What is working in a buxiban or local school really like?

The good:

  • Buxiban teachers are subject to the Labor Standards Act and therefore are entitled to holiday pay and so on. (You can find the details of LSA Art. 43 in the Regulations of Leave-Taking of Workers. law.moj.gov.tw).
  • The Labor Insurance Act applies if the buxiban has already established a labor insurance unit (i.e. they can’t have some staff insured and others not). The BLI says it doesn’t apply otherwise, because in their opinion a buxiban is neither a company nor a “firm”.
  • Whether you’re subject to NHI or not is supposed to be based on whether or not you have an ARC, so working for a buxiban you should still be insured.
  • Work hours are restricted if you have a normal work permit: 14 to 32 hours per week of “teaching related duties” (including lesson preparation) for your primary employer, 6 or more hours per week for each additional employer, and total 32 hours per week maximum.
  • Some buxibans have adult classes, 1-on-1 classes, good textbooks, and relatively little interference in teaching methods.

The bad:

  • Buxiban bosses tend not to give a flying copulation about labor standards.
  • If you work at multiple branches of a chain, you need a separate work permit for each branch, even if the owner is the same (and of course most bosses don’t give an FC about that either).
  • Some buxibans are managed like factories, with everything that implies.

For the ugly, search through old threads. Off the top of my head:

  • “Blacklist of schools” (not just for buxibans)
  • “Warning: Jump Start Kindergarten under investigation” (it’s technically a chain of buxibans)

Since pretty much everything was covered and there’s a wealth of topics on this subject I’ll just relate some personal experiences teaching at cram schools in Taipei.

When you find this magical job, please let me know. Working in Taiwan has been the least stressful experience I’ve ever had, and still finish the day tired and stressed out. As an older relative once said, “Everyone complains about their work.”

bear in mind every business is different and this is just my experience at 2 different places. Like trying to compare KFC to Arby’s (both are fast food chains, similar to how every cram school business varies), there’s no way to generalize these questions.
Conditions - Chinese teachers talk behind my back in Chinese at one of the businesses, but not the other. AC throughout, decent hours, can’t complain
Pay - 600-650hr. With a yearly increase.
Holiday Pay - HAH! My wife makes holiday pay, I don’t. The reason is that she works full time with less pay, “foreign” teachers are often viewed as a sort of specialized employee. It’s more costly to hire us, so it’s hard to find a full time position at a cram school. Since I’m working part time, I don’t get a penny of holiday pay.
Sick pay - I’ll get paid a phone call asking why I’m not working. Even when I was really sick, they just gave me a mask. No sick leave.
Hours - Cram schools begin after public school lets out, and doesn’t dwell too far into the night. Earliest I’ve started was 2pm, latest was 6:30pm. You’ll only get paid for teaching hours, nothing else even if you’re asked to do extra work.

Same shit, different beast. I’ve seen some people that work at public and cram schools simultaneously. It’s really not that different, aside from teaching material and guidelines.

Editing this post with details about my stance in holiday pay. If I were to create multiple posts about this subject they would all be moved to the temporary forum, so here’s a simple edit to avoid getting anal penetration from the mod team posts removed.

Here’s a quote from a good topic on the subject. I am working part time for 2 schools, which means not 14 hours weekly at either. And my contacts are “non-renewable.” So, no holiday pay. Exactly what I said earlier.

From my experience, bosses aside, I try to not get involved with the Chinese teachers on any level, even professionally beyond what I have to. One of two things could happen (in my expo, have)

You will get dragged into a whirlwind of negativity and almost be forced to take sides. This happened at two schools I worked at. If you take CT side, then the negativity will fester like a boil. If you take management side…you will get tossed under the bus without a flinch.

Don’t befriend other teachers for the same reasons above. I am usually somewhat older than other teachers, so they tend to ignore me and that takes care of itself.

I am not saying you cannot trust anyone, but you cannot trust anyone.

Also, bosses can be a little prickish. I am older and have a bad knee from an old skiing injury, and I worked at a school that had 5 floors. The boss thought it was hilarious to make me walk all the way to the 5th floor for classes, even though there were empty classrooms below. They really seem to get off on that. I left after 2 days.

The school I work at is rather nice. I know the owners, so that helps. Also, I worked there before. (2nd time is a charm!) The owners lived in my part of the US for a long time, so they “get” my attitude and humor. That helps. The first time I fell into the “coworker friend” trap (see above) and other issues. But…everything is fine for now.

I don’t want to open the holiday pay can-o’-worms right now, so I’ll just point out that the part-time aspect (i.e. the employer still being obligated to pay) has been discussed in other threads. :slight_smile:

There is actually a law that says employees get holiday pay, regardless full or part time? Wow. Not being facetious, I am being genuine.

What do you mean by post-grad qualifications? I think you’re trading down by going from an international school to a buxiban. If you have a masters, you could try getting a university gig. Easier said than done, but I don’t think you’ll be any happier at a cram school.

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I think it will be worse at a cram.school for you. You could work at Taiwanese public school for a while or find another type of professional job in education or another industry.

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Art. 39 of the LSA does not distinguish between full- and part-time workers. For the MOL’s interpretation, go to http://www.mol.gov.tw, search for 僱用部分時間工作勞工應行注意事項, and check item 6.3.2.

Teachers at public and private “schools” (not buxibans) may not be subject to the above.

You write “may not be subject”, so when are they subject? Could you help me explain how to find out what applies to whom? Search terms like you gave above help a lot.

BTW, I work for a private school, part time, 14 hours a week. No written contract, but they do pay my health and labor insurance.


I think what s/he means is it is “optional” for the employer to offer it. If it is written in a contract (cough,cough) then it might be offered, but still might not be given to you.

With/without contract it does not matter. I, and others, have written extensively on here about the fallibility and meaninglessness of contracts in Taiwan and dealing with unscrupulous buxiban owners.

If I was you I would consider changing schools, but I would not consider bushibans. I’d also consider asking for part-time.

Teachers of regular schools are subject to specific laws for them.

Teachers’ Act

Act of Governing the Appointment of Educators

教師請假規則(rules on teacher’s leave request)

教師待遇條例 (regulations on teachers treatment)

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I eventually might change schools, but the next time I want to negotiate better terms and understanding the law might help.

According to the Taoyuan City Education department I am not a registered teacher and at my school I am considered a 才藝老師 (is there an English translation for this?). So yes, they do whatever they please. This year they decided Teachers Day was off, so of course I didn’t get paid, while the rest was paid for the day.

On the other hand I work at some great cram schools. Bosses that you can talk to, colleagues that are nice and NT850 minimum pay. YMMV, as they say.

Talent teacher (才藝老師) :wink:

But that’s not right, because I’m the talent! :wink:

Meaning you teach juggling, drawing, egg painting, Halloween pumpkin carving, tap dance, drums … and much more.

You seems to be subject to the labor standard act.


I think your position is based on the Article 11 of the following law.

Primary and Junior High School Act

Other related regulations


Though this is a taipei city law.

it is compulsory, and I guess most of regular schools may follow the law.

Labor Insurance Act
Article 6
The following workers above 15 full years and below 65 years of age shall all be insured under this program as insured persons, with their employers, or the organizations or institutes to which they belong reckoned as the insured units:

4.Employees of government offices or public or private schools who are not legally entitled to join civil servants’ insurance or the insurance of teachers and employees of private schools;

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As the MOL page explains, some private school teachers are subject to the LSA, and some are not. If in doubt, consult the labor department (not the education department, though they ought to know too).

Is the following translation correct?

Teachers(employees), who are not included to the work force of the school within the organization rules approved by the legal person authority & doing something other than teaching courses within the curriculum guidline, are subject to the LSA.



My posts are really messy, though.

Those who work outside the staffing structure of private schools of various levels [primary to high school] (not including teachers who only perform teaching work) are subject to the Labor Standards Act from 2014-08-01.

The MOL explains it in English here:

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