I recently received a job offer for a private school which I was introduced to through a recruiter. I was going over my contract and it made me feel very uncomfortable. Can anyone please explain if the points listed here are normal as well as describe the benefits a foreign English teacher can expect working for a private English school in Taiwan?
School wants me to pay for my work visa and processing fees.
School offers 14 vacation days annually but each vacation day I take will result in 5 hours being deducted from my monthly pay. (no paid vacation time)
Teaching hours are 4.5 hours daily but I am to come in 30 minutes early for lesson planning with the director. (30 minutes working each day without pay. Is this legal? 4.5 hours per work day but if I take a vacation day they deduct 5 hours. Is this legal?)
School states that I must attend extracurricular events such as graduations, sleep overs, and field trips. The contract is ambiguous on this and doesn’t state whether or not I will get paid for this time. I believe if I am doing mandatory work for anybody that I must get paid. (Is doing extracurricular work for no pay a normal thing with this career?)
I don’t want to discuss my pay rate here but from what I have researched, as someone with no experience the hourly pay rate does seem normal. Can anyone please provide what an average starting hourly pay rate is? What are the typical benefits for this career in Taiwan? From what I have researched, paid vacation time seems standard. I have read some of Taiwan’s labor laws and I believe that there are also national holidays that are mandated off and depending how long you have worked with any given employer they must be paid. For instance, there are 13 national holidays that are mandated off each year and if you have been with one company for 90 days you are entitled pay for three of them. After one year, I believe you are entitled pay for 10 of them of something along those lines. Am I reading this correctly? Thank you for your help. I read this contract and it seems like this company is trying to take me for a sucker and get as much free labor out of me as possible. I feel very uncomfortable to work for this company now even if they amend the contract simply due to knowing that they tried to take advantage of me to begin with. But maybe I’m wrong. Thank you for your answers.
Is this at a cram school or a private school and are your full or part time? By the description it sounds like a cram school and part time.
It’s normal to pay for your ARC and any visa fees. Work permit should be paid for by the school though.
Most cram schools don’t offer you any vacation and if they did, they shouldn’t be deducting it from your pay. I believe all employees are entitled to PTO, but you need to double check with the local labor affairs office about this.
I recommend going to the labor affairs office or speaking to a lawyer about this. I am pretty sure it is illegal and that all time worked must be paid.
Extracurricular events are fine as long as they are paid.
It depends on your qualifications, but I would say at least $600 an hour if it is a cram school.
Ask the labor affairs office or a lawyer about this. I haven’t found any cram school that pays their part time teachers for national holidays.
If I was you I would reject this job offer and just look for other ones.
I am not sure if it is a private school or a cram school. The few sources I’ve researched seem to indicate that they are the same. It is after school teaching and I would be on a guarantee system where I am guaranteed a minimum of 18 teaching hours per week. I have a Taiwanese friend who teaches in Taichung. She said this is a bad contract and recommended I find a better company. She said the company should pay for my visa and work permit fees. She also said I should receive paid vacation time and that the company should pay me for all hours worked. She said there are much better options out there. I just wanted to get additional feedback before I make my decision.
If there are guaranteed hours then my money is it’s part of a chain (Shane?). If the school is trying to pull a fast one by deducting pay for vacation then it’s a franchisee. If that’s the case then contacting its head office will sort that issue.
However, I agree with the poster who suggested finding a different school. There are many positions available at the moment.
Private schools are day schools that students attend instead of going to the local public ones (or international ones…or sometimes they are “international” in name). If it’s an after school program, it’s a cram school. Cram schools are where children go because parents work insane hours and need childcare. Rarely do cram schools in the elementary care if children learn anything at all, though some are great and others destroy the soul of everyone that comes near it.
I’m currently fighting with the private (day) school that I work for that operates like a cram school. You’ve mentioned too many red flags in your contract. I mean this with no offense intended, but if you aren’t sure/didn’t know to ask what kind of school it is, they smell fresh meat and assume they can get away with ANYTHING with you. I’ve worked in Taiwan for nearly a decade and my current school has tried to use the “this is just how we do things in Taiwan” with me three times now. I thought after I told them the first two times that this wasn’t my first job in Taiwan and I know that’s not how things are done here, they’d stop. But they didn’t. I really don’t like being ultra negative, but you have to be SUPER careful with employers here. Their only goal is to screw you over, 99% of the time. Spend a few hours reading up on what other people have said about the schools they’re worked at. I don’t mean that to scare you. I mean it so you can be aware of some of the common issues that foreigners run into when they try to work here. The ones you’ve listed are too many red flags. My guess is that if you bring up your concerns with the recruiter, they might even tell you that the job isn’t actually available anymore, because they know you’ve caught onto the scam and they have no use for you.
I appreciate that very helpful information. Thank you. I am not disappointed. I pretty much knew what it was. I just wanted confirmation that these things are not normal so I know what to negotiate for when applying at future companies. I won’t even try to negotiate the contract with this company. Just by having the audacity to draw up such an exploitative contract I cannot trust them as an employer even if they amend it. They will likely be miserable to work for. I have been in a miserable career for the past ten years. I’m moving to Taiwan to have a good life. I refuse to move from one miserable situation to another. I will keep seeking until I find an employer that I am comfortable with. Thanks again.
a lot of red flags there. I’d report it. That 30 minutes extra of work without pay it self is enough to avoid that. if you do the math…thats like 2.5h of UNPAID time a week…it adds up to a whole lot over the course of a year.
You can always get a work visa, arrive, then quit and change your visa status to “looking for work” for 6 months. That gives you six months in country to find a new job. I’m not saying quit as soon as you arrive, but you do have that option if your boss sucks
That is great information. I did not know that. I have been putting out dozens of applications. If I do not hear anything within the next few days and get desperate then I may contact this seemingly bad company back knowing this new helpful information. Thank you.
I have plenty of money saved up. I have been working like a dog for the past ten years. Working 20 hours per week in a beautiful country will be a semi-retirement for me. However, I don’t want to dump much money on lawyers and apartment costs with no income. This is why it is important for me to trust my employer and have good rapport with them prior to accepting a job. I want to enjoy my life when I move there. I don’t want to be miserable.
You are doing it the right way. Don’t sign any shitty contract or bother with this kind of exploitative employer. And if you couldn’t find anything suitable.in Taiwan (I’m sure you can ), just try Vietnam or somewhere else.
Many schools providing arc here only have sixteen hours guaranteed so I’m sure you can find what you want. They are basically part time gigs no need to be locked into more. And then you could add more if you needed .
I agree. I am just anxious because I only have an Associate’s Degree and TEFL certification. As I don’t have a Bachelor’s Degree that will limit my options. I am also a nurse and have been working as a nurse for the past ten years. On top of that I also have firefighter and EMT certifications totaling approximately five years of post high school education. Unfortunately none of that is relevant to the job so I don’t mention it. I just forward my Associate’s Degree and TEFL certificate to potential employers. I have only been looking for several days since I cancelled with this other company. I believe I have applied at 18 different companies so far. Eventually something has got to hit.
I applied at HESS. My application is still under review. I have just been so anxious to move to Taiwan to start my new life after working ten years in a miserable high-stress career. I have made good money as a nurse and I have been a successful real estate investor as well buying and selling homes. The market in the US is insane right now and once I sell my current home I am going to make out big. Rather than putting those proceeds into a down payment on a new property I wanted to move to Taiwan where the exchange rate will make my money expand even further. I wanted to finally take time to breath and actually enjoy life and get out of this cycle of non-stop work and fatigue with no time to go anywhere or visit friends.
I have put all my eggs into this basket so I believe I am making myself too anxious. I just need to be patient and wait for the right opportunity. In the meantime I am still working in the US and the value of my house will continue to increase until I list it for sale. My situation is not bad. It’s just my nerves. At least I’m aware of the issue. I’m typically impatient when looking for a new job. Maybe that is normal.