Question about leaving a teaching position

Hi. I have recently decided to switch companies, for a variety of reasons, including low pay and long hours, and a contract I signed without knowing enough about the working situation in Taiwan. (This is my first time teaching overseas). Once I discovered the raw deal I had been given, I made a good faith effort to stick with the company and ask for a moderately improved situation, which they verbally agreed to, and then didn’t follow through on. I have been offered employment by a company I much prefer, also in Taiwan but in another city, and would like to switch. I have only been working at the former company for about 6 weeks, and they have only just finished applying for my work permit–I still don’t have my ARC, and I’ve got a little time left on my visitor visa.

Although I was encouraged by some to just flat out leave the company, and switch to the new one (since I don’t even have my ARC yet), I didn’t feel right about doing this. Instead of taking the easy way, I grit my teeth, and went in to my boss to tell him I would like to switch companies, and that I would gladly pay the contract-breaking fine, and provide 30 days notice. To say that this resignation was not accepted gracefully would be understating the case. It just was flat out not accepted, and so my attempt to deal with this professionally apparently will not work. They are not accepting my resignation, and now I just want to get out.

My question is this: I want to make absolutely sure that I am not banned from working in Taiwan–So, is it true that I do not need to provide notice, if I do not have an ARC yet? I believe they’ve finished applying for the work permit, but I’m still here on my 60 day visitor visa. Am I safe to leave?

My second question is: am I right that if I do leave, I need to leave immediately–that once I have my ARC, I must provide notice to them (which they are apparently not accepting, and I am no longer interested in giving)? On tealit’s website, it says that 10 days notice is required if you’ve worked at a company for 3 months to 1 year, but makes no mention that I can see of what’s required if you’ve worked there for less than 3 months. Is 10 days notice still required? If I leave right at this moment, I will be forfeiting about 6 weeks of pay, and I’ll have to fly to Hong Kong for a visitor extension. In just a couple weeks, I could make a much smoother transition, and I can just add the new company to the ARC I’ll have. I guess I still also have just a strange sense of duty, since in the process of completely ignoring my definitive declarations that I was quitting, they told me once again that changes would be made–changes I was no longer asking for, but they kept talking about anyway. Now that that discussion is over, I can’t help but look back on it and wonder whether maybe I should give them every last benefit of the doubt. Two more weeks would allow me to do that, although I have little faith that they’ll follow through any better this time than last.

Thanks very much for any help you can provide. If no one has the legal answer to this question, I would also be most appreciative of a referral to an appropriate lawyer. If you are confused about what I mean when I say "they will not accept my resignation," I can only say that I am equally confused. I have never had a business encounter like this--perhaps it is a cultural difference. No matter what I say, and no matter how definitively, heads nod, protests are made, empty solutions offered, and no acknowledgement that I'm leaving is made. I know I can send a certified letter, but the whole thing is feeling weird enough now that I am no longer have faith in what I consider normal professional protocol.

Thanks again for any information anyone can provide.

This is just idle rambling thoughts, but one interesting twist would be to send them a registered letter stating that you have just been informed that working prior to the issuance of an ARC is illegal, and therefore the employment contract between you and them is null and void, and you will no longer be working for them in any capacity. It deends on the connections the boss or chain have whether or not this would put the fear of anything into them…if connections are good, they would merely thumb their noses at you, but if they were not so good, they might get the idea that you are one pissed-off foreigner who could potentially report them to the CLA (Council on Labor Affairs) and get them fined. Your own situation vis a vis such an action likewise depends on their connections – if they are good, you could be deported for “working illegally” while nothing happens to them; if they’re not so good, I’m not sure.

If you took it to a civil suit, my feeling is that you would probably prevail given this sort of argument, but it is impossible to say for sure. I’ve had a civil suit on which I was told my position was inassailable legally by a number of people who would know, yet the defendant prevailed on appeal (when he finally bothered to show up) because of his connections, pure and simple.

If they will not give you a “letter of release” or whatever it is, which I believe is/was required to process a second sequential ARC for the same passport holder, and as you are complying with all the terms of the contract including paying what is no doubt an onerous penalty for not completing the contract, personally I’d go to the Council on Labor Affairs with this one directly, and just tell them what’s happened, that you desire to end the contract in the proper way (no need to go into the reasons, unless you want to hint at the working-before-ARC thing) and you need their help to get the appropriate paperwork out of the company, which has refused to give it to you. I’m assuming that your passport is still in your possession…? (Which it should ALWAYS be unless you know it is directly in the hands of a government agency issuing you some stamp or other – never let your employer get his paws on it for any reason).

Yeah (having written all the above) I think what I would do is go to the CLA and simply ask for their help in obtaining the proper paperwork for terminating the contract as per the terms of that contract, including the fine or whatever penalty will befall you. I can’t see where they can really criticize that (although I’m sure someone will find a way… :unamused: ) CLA are pretty much into “the terms of the contract” and they are there to work for you (believe it or not). That would be a much better method than trying to figure this out yourself, IMHO.

Your mileage may vary, though. Hopefully others will make better suggestions as well.

as is frequently pointed out here there is no such thing as a ban on working here because of walking out on a contract…that is purely between you and your employer…the CLA or FAP do not keep any blacklist except for visa violations…

Basically you are/were working illegally for 6 weeks. Are you sure they have your work permit processed?

There’s no ban at buxibans if you have walked out of a previous contract, but if you’re working at a “real” school (I mean a public or private school teaching lots of things, not just English, as opposed to a language center or similar) you do need to jump through a LOT of hoops to properly leave your job. When I left SJMIT (now magically transformed into a university, there’s a scary thought!) for Taipei Medical College (likewise now a university), I had to do an amazing tour of the campus, meeting people I’d never even known were working there. My favorite was needing the swim coach to sign off on my “leaving employment” form.

But I did need that form when I took up my next job.

I know this applies to junior colleges, technical institutes and colleges/universities; I don’t know if it applies to high schools and lower, but I suspect it might, just since bureaucracy, chops and forms are such a favored sport in such places.

Gazing into my crystal ball for a moment…

I don’t think there is much chance your current employer will come through with a work permit/ARC given the current circumstances.

So contrary to the previous good advice, another possibility would be to make it about the work permit/ARC ONLY. At best, your current employer will finally cough up the paperwork. If you go in and ask them about the paperwork and they don’t have it, stop working immediately. There is no legal way they can hold you to a contract while you do not have a work permit, and any breach due to this will be entirely their fault. There is also no way to deport you for illegally working unless the police actually witness the act.

What I would suggest is to go in on Monday morning to discuss the issue of the work permit. If they do not have it yet, tell them to contact you when they do. Inform them that according to the CLA working without it puts them at risk of fines and you at risk of deportation. (You don’t need to actually talk to the CLA, the statement is true regardless and may give them the impression you had talked to them.)

Do no further work until the work permit has been granted and you have an ARC in your hands. Given the soured relationship, you are only one phone call away from being deported. They just need to get a police officer out to witness your illegal work. If they are ‘connected’ they can do this without getting fined themselves.

Until you have an ARC, they have no practical way to enforce their contract. I also don’t see an ethical problem with seeking other employment while your current one has not made a serious effort to get your documentation in order (it does NOT take 6 weeks to get a work permit). If a new employer can get a work permit for you sooner, then go for it.

On the other hand, if a work permit and ARC from your first employer does miraculously come out of this, then once you have the ARC in your hands, go to work for your original employer. Then go to your new employer and get them to apply for a second work permit (they no longer need release letters to do so). When the new work permit has been granted, get it added to your ARC. Then and only then go to your first employer and give the legally required notice that you are leaving. Do so by registered mail given past experience. They will then cancel your original work permit. Once they have done so you may need to go back to get your ARC updated again to make your second work permit primary.

[quote=“the bear”]as is frequently pointed out here there is no such thing as a ban on working here because of walking out on a contract…that is purely between you and your employer…the CLA or FAP do not keep any blacklist except for visa violations…[/quote]Are you sure? A while back, Brian kept talking about the necessity for people to give at least a month’s notice, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get another teaching WP. Apparently he’d had quite a few chats with the relevant ministry (can’t remember whether it was still Education or if it had changed to Labour by then), who confirmed this.

You shouldn’t have told them anything. (sorry)

They haven’t paid you yet? From what I gathered, you’ve worked 6 weeks and they still owe you. Is that right? That’s not good. I’d demand a month’s pay right now then just get the hell out of dodge. They have to pay you. If they don’t, then just chalk it up as a lesson learned. Try to get some money out of them before you have them eat your dust. Don’t worry about if they have connections or loyalty. They’re already not paying you, have penalty clauses in their contracts, and are having you work illegally.

Get money, don’t show up to work the next day, and sign with the new school.

Thanks so much for all of your replies. I typed this post late last night, and looking at it today, I can see that it’s a but confusing. To clarify: I am not too worried that they won’t get me an ARC–I attribute their slowness to sheer disorganization. They’ve told me we’ll be getting it this week. My concern is that once I get an ARC, that I will be beholden to stricter laws regarding leaving the company, and that I might therefore be better off leaving immediately. You’ve really helped in answering my first question: Am I free to leave now with no notice? Your responses suggest that I am, given that I have no ARC, and they’ve been employing me illegally so far, which I hadn’t known.

But my second question is: If I wait to leave (which I’d prefer, so I can collect a paycheck, and so I don’t have to leave the country to extend my visitor visa), will I then be beholden to stricter laws regarding notice, since at that point I’ll have an ARC? Although one poster said you can’t be banned from working in Taiwan for failing to give notice, I have read numerous other posts that say you can be banned for life for failing to do so. Tealit’s website says that you need to give 10 days notice if you’ve worked at a company for 3-12 months, but says nothing about whether notice is required for less than 3 months work. Does anyone know whether notice is required for less than 3 months work?

I didn’t mind giving a month’s notice before, but now that I’ve seen their reaction to this, I just want to collect my pay and get out. I believe they will complete the ARC process now and pay me, because without any other choice, they now believe I am resigned to working there. There was no point in persisting with telling them I was leaving after seeing their utter rejection of this idea. But if I got my ARC, and had to give them notice again, it would be utterly unbearable, and I have no faith that they would pay me for any time after I gave them such notice.

Thanks again for your help. My pay is actually on schedule, since they pay monthly, with 2 weeks lag time (totalling about 6 weeks). The question is whether it’s worth sticking around to collect it, if it means getting ARC in the meantime, and thus being beholden to stricter standards about leaving the company.

This is specified in the Labor Standards Act Articles 15-16. It provides that a worker shall give advanced notice to terminate a contract. The advance notice requirements are:

Employed 3-12 months: 10 days notice
Employed 1-3 years: 20 days notice
Employed 3+ years: 30 days notice

The act does not specify what the required notice is when employed less than 3 months, however advance notice is required. By the letter of the law any period of advance notice is sufficient if employed less than 3 months. How this is actually enforced is anyone’s guess. :loco:

Don’t you still have to leave the country to change your visitor status to working status? I don’t think it’s a matter of waiting for your working visa/ARC while your in Taiwan.

hmm, then perhaps you have to give the notice, which seems to be 10 days for less than 6 months service…but so long as you give the notice it cant affect your future rights to an ARC thru a different employer…

Extendable visitor visas are able to be exchanged for a resident visa without leaving Taiwan. If you applied to and received a 60 or 90 day visa at a representative office before coming to Taiwan then it is usually an extendable visa. If you entered on visa-free entry then it is not.

Extendable visitor visas are able to be exchanged for a resident visa without leaving Taiwan. If you applied to and received a 60 or 90 day visa at a representative office before coming to Taiwan then it is usually an extendable visa. If you entered on visa-free entry then it is not.[/quote]

I did not know that.