[quote=“Taffy”]Is Taiwan in South-East Asia now? If it has moved, then why hasn’t the food improved?

Sorry, carry on.[/quote]

That’s what it looked like to me when I looked at a map. Clearly I’m wrong. What’s the official term? East Asia? Asia-Pacific? South Asia? Pacific Rim?

Just out of interest, where’s Wales?

Depends on what your definition of “good” is. I got the impression that the Taiwanese were quite happy with the quality of teachers they were getting despite whatever I thought about the situation. And like Sandman said, by “happy” I mean “willing to pay for”.

Sandman is right. Economics doesn’t lie and the wages are set by the market rate. If it were too low, everybody would move away and prices would rise as schools needed to compete to get teachers. My personal view on why wages have stagnated for the last 10 years or so is that the economy has become much more global. Travel has increased worldwide and moving to Taiwan isn’t considered ‘extreme’ anymore.

Why? They have the qualified teachers they need. And if they don’t, well, they’ll get 'em. They don’t “need” to do anything. You happen to believe an MA, an education qualification and teaching experience are worthy things for a teacher here to have. THEY happen to believe a 22-year-old Canadian fresh out of school with a BA in, say, geography, is quite highly qualified enough.
(Taiwan’s generally considered to be in Northeast Asia, by the way).