If I quit Hess, are they allowed to withold my pay?

Hi, i’ve been in Taiwan for almost 2 months now and haven’t been able to find an English teaching job as a native speaker. Almost everyday I sit in refreshing the same pages hoping something new will pop up. I’ve had a few interviews but the schools seem just awful.

I’m thinking of joining Hess as they have offered me $680 per hour for a minimum of 20 hours, but after hearing so many horror stories i’m also reluctant, but desperate times call for desperate measures. After agreeing to commit for one year, if the school is as bad as most reviews of Hess i’m wondering how difficult it would be to quit and if they are allowed to withhold my last pay? (If I give them warning when I quit)

FYI, I don’t intend to quit but I like to have the option of knowing I can be freed if I need to.

I was also told they might be able to make it not possible for me to get another job straight away and I would need to wait for the full year contract to end too. Is this correct?

Thanks, Bri

It’s illegal to hold back owed pay. Just make sure you give at least 2 weeks notice, since it is considered part time job. I think the breaking contract fee is more of a threat to make people complete yearly contracts. I really hope others can comment on that too.

I don’t know about HESS specifically, but usually buxibans and schools ask you for a 60 to 90 day grace period if you want to break a contract early, so they have enough time to find a replacement. I think if you honor that contractual request, most places won’t try to make trouble for you after you leave.

As an aside, HESS is a huge chain and its schools likely vary greatly in quality. I’d go in with an open mind and at least give it a chance before you start gaming out an exit strategy.

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20 teaching hours would be a full-time contract and no way would any school be okay with a two week notice. They usually require 90 days notice.

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They say 20 minimum, but is that true in the first month or quickly after? Lots of friends have said, no. Companies post these lies. Some come through, but most lie to sell the guarantee. They don’t say, “we will pay you at least 20x4x680=54,400”. Rather they say they offer enough hours.

If the hours are listed in the contract they can’t break the rules of said contract. Plus work visas are dependent on a certain number of hours being given to the employee. I think it’s above 14, which is the dividing line between part-time employee and full time when it comes to teaching. Because at that point you’re being sponsored by your employer.

Have you pounded pavement at all in your search?


Is that advisable? I don’t think I’d work for a place that wasn’t organized enough to post an add online when they need a teacher. I’d also be afraid to get an offer from a place that ends up not being able to get a work permit for me.

Many a job has been found this way!

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I cold called to get my university job.


They can’t withhold any pay. It may be in the contract you sign, in which case they could theoretically sue you for breach of contract. However, the Council of Labour Affairs (has this changed?) will force them to pay you.

HESS aren’t a bad organisation for a first gig. Even if you end up in a bad branch they’re not going to physically harm you. The industry you’ve chosen to work in isn’t the best, but sucking it up for the first year isn’t that much of an ask. Then, you move on to better things.


I had read a few posts about doing this, but I haven’t actually give it a try. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Maybe somewhere like Da’an in Taipei where there are lots of schools. I would assume if a teacher was wanted they would advertise online rather than go short on staff.

Could be they haven’t gotten around to it yet, which means you’d have a leg up on any later candidates. Furthermore, “pounding the pavement” shows initiative and drive. Two qualities employers appreciate.


If that were true in your present case, you’d be working at the awful school with a sense of relief.

There are worse places than Hess. :smoker:


Actually in these times that’s a pretty decent gig. @BiggusDickus is right you’re not going to end up on the receiving end of physical threats etc working for a big chain like that.
I also think schools are correct to ask for a couple of months notice if a teacher quits (other than emergency situations, deaths in family or such like). They need time to find a new qualified teacher , to just quit is unfair on the parents, the kids and the school. Both sides should stand by their contractual obligations or don’t sign the contract. The exception to that is unless the details in the contract itself are illegal. Most schools don’t want teachers who hate teaching there to remain but teachers have to be reasonable and most large chain schools will be reasonable back. Those small schools can be more dodgy though , cash flow problems etc


Agree totally. HESS is a decent place to start. Some people get lucky and are placed at a really good branch right off the bat. Those people get comfortable and stick around with the company for years.

On the other hand, those who don’t have a great experience can at least log that first full year of teaching work at a tolerable place and prove they have the chops to stick out a contract, which is really important for getting your next, hopefully better gig.


HESS is also a recognised name on your CV. Future employers, in TEFL at least, will know it.

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Thanks for the reply. I was actually very curious about things such as emergency situations. Do you know what the agreement is with that? (I had a close friend who’s brother died just a few days ago) now this is in my nightmares ever since and if (god forbid) anything happened what would happen in this situation?

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Is this really the bar these days? I am out of the loop I guess.

Yes this is the main reason i’m applying, i’m hoping to be put into one of these ‘Good branches’ but there is no way for me to research where is a good branch haha. And if the company are hiring in November when I would assume it’s because the previous teacher quit.