Contract Woes - Lateness Penalties

Greetings

I would appreciate any help anyone could offer - even just a push in the right direction. My concern is with ridiculous clauses in our contracts that my school (private elementary) keeps introducing, year after year. They concern lateness and eating food at your desk among other things.

I have been in Taiwan for over ten years, so I have seen a lot of crazy things, but things are getting weirder by the year. last year my school (i’ve been working there 7 years)introduced a clause in our contracts that any teacher eating at his/her desk would be fined 10 000NT. They also threw in a clause that said if a teacher is late more than 4 times in a month - even in the instances where those lates are just by one minute - he or she would be fined 2 500 NT on top of the 2000 NT bonus they lose and the 17 NT a minute they make. Is this legal?

They also told us we all need to submit to a drug test (testing for ketamine, THC, and Amphetamines) if we want to resign. The problem is: this is just for foreign teachers…and WE have to PAY for this test -(its not your standard ARC test). Now I did the test but why am I paying for it??

Yesterday we were told that the government decreed that all teachers have to buy a gift for students for International Children’s Day.

I have a lot of questions about our rights and where we can go to make formal grievances. I read here that we do not fall under the jurisdiction of Labor Affairs but the DOE - Is this correct? Should I contact the labor bureau - education department for my bureau.

Who can I complain to? Will anyone listen? Does anybody care? Phone numbers or email addresses would be greatly appreciated.

If they are fining you for eating food at your desk during lunch time, then it sounds ridiculous… If it is during class time, then it is extremely high…

You can’t even leave without getting a drug test? :wink:

It sounds to me like you’ve got a new “manager” somewhere, possibly some 25-year-old who’s just come back from the USA with an MBA and thinks he knows everything. Whether these things are legal or not is not the point. The law counts for little in Taiwanese society. What matters is that they’re not good for staff morale.

The Taiwanese way is to first talk to your line manager, who will then pretend to talk to his manager, and then report sorrowfully back to you that nothing can be done. The better way might be to find out which retard is making these rules, and have a quiet word (make sure not to let your line manager know you went over his head, because this will cause him to LOSE FACE). Try to find out why these rules have been put in place and discuss if there might be a better way. If the manager talks down to you, or won’t talk to you at all, you’re probably best off leaving rather than getting embroiled in questions about what’s “legal”. Businesses that go down this road fail pretty fast anyway (I’m assuming ‘private’ means it’s operated as a company, rather than being connected to the state school system?).

Easy. Buy the little buggers a post-it note with “happy children’s day” written on it. I think this is one of those “culture” thingies though. Nothing wrong with buying a little something for the students. As I understand it, there are other occasions where they’re expected to reciprocate.

[quote=“teacherman”]Greetings

I would appreciate any help anyone could offer - even just a push in the right direction. My concern is with ridiculous clauses in our contracts that my school (private elementary) keeps introducing, year after year. They concern lateness and eating food at your desk among other things.

I have been in Taiwan for over ten years, so I have seen a lot of crazy things, but things are getting weirder by the year. last year my school (I’ve been working there 7 years)introduced a clause in our contracts that any teacher eating at his/her desk would be fined 10 000NT. They also threw in a clause that said if a teacher is late more than 4 times in a month - even in the instances where those lates are just by one minute - he or she would be fined 2 500 NT on top of the 2000 NT bonus they lose and the 17 NT a minute they make. Is this legal?

They also told us we all need to submit to a drug test (testing for ketamine, THC, and Amphetamines) if we want to resign. The problem is: this is just for foreign teachers…and WE have to PAY for this test -(its not your standard ARC test). Now I did the test but why am I paying for it??

Yesterday we were told that the government decreed that all teachers have to buy a gift for students for International Children’s Day.

I have a lot of questions about our rights and where we can go to make formal grievances. I read here that we do not fall under the jurisdiction of Labor Affairs but the DOE - Is this correct? Should I contact the labor bureau - education department for my bureau.

Who can I complain to? Will anyone listen? Does anybody care? Phone numbers or email addresses would be greatly appreciated.[/quote]

You need to talk to the labour bureau, many of these requests are illegal. There is a facebook page regarding discrimination against ABCs working in the ESL industry here, they’ve had some success, you might check that out too.

[quote=“headhonchoII”][quote=“teacherman”]Greetings

I would appreciate any help anyone could offer - even just a push in the right direction. My concern is with ridiculous clauses in our contracts that my school (private elementary) keeps introducing, year after year. They concern lateness and eating food at your desk among other things.

I have been in Taiwan for over ten years, so I have seen a lot of crazy things, but things are getting weirder by the year. last year my school (I’ve been working there 7 years)introduced a clause in our contracts that any teacher eating at his/her desk would be fined 10 000NT. They also threw in a clause that said if a teacher is late more than 4 times in a month - even in the instances where those lates are just by one minute - he or she would be fined 2 500 NT on top of the 2000 NT bonus they lose and the 17 NT a minute they make. Is this legal?

They also told us we all need to submit to a drug test (testing for ketamine, THC, and Amphetamines) if we want to resign. The problem is: this is just for foreign teachers…and WE have to PAY for this test -(its not your standard ARC test). Now I did the test but why am I paying for it??

Yesterday we were told that the government decreed that all teachers have to buy a gift for students for International Children’s Day.

I have a lot of questions about our rights and where we can go to make formal grievances. I read here that we do not fall under the jurisdiction of Labor Affairs but the DOE - Is this correct? Should I contact the labor bureau - education department for my bureau.

Who can I complain to? Will anyone listen? Does anybody care? Phone numbers or email addresses would be greatly appreciated.[/quote]

You need to talk to the labour bureau, many of these requests are illegal. There is a facebook page regarding discrimination against ABCs working in the ESL industry here, they’ve had some success, you might check that out too.[/quote]

The group mentioned above is called TADIT, Teachers Against Discrimination in Taiwan. You can find them on fb…

Thanks all for the replies,

WaltzingMatilda - No, we’re talking about office hours - at a desk in an office - For now they’re just sabre rattling when it comes to people eating breakfast sandwiches at 8 o’clock (punch-in time).It’s not a ridiculous demand - it’s the 10 000NT fine I have issue with.

Finley - I dropped the hyphen - it makes a big difference

headhoncho II thanks for the nudge - i’ve sent them a friend request

teggs and Head - I will go down to see someone at the labor bureau, thanks. Funny story if you wanna read it. Wonder if anyone’s had a similar experience.

Last year the labor bureau came to our school to “check in” with the foreign teachers - it was part of an initiative they said to ensure that foreign workers were aware of their rights - and to answer any questions we might have. They called us out one by one into a classroom. There were two of them. And two supervisors. The session went something like this:

Labor Bureau People: Hi we’re here to ask you if everything is ok at your workplace and if you have any complaints or questions.

Me (looking at labor bureau people and MY BOSSES): [looking back and forth betwen LB people and supevisors with an expression that silently screamed - seriously??] No. No complaints. How could anyone complain about a job like this?

MY Bosses: [laughter]

Labor Bureau People. Good. Can you sign here?

Me: Uhm it’s all written in Chinese. What does it say?

Labor Bureau People: It says we’ve been here and you have no issues.

After I signed, I asked for a business card in case something came up. They gave me one. I called the next day; left my name and number. Two weeks later someone called fom the bureau. I had just woken up so I was a little confused. They identified themslves and said they had a few questions for me. When I realized who they were, I started to tell them why I had called in the first place -it was about pensions and clauses in my contract. They cut me off. I was told they couldn’t answer any of my questions until I answered theirs; namely Did i work illegally by having my picture used in an advertising campaign by some museum in Taipei??? I was told that if that were the case, it would be in violation of my ARC, and I could be deported!

What? No. What???

What ensued went on for months. Borderline harassment. I called the Canadian consulate. In the end I was told it was a mix-up. The peson they were looking for had the same first name as me (spelled differently). Sorry for the inconvenience.

They never did answer my question about pensions.

So don’t eat in class time. That seems fair. Also ask any student who is doing so to leave the class.

Drug tests is also OK. If you are leaving anyway, tell them to go F. themselves and take a walk,
So many new managers feel that they need to do anything. Just anything! Thus you end up with crap rules that make no sense. Start kicking students out of class for eating and defend your position with the new rule. On the other hand, keep doing what you always do and walk with the fine, A finger gesture at this point would be appropriate
Always remember, please never forget; that they need you more than you need them.

Those days are long gone… :laughing: