Signing two contracts per year?

I worked at a buxiban where each year the boss had me sign two employment contracts (at the same time.) One of these was just a single page in Chinese, the other was multiple pages in Chinese/English with many more clauses. The boss did not give an explanation and this was the first school I had worked at, so I had no reason to think this was unusual.

Now I have discovered that when the boss applied for my work permit each year, they only sent the one-page contract and had that approved. (I think they did this because the longer contract had clauses which did not meet the minimum standards of the Labor Standards Act.)

Any thoughts on whether this is an acceptable practice?

I doubt it’s legal. The Chinese contract always wins if there’s a discrepancy between the English and Chinese, but what would the could court do if there are two different contracts? Especially if there’s more in the bilingual contract. Normal functioning schools send the bilingual contract to the labor bureau. Do you read Chinese? Did you see what was missing from the Chinese version that was in the English version?

You can consult with MOL. They tell whether the contacts are legal or not, and what options you have to deal with it.

Are you able to keep a copy of the contract?

and if these two contracts cover only 6 months each, say goodbye to your lower tax rate after the 183 days stay.

What would the court do? Indeed, given that this is headed to court (not my choice.)

I have copies of both, yes. They both cover the same period of a year. It did not make a difference to my tax, it seems more about concealing one contract from the Labor Bureau.

OK then.

Yes, you can’t be held to two contracts, and only the one they send to the Labor Office should be valid.

Thanks. I hope that is the case because they are trying to use clauses that only feature in the one they didn’t show to the Labor Office to claim compensation from me.

Like which clauses?

Forgive me if I can’t be too specific here. There are only 4 clauses in the one-page contract they sent to the Labor Bureau, but there are more than 60 in the Chinese/English contract they want to sue me for violating clauses of, they are trying to link these violations to Articles in the Civil Law to claim huge damages.

Do you want to PM me? I have had experience suing bosses for shit like this.

I am not sure how to send a PM.

Click my avatar and press Message

No message option. I only joined yesterday, perhaps I am not cleared to message anyone yet.

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Try now @Hubert_Golightly

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Any update on this?

I am having some employers offer me the same. It was explained to me that the short contract is just to apply for the work permit at the MOE and the longer contract is the one which explicitly states your employment conditions.

Is this normal practice?

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My advice, if you can’t avoid signing, would be to make sure you are given copies of BOTH contracts. Some employers will just give you the longer one because they know it’s safer if you’ve not got a copy.

The basic reason for this two-contract move is to designate you as working on a “commission contract” in the contract they send to the WDA but to set out conditions in the longer contract that give the employer the same amount of control as they would have of a regular worker, e.g., regarding absenteeism, requesting leave, contract termination, because a genuine commission contract relationship could not require your presence, makes no arrangements re leave, and does not require any notice period. The idea is that both the WDA and you are misled; the former into thinking you’re not a regular worker and so not entitled to all your employment rights, and you into following rules that suit the employer but are not actually required.

It is not the MOE who the work permit application is sent to, it’s the Workforce Development Agency. A head of section at the WDA, along with several other officials we have spoken to, confirmed that this use of two contracts violates the Employment Services Act, while my two lawyers also confirmed this.

Officials cited this subparagraph of Article 5 of the Employment Services Act as having been violated and said under no circumstances should a worker have two contracts

5.Submitting false information or fake health examination sample (s) when applying for permit(s) to employ foreign worker(s), or dealing with recruitment, import, or management thereof.

I will know more when I next go to court and hear the judge’s comments (but that could be delayed due to the virus outbreak).


Thank you very much for your detailed reply.

I should note that my situation is a little different since I would be employed by a secondary school as a teacher. Therefore the employer would apply for my work permit directly through the MOE.

I am not sure if this makes a difference.

It may do. My information relates only to the process of a buxiban work permit application.

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