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Author Topic: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?  (Read 1194 times)

Offline Cyanea

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Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« on: August 10, 2018, 07:47:22 AM »
It seems to be almost impossible to take a sick day in Korea.

Last time I took one I had to have surgery on my toe (ingrown toenail). Of course the moment surgery was over I was told to go to class because there was “no-one to cover”, despite the fact I could hardly walk. Why do schools go years with "no-one to cover" everytime someone gets sick. Instead of assuming that workers will occasionally get sick and preparing for it, they go into crisis everytime and never make contingency plans.

 
Then the previous time I had the flu, one of the staff members was actually sent round to knock on my door to check that I actually was sick. They tried to get me to come in anyway, to which I refused. I was treated with suspicion and made to feel guilty for being ill. One sick day in a year and I was a traitor to the school!

Most contracts stipulate that anyone taking a sick day must produce a doctors note or be subject to any number of penalties including excessive (illegal?) pay deductions or warnings. Of course, if you are sick, you are hardly going to get well if you have to get out of bed, travel across the city to wait hours in line to see a doctor to get a note. It kind of nullifies the whole point of taking a day to recover.


It is so bad that you would almost need the UN human rights watch to step in and force Korea to extend basic rights to its workers. 
Catch my drift?

Online oglop

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2018, 08:23:59 AM »
Employers in Korea only care about money, not about you or your wellbeing

Again, I would say this mostly applies to shitty hagwons*. Public schools are more understanding, professional companies like the British Council have a system in place, and also the companies I work for part time (teaching adults) it's not a problem as long as you give reasonable notice

*not sure about Korean companies. I know my adult students sometimes don't come as they are sick, so I guess Korean workplace conditions are improving too(?)

Online Savant

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2018, 12:09:04 PM »
Taking a sick day and not working = bad employee
Getting p!ssed at the midweek 회식 and sleeping at your desk for all of the next day = good employee.

Offline Nokcha

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 02:37:30 PM »
My school is actually really good about me taking sick days. Unfortunately, I think many schools probably think native teachers take time off due to hangovers, which is no reason to miss work in the minds of Koreans ;/

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 06:29:48 PM »
Quote
Again, I would say this mostly applies to shitty hagwons*. Public schools are more understanding, professional companies like the British Council have a system in place, and also the companies I work for part time (teaching adults) it's not a problem as long as you give reasonable notice

This is true and people take advantage of it naturally. There are really only two ways to do sick days if you're a company. Trust people to take days off when they're sick and lose money due to people taking sickies, or foster an atmosphere of mistrust, have people come in sick, reduce the number of sickies but lower staff morale. Neither way is satisfactory and I've no idea which one results in the highest productivity overall. 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 06:33:14 PM by eggieguffer »

Online JNM

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 06:36:41 PM »
Quote
Again, I would say this mostly applies to shitty hagwons*. Public schools are more understanding, professional companies like the British Council have a system in place, and also the companies I work for part time (teaching adults) it's not a problem as long as you give reasonable notice

This is true and people take advantage of it naturally. There are really only two ways to do sick days if you're a company. Trust people to take days off when they're sick and lose money due to people taking sickies, or foster an atmosphere of mistrust, reduce the number of sickies but lower staff morale. Neither way is satisfactory and I've no idea which one results in the highest productivity overall.
The people who take fictional sick days usually aren't that productive when they are there!

Evaluate staff based on long-term effectiveness, and daily attendance issues can be overlooked.


Online eggieguffer

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 06:45:28 PM »
Quote
Again, I would say this mostly applies to shitty hagwons*. Public schools are more understanding, professional companies like the British Council have a system in place, and also the companies I work for part time (teaching adults) it's not a problem as long as you give reasonable notice

This is true and people take advantage of it naturally. There are really only two ways to do sick days if you're a company. Trust people to take days off when they're sick and lose money due to people taking sickies, or foster an atmosphere of mistrust, reduce the number of sickies but lower staff morale. Neither way is satisfactory and I've no idea which one results in the highest productivity overall.
The people who take fictional sick days usually aren't that productive when they are there!

Evaluate staff based on long-term effectiveness, and daily attendance issues can be overlooked.

I guess it depends on the nature of the business. It's pretty easy to assess whether a teacher is productive - they get OK feedback , few complaints etc.. For all the British Council's commitment to PC culture, they obviously keep a record of each teacher's number of sick days and balance that against their performance rating. A teacher with average feedback and a lot of sick days might well not get their contract renewed. No matter how much they complain that it wasn't their fault.  Unless they're visually disabled, in which case they would get away with a lot more.

Online oglop

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2018, 09:49:15 AM »
Quote
Again, I would say this mostly applies to shitty hagwons*. Public schools are more understanding, professional companies like the British Council have a system in place, and also the companies I work for part time (teaching adults) it's not a problem as long as you give reasonable notice

This is true and people take advantage of it naturally. There are really only two ways to do sick days if you're a company. Trust people to take days off when they're sick and lose money due to people taking sickies, or foster an atmosphere of mistrust, have people come in sick, reduce the number of sickies but lower staff morale. Neither way is satisfactory and I've no idea which one results in the highest productivity overall.
yeah, that's true. i'm sure i've read studies that show if a worker is happy with their job, they'll be more productive and work harder (if you even need a study to prove that- seems fairly obvious).

i've had to come in sick in korea and absolutely resented it. i also didn't get anything done, so it was pointless me even being there

Offline Kolao

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2018, 09:53:32 PM »
It seems to be almost impossible to take a sick day in Korea.

Last time I took one I had to have surgery on my toe (ingrown toenail). Of course the moment surgery was over I was told to go to class because there was “no-one to cover”, despite the fact I could hardly walk. Why do schools go years with "no-one to cover" everytime someone gets sick. Instead of assuming that workers will occasionally get sick fill in with your choice of jiveand preparing for it, they go into crisis everytime and never make contingency plans.

 
Then the previous time I had the flu, one of the staff members was actually sent round to knock on my door to check that I actually was sick. They tried to get me to come in anyway, to which I refused. I was treated with suspicion and made to feel guilty for being ill. One sick day in a year and I was a traitor to the school!

Most contracts stipulate that anyone taking a sick day must produce a doctors note or be subject to any number of penalties including excessive (illegal?) pay deductions or warnings. Of course, if you are sick, you are hardly going to get well if you have to get out of bed, travel across the city to wait hours in line to see a doctor to get a note. It kind of nullifies the whole point of taking a day to recover.


It is so bad that you would almost need the UN human rights watch to step in and force Korea to extend basic rights to its workers.

You answered your own question.
When the wicked are confounded, and consigned to flames of woe, call me.

Offline Foreverparadise

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2018, 07:22:53 AM »
South Korea has one of the worst countries for toxic work-culture. Most Korean employers have
absolutely no sense of humanity for their workers to a point that people go to work sick, and
employers don't even give a damn about your physical or mental health. I was fortunate to have
taught EFL in a public school because the last year I was there, I was diagnosed with cancer, and
I was able to get 6 rounds of chemotherapy done. It was hard in my last days of treatment but
I survived.

Offline Aristocrat

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2018, 10:07:16 PM »
It seems to be almost impossible to take a sick day in Korea.

Last time I took one I had to have surgery on my toe (ingrown toenail). Of course the moment surgery was over I was told to go to class because there was “no-one to cover”, despite the fact I could hardly walk. Why do schools go years with "no-one to cover" everytime someone gets sick. Instead of assuming that workers will occasionally get sick and preparing for it, they go into crisis everytime and never make contingency plans.

 
Then the previous time I had the flu, one of the staff members was actually sent round to knock on my door to check that I actually was sick. They tried to get me to come in anyway, to which I refused. I was treated with suspicion and made to feel guilty for being ill. One sick day in a year and I was a traitor to the school!

Most contracts stipulate that anyone taking a sick day must produce a doctors note or be subject to any number of penalties including excessive (illegal?) pay deductions or warnings. Of course, if you are sick, you are hardly going to get well if you have to get out of bed, travel across the city to wait hours in line to see a doctor to get a note. It kind of nullifies the whole point of taking a day to recover.


It is so bad that you would almost need the UN human rights watch to step in and force Korea to extend basic rights to its workers.

Basically, it’s Confucianism's fault.

Korean culture, for the past 3000yrs, has been all about harmony. Instead of addressing a problem, Confucianism teaches that you endure it. Particularly if you’re going to upset the social order, even if it’s for the better.... You’re not allowed to confront a superior for pissing on you, in Korea. So essentially, Korean teachers deal with a lot of sh*t from parents but don’t have the balls to confront them about it.

This frustration has to go somewhere... that’s where you come in ;D
Over generations, Koreans have found a certain degree of respite from their misery by making others just as miserable, this includes squealing on their co-workers, gossiping, tryin to get you to deskwarm etc.

The trick is to ACT like you have authority. Confidence is cryptonite to these types of bullies. Other than that, the longer you’re at a school, the more authority you tend to gain. Never ask, learn to read between the lines and be confident.

Offline Diaphanous Opprobrium

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2018, 01:11:01 PM »
The trick is to ACT like you have authority. Confidence is cryptonite to these types of bullies. Other than that, the longer you’re at a school, the more authority you tend to gain. Never ask, learn to read between the lines and be confident.

You said it. This is probably the most important and practically useful thing one learns in Korea.

Offline Kolao

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2018, 09:56:27 AM »
The trick is to ACT like you have authority. Confidence is cryptonite to these types of bullies. Other than that, the longer you’re at a school, the more authority you tend to gain. Never ask, learn to read between the lines and be confident.

You said it. This is probably the most important and practically useful thing one learns in Korea.

Agree with these sentiments in totality.

I made it perfectly clear from my arrival in Korea when my co-teacher met me on day 1 and asked the ubiquitous questions: )1) "Why did you come to Korea?" and (2) "How long do you plan to stay?"

I answered: (1) "Money." and (2) "As long as I am happy and treated well. As soon as I feel disrespected or become disenchanted, I'm walking. Immediately."

Oddly enough, she respected that. We got along great. I was treated like a king and stayed 5 years.

Most Koreans, in my opinion, are bullies. And like most bullies one encounters, they respect strength. And if they know, and I mean know, you will walk at any time, they tend to respect the strength of your conviction.

It's the folks that let themselves get walked all over that have crappy times there. You know who they are. The CT or principal or VP or Hagwan owner treats them like crap and they respond with a fruit basket. That never works. You can't kiss a bully's butt to earn respect. Life doesn't work that way.



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Online Mr.DeMartino

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2018, 02:27:28 PM »
Try calling in drunk (I'm serious). Explain that some senior person forced you to drink. You might have better luck. Don't use it too often.

Online kyndo

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Re: Why is it so hard to take a sick day In Korea?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2018, 09:31:58 AM »
Try calling in drunk (I'm serious). Explain that some senior person forced you to drink. You might have better luck. Don't use it too often.

I see that Mr.DeMartino has finally put into action his diabolical plans to rid this country of the naive and gullible.