I need to unexpectedly leave the country

Here is my situation.

I came to Taiwan with the intention of finishing out my contract and teaching for the full year. Due to a number of reasons out of my control, I need to unexpectedly leave the country a few months earlier than my contract deadline. In the interest of not outing myself, I am a foreign teacher at a large chain school.

The school I work at charges a $15000 NTD fine for not fulfilling the obligations of the contract, presumably including leaving early.

As of recently, however, I was told that I needed to take over a kindergarten class from another foreign teacher. Seeing that this is illegal in Taiwan, I am not comfortable in engaging in illegal activities here. This is particularly true since I have family here and will be returning to visit many times in the future. Since I have Taiwanese family members in the country, I have access to any resources here a Taiwanese national would have without worrying about language or cultural issues.

Is there any leverage I can gain or any way I can get out of this fine? It is a large sum of money and I need the savings for when I return home. Does anyone have experience with this?

If they are asking you to teach an illegal Kindergarten class, you can use Article 14 of the Labor Standards Act and quit without notice.

1 Like

Years ago I was in a similarish situation. When the school told me it was going to withhold 25,000 from my final paycheck I sent them an email saying that there must be a misunderstanding because I’d been told they weren’t allowed to do that. I then added that if I wasn’t paid the full amount owed I’d be forced to make a complaint. I further said that I wasn’t sure who to complain to, so I’d have to go to to the Council of Labour Affairs and the Foreign Affairs Police.

They paid out the next day.


It’s the Council of Labor Affairs if you have to do it. I’ve heard many stories of them getting teachers their full salaries paid. After that, the burden is on the school to collect. They can do that and it can get you into a civil trial, but that rarely happens as the cost is greater than the sum collected.

The CLA is now the Ministry of Labor. The local equivalent is usually called the Department of Labor.

Well if you get paid on say the 7th, quit on the 8th.


Most schools I’ve worked at pay in the middle of the month. Depending on the hours per week, he may be losing more than by paying the fine. Also, if he isn’t a national, he might have trouble getting a work permit again if he’s reported for abandoning his job.

Use a legal deposit letter (at the post office) to serve the notice of termination. They probably won’t contest it.

15k ntd? Just quit and forget about them. If you can afford a plane ticket you can afford 15k as well

1 Like