Salaried work that requires more than 40 hours a week with no overtime pay

Hey all,
I’m getting real tired of my job (a private day school in Taipei) and the work culture. I’m trying to figure out if anything is illegal or the school is just a bunch of jerks.

The two big “is this legal?” things:

  1. My contract says the school hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but that teachers are expected to arrive by 7:40.
    There are a few things wrong with this: 1. That’s an extra 20 minutes/day (over an hour more per week) beyond a 40 hour week. 2. The kids are let in around 7:50 and cannot be left unsupervised like in all the public schools I’ve taught at, so that’s nearly an hour more unpaid supervisory work (chasing down kids who are physically attacking each other) each week.
  1. The kids are in the building and we are responsible for looking after them from when they walk in the door at 7:50 to when their personal drivers pick them up at 4:55. The only break is if I run away for my hour at lunch, which is rarely a full hour as it is. There is no prep time in anyone’s schedule at all. Somehow we need to check completed assignments daily during the exactly zero time that we have in our schedule to do so. All meetings, professional development etc. are conducted after the students leave and sometimes on Saturdays, which is obviously outside the contract hours. There is no “補假” because they say that we have “more days off than the other schools”. The problem I have with this statement is that teachers at “other schools” have a solid 20 or more hours each week in which they can hold meetings and have PD because they aren’t responsible for looking after their class 100% of the day. It is not uncommon for us to be cleaning up our classrooms and prepping for the next day for way more hours into the evening than any teacher with a sense of time management because there is always at least an hour of assignments to go through and two hours of prep that needs to be done for the next day.

So I already know I got a raw deal with this job, no one needs to tell me that. It’s unfortunate, because I love my coteachers, even if the administration is focused only on making money from the rich parents who think it’s a good idea to send their child to the school. But I want to know if the number of hours they are expecting from us is actually legal.

I know cram schools are generally 20ish hours per week, some with office hours, others without.

I know (because I’ve worked in them) that public schools are 18-24 CLASSES per week, (coming out to 15ish hours), the rest of the time with expected desk warming.

This school has a total number of teaching/supervisory hours with the kids at 8 hours a day (we can call that 40 teaching hours a week). Stupid, stupid me, thinking I’d known all the tricks of the Taiwanese scam-the-foreign-teacher out there, NEVER thought I’d have to ask if I, the main teacher who saw that class time was from 8:20 to 3:30, would be responsible for supervising students in ALL classes and clubs besides my own teaching duties.

TLDR: Is it legal to have us directly required to work more than 40 hours a week if there is no overtime? (by “directly”, I mean “required to clock in and be working”; I know I have no voice with regards to the unpaid prep time). Thanks!

I might be old fashioned but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be at your job 20 minutes before your shift starts. You know, to get to your classroom, get prepared and actually start working at 8am :roll_eyes:


No. Walk in late eating a 7-11 sandwich and ask one of the kids what they were working on last time.

“So what do you guys want to do? Movie day?”


I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be 20 minutes early for a teaching job. What I think is unreasonable is that I show up my mandated 20 minutes early to get ready and the kids are already in the building 10 minutes into my 20 minutes early arrival and they are my responsibility. Parents will have my head if they find out Jimmy and Johnny were kicking each other before school started, even if it’s obvious no one got hurt. Once the kids enter the building, the only thing we teachers can do is corral them into the classroom and watch them like a hawk. If I want to be able to get anything ready or done before wild and totally out of control children show up, we’re talking about showing up 45 minutes or more before a full 8 hours of teaching day begins. That’s after being at school until 7p.m. most nights. Prep time and being ready to start the day when they do show up is an expected part of the teaching job. I have never, however, heard of teachers expected to work unpaid babysitting hours at a real (not cram/kindy) school. Every school I’ve gone to, worked at, or know someone who works at across the globe has children in the building for a maximum of 7 hours, with usually a maximum of 6 hours actually with them. Anything exceeding 7 hours is not the responsibility of the main teacher — the kids go to clubs that club teachers are the only people responsible for looking after students. Or they offer before and after care, which the school charges extra for and pays the responsible teachers extra for.

I’m not bitching about not being able to finish my breakfast in peace each morning. I am asking if having, in the contract, that we need to be full out working for more than 40 hours a week is legal, especially since, on top of direct supervising children roles, there’s always at least one day per week where we’re in a meeting until 7 or 8 p.m. and sometimes that’s Saturdays and we don’t get extra days off after working those days. I don’t care that Taiwanese people work 13 hour days most days. Everyone knows they’re shamelessly picking their noses, scrolling through Facebook, and taking naps for at least 9 of those hours.


I can’t help you with the legality of your situation but I feel your pain :disappointed_relieved: It sounds like you are in a situation like the American public school teachers. At least they get Summer and Winter breaks.




@tando, do you know where I could find if any official law was passed? I noticed that the news report is from 2011

Yea, unpaid overtime for salaried work in Taiwan is standard. Try to challenge this and you’ll get “encouraged” to quit (chicken head at company weiya, bad treatment, etc.). Everyone I talk to just says put up with it as you can’t change the environment but must adjust to it.

Kicker is people spend 10 hours at work in Taiwan often having very little if any productivity.

Things like this makes me think it’s much better being hourly because when you added up all the hours you spent at the company on say a 40,000 per month salary, you’re paid about 100nt per hour.


Seems it was not passed.

Perhaps this deserves a separate thread, but IMO the unwillingness to speak up and challenge in the workplace is a huge issue in Taiwan and a big part of the reason why Taiwanese work culture still sucks. Interesting Twitter thread about how “un-democratic” Taiwanese workplaces are: link


Probably OT but I heard people say that in China they take labor law violations much more seriously. In Taiwan labor law is basically suggestions.

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This sounds like the exact same story I hear from my Teacher friends who teach elementary in the US

Yea funding in education in the US is very low (part of the reason or excuse universities raise tuition) so teachers are paid little and have to buy school supplies out of pocket.

I think it depends on the company, based on my anecdotal evidence observing the lines for the elevators in our office building (2 buildings, 13 floors in each, 6 elevators ) and the rush hour at the mrt, many people clock off at 6pm sharp.

in my office, around 50 employees, most clock off at 6 to 630. no extra hours are expected, but we have our other problems.

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What do you get paid per month?

I’d bitch and moan if it was 60-70k a month. 120-150k and it’d be tolerable.

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I have nothing constructive to add, but my God that sounds exhausting.


Yeah I don’t get out of bed for less than 10k NTD …a month.

It’s a private school, so my first question is, does your job fall under the LSA?

I’m not actually sure. They take out for 勞保 and NHI every month. I thought all companies with more than 5 employees fell under LSA