Breaking Contracts/Runners

Hi there … I am leaving Taiwan soon … I am going to travel for a few months, but eventaully when my trip is finished I need to fly out of Taiwan. The problem is I am currently employed at a school in Taipei city and I do not think they would be too understanding if I told them I was leaving (ie., they probably would not pay me for my last months work); so I have decided that I may have to break my contract and just leave. My question is this: when I return to Taiwan in September for one day to catch my plane home, will there be any problems? For example, will the airport know I broke my contract, is there an issue with not being allowed back in Taiwan after an ARC has been cancelled? I know these are probably stupid questions, but it would help a lot if someone out there could give me a solid answer. Thanks a lot!

My advice is to tell them you wish to leave, and work out your notice. I believe that you should apply the same work ethic here as you do in your country of birth. This is a real place, where real people live. You can’t just fark off at your own convenience. That kind of behaviour means that the rest of us are left with egg on our faces as another foreigner adds weight to the argument that we are unreliable employees.

What you are planning to do is very naughty. Spare a thought for those you leave behind, and the trouble you are going to cause. They will need to replace you at once, so the others around you will obviously take up the slack. Think before you run. Or, post a picture of yourself on this site, then anyone who spots you on your travels can shout “Contract Breaker” on spotting you.

One day you will rue your actions. Fairly warned, be thee.

If your school suddenly and without notice fired you you would be entitled to one month’s salary (in lieu of adequate notice). If you are going to break your contract, you should not do so suddenly and you should give your employer adequate notice, for all the reasons TomHill identified above.

Do the right thing!

Here, here!

But no, you won’t have problems at the airport. You can get a 30 day landiing visa prior to going thru immigration. Your employer will most likely cancel your work permit, which negates your multiple entry visa which negates your arc. By the time you finish your travelling, you’ll just be another visitor.

I believe you can also cancel your own arc up to 7 days b4 your departure.

But do give notice. It is the right thing to do.

I agree with Tigerman and TomHill. On balance, I’d say tell them and try to work out your notice.

But I have to agree with you that it’s not always an easy decision. Remember jessiah is afraid that he or she will not easily get their final month’s salary. And with many employers in Taiwan that’s a reasonable fear. Bosses in Taiwan do often seem to take staff members leaving as a personal betrayal and get very sticky once notice is given.

For example, my contract asks me to give three months’ notice. But although I know of former colleagues who have given the three months’ notice asked, I also know of no one who wasn’t pushed out in less than a month of indicating an intention to leave.

Legally, they have recourse for the missing two months salary but practically it isn’t always so easy. When people do decide to do runners, there are sometimes reasons for it.

So, please take the urgings here seriously. Then make your decision based on the information you have available. If decide to do a runner please think about leaving a letter explaining why you felt you had to do so.

And, in answer to your question: NO, you won’t have any problem getting back in just because you broke the contract. You just come in as a visitor, on visa-free entry if your country’s citizens are entitled to that.

If you stay within the cotract then there is little reason to believe that they will withhold your last months salary.

When I had to make a choice (in Taiwan) over wether I should shaft my old boss cos something better was on the horizon I made the decision to do the right thing by my old boss. Result? My old boss thinks Im really great for doing that, and the new boss saw that I was a stand up guy! Pats on the back for me.

Do the right thing! It will come back to you one day.

I think you guys are missing something in the op. Jessiah mentioned he (she?) fears he will not be paid if he leaves, but did not mention anything about breaking the contract by doing so. maybe jessiah could clarify that. anyway for argument’s sake, if he has a legitimate fear that he is going to follow the contract yet not be paid, why shouldn’t he strike the first blow? business is war in taiwan after all.

I thank all of you who replied to me, and I will take what you said into consideration …however, to those of you (Tom Hill) who are judging me because of what I am doing, I beg that you come to understand my situation and my employer before you start calling me names on the street. I have a horrible job that I have stayed at for more than 10 months. I would love to “do the right thing” as you put it, but unfortunately, one of my colleagues had to suddenly go home last month because of an emergency in the family (where someone died) and they refused to pay him his last months salary - and if you are wondering he was a wonderful teacher. So I am terribly sorry that I am feeling slightly nervous about “doing the right thing”. I also apologize that I wrote my question on this site not to receive a lecture but to receive help - thanks but no thanks.


Please don’t take the advice given here in a too personal way. You asked for advice and some have offered the same.

It may seem a cold and impersonal boss you have… but, in the example you cited, the previous teacher left suddenly… and apparently did not return to finish his contract. In that situation, why should the employee NOT have forfeited his last month’s salary?

I appreciate that there are difficulties involved in living and working here in Taiwan. But, I still do not see why you should feel that it is OK to skip out of your contract without adequate notice.

I hope things work out for you, whatever you decide to do.


I am indeed sorry that you work for someone you consider to be horrible. Perhaps you should have changed jobs. I guess I am judging you, but I urge you to consider your intended actions, not just for yourself, but for the other teachers around you. Anyone who breaks any contract for whatever reason can expect to be punished. In England there are many international professional footballers who ply their trade under contract. Can you imagine the fuss that would be caused if one of them ran away to go travelling? Of course your work isn’t as high profile, but the moral issue is the same. You signed a piece of paper that said what your employer could expect from you. Now you intend to break that contract. My advice is don’t do it. If your employer isn’t holding up their end of the bargain then you can do something about that. But don’t run away. Your colleague could have taken “compassionate leave” and return to their duties when they were ready. Did they need to quit? When my father was taken into hospital with an irregular heartbeat and was ‘at death’s door’ I enquired about compassionate leave. I didn’t drop my current responsibilities.

I guess I want you to remember that this isn’t Mickey Mouse Town, and you can’t just do what you please, even if your employer is a total filth bag!

I’m not quite sure what kind of help you were looking for? You could wear dark glasses and grow a beard on your travels! Good luck to you whatever happens. :sunglasses:

Let’s not get this out of proportion. The guy wants to leave early. That is his absolute right. A contract of employment is not bonded labour.

The question revolves around whether he should give the notice that he agreed to give when he signed up. I say he should, but I understand why he might feel nervous about doing so because many Taiwanese bosses are extremely untrustworthy. Contracts will be twisted or ignored by employers when it suits them. Employers are often less than scrupulous. It even happened to me at a large law firm here (one with close ties to the DPP (no names, but it’s pretty well known!)). I was refused a tiny, two-week bonus that was in my contract, among other things and let go two weeks early because of visa application mistakes the firm made. In all I lost a month of the measley salary they paid me for that year!

The example of the guy who had to go home in an emergency and so took a hit isn’t entirely relevant. And we don’t know of all the circumstances. For the sake of argument though, if I went home in an emergency (with the intention of returning) and my boss stopped salary he owed me then I might think twice about buying a plane ticket back here to work for the same boss. Trust works both ways.

Here is a guy who wants to leave his job and has an absolute legal right to do so. The only question is whether he should give the notice he originally agreed to give.

If the boss is the kind of guy you say he is… and if you decide to do a runner and leave without notice… then all I am saying is let him know why by letter and maybe he will think twice about the way he treats his staff in future!

i’m not gonna judge you as a person, but what i get from your situation is …

you are thinking that you may break your contract, and your boss may therefore not pay you your last month’s wages. i would consider this a penalty for not completing the contract.

also, while i sympathize with your friend’s situation, do you know how many foreigners use that sort of excuse in the hopes that they can quit a job and start up somewhere else (or just get outta here) with no penalty? i am not saying that your friend did this, but i’ve been forced to take on others work more than once for this type of runner. foreigners don’t typically have anything like compassionate leave in their contracts, so while it may seem harsh, the employer is within his rights to hold a month’s pay for a broken contract. taiwanese only get a week off with pay in the same circumstances, as far as i know, though they may be able to take more time depending on the circumstances. there is also the greater likelihood of them returning to the job once the grieving subsides.

if you have a bonus included in your contract for completing a year, that will also be forfeited.

anyways, best of luck.

my god … I asked for help about returning to Taiwan for a flight. I did not ask for all of your personal opinions about what I am going to do. I wish I had left out the part about my job and just asked about returning to Taiwan when an ARC has been cancelled, because that was my original and only question. And for your information, I have not seen nor signed a contract. I think I am free to leave when I choose as my boss has not had the decency to present a contract to me for over 10 months. Please do not respond to this post anymore.

my god! how stupid of us to have assumed you had a contract when you were the one to say you had one! what a bunch of morons!

…and again here.

So the advice you are looking for is this: Yes, you can just leave and there will be no repercussions for you. Except for the mess you leave behind for others to clear up. (Blinkers on the for the last sentence please OP.)

Ah! So that’s why you titled the thread ‘Breaking Contracts/Runners’?

And I hate to tell you but you signed a written contract, because otherwise you wouldn’t have a work permit and therefore an ARC!

This is what happens when you post in a public forum. Why not give us a break, huh?


I am sorry … I didn’t think I would have to explain everything about my job and life here to receive an answer about a flight. I meant verbal contract, because I assume my employer expected me to stay for the year.

jessiah, if U R working here as an english teacher, I can safely assume U R from one of the countries whose citizens can enter TW visa free for 30 days, so you don’t have to worry about coming back here. Worse case situation it might only be 7 days. so ya if U R here for only 1 day or 2-3 days it shouldn’t be a problem unless u smuggling prohibited goods or have a disease.

The contract breaking is a civil matter and won’t affect you whatosever in entering the country unless the bushiban owner is waiting at da airport wid a shotgun for you LOLz.

If I were the employer, I would give the guy/girl the money just to get rid of him/her. It is really beginning to seem that a lot of the problems this person has probably had in Taiwan, were probably created largely by him or herself.

It seems that you didn’t come here to ask a question, but instead in the search for some justification for your intended unjustified actions. The fact that this justification hasn’t been forthcoming should be cause for you to reconsider your decision, not get on the defensive.

As to the question of whether or not the OP has a contract. You must have a written contract if you indeed have an ARC with that school, as this is one of the basic requirements for an ARC application!

[quote=“brian”]If I were the employer, I would give the guy/girl the money just to get rid of him/her. It is really beginning to seem that a lot of the problems this person has probably had in Taiwan, were probably created largely by him or herself.

It seems that you didn’t come here to ask a question, but instead in the search for some justification for your intended unjustified actions. The fact that this justification hasn’t been forthcoming should be cause for you to reconsider your decision, not get on the defensive.

As to the question of whether or not the OP has a contract. You must have a written contract if you indeed have an ARC with that school, as this is one of the basic requirements for an ARC application![/quote]

That’s quite a bit of armchair psychology there Bri. Are you sure you can reach your notepad Dr. I know its quite a stretch. :wink:

I think that’s alot to infer. I can take him at face value. He did come here asking about re-entry and we all laid into him with a new vacation plan: A trip to Guilt. He is now getting uppity and defensive. I understand. And I can commiserate. It happens here all the time. Wolves smell blood and go in for the kill.

We all know there are some laobans terrible here. Ones that will not even lose 1 of their 40 winks to not pay a deserter. Why would they? So it comes down to us and them again. Do I pull the midnight move after emptying the ATM on payday or be honourable and take a chance that even Vegas would lay-off?

OP, you’ve got your answer. Don’t bait us anymore or we’ll give you a good thrashing. :wink:

Skulk off to Thailand and try not to worry about those people who have to pick up your slack. They can use the extra hours after all.