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  • Jeter2
  • Veteran

    • 141

    • September 24, 2015, 01:30:35 pm
    • NYC, USA
Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« on: September 02, 2016, 10:12:28 pm »
This is at a hagwon

A coworker is being treated like shit at work. She's been watched on CCTV non-stop, they told her that she has until the end of September to improve, she has to come in to work 20 minutes early to discuss what she'll be doing in all of her classes, she had to sign a paper, called Teaching Duties. If she doesn't improve, she will be let go. Then, they told her they would help her find another job at another school and she could stay at this job for 2 more months.

We assume that they told her that they would let her stay at this hagwon for 2 more months so that they have time to find her replacement.

She wants to leave October 1st.

First, what are the appropriate steps to properly quit a hagwon. She wants to leave and get her letter of release so that she could come back to Korea in the future.

Can they legally require her to reimburse them for the flight they paid for? Is it against any laws?

We assume they are treating her like shit because they want her to push her out.


  • m.corless
  • Super Waygook

    • 260

    • August 30, 2011, 02:55:14 pm
    • Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2016, 11:44:05 pm »
Give appropriate notice as per contract.

Ask for letter of release, but realize that it might not be given. I could be wrong, but I don't believe there is any legal obligation to provide one.

Flight reimbursement should be in the contract, too. For example, does it say that the flight will be considered a loan until month X of the contract and then forgiven? If the contract says that flight is provided as a bonus it could be iffy.


Not completely unrelated... I'm not reading the part where she is being "treated like shit"
If the hagwon is watching and doesn't think she is doing her job properly, they have expressed that, gone head with steps so that she can improve or be let go, given enough notice, said they would assist her in finding a new position. Sounds pretty decent unless I am missing something?


Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2016, 12:11:30 am »
Have the students been complaining? It's when the students complain or leave that the hagwon would have concerns. Iff there's been no complaints or students leave then what's the hagwon's problem?


  • KimDuHan
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1257

    • January 15, 2015, 11:48:59 am
    • Seoul
Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2016, 11:01:54 am »
This is at a hagwon

A coworker is being treated like shit at work. She's been watched on CCTV non-stop, they told her that she has until the end of September to improve, she has to come in to work 20 minutes early to discuss what she'll be doing in all of her classes, she had to sign a paper, called Teaching Duties. If she doesn't improve, she will be let go. Then, they told her they would help her find another job at another school and she could stay at this job for 2 more months.

We assume that they told her that they would let her stay at this hagwon for 2 more months so that they have time to find her replacement.

She wants to leave October 1st.

First, what are the appropriate steps to properly quit a hagwon. She wants to leave and get her letter of release so that she could come back to Korea in the future.

Can they legally require her to reimburse them for the flight they paid for? Is it against any laws?

We assume they are treating her like shit because they want her to push her out.

Every school I worked at or subbed at watched me on cctv, it's common to broadcast the CCTV feed to parents in the hagwon lobby too.

Complaints from students and/or students leaving is a problem. Also does the teacher follow the rules? I've met many hagwon teachers who would come to work hungover and play word searches and/or crosswords all class. Then when students complained and left the teachers would blame the academy.

The teacher could be too blame. Follow guidelines and talk to the labor board.


  • dalkyr
  • Veteran

    • 165

    • July 06, 2016, 10:15:53 am
    • USA
Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2016, 12:24:33 pm »
Not completely unrelated... I'm not reading the part where she is being "treated like shit"
If the hagwon is watching and doesn't think she is doing her job properly, they have expressed that, gone head with steps so that she can improve or be let go, given enough notice, said they would assist her in finding a new position. Sounds pretty decent unless I am missing something?

Gotta be honest, this is my read on the situation too. From what I've heard if a hagwon wants to get rid of someone they'll get rid of them. The two-month extension might partially be to help them find a replacement, but I highly doubt they'd have offered to help her find a new position if they were just looking to get rid of her.

Whether that's true or not it sounds like the hagwon has met their contractual and legal requirements. They gave warnings, and notice, and then were generous enough to give extra time.

If she wants to quit, rather than working out the 2 months, she can, of course. Chances of getting a Letter of Release aren't very high, IMHO. For starters, the director is probably going to be a little pissed that she's leaving after he's been relatively generous with the 2 month offer. Second, at this point October 1st is too soon of an end date. The shortest notice period for resignation I've seen in a contract is 30 days. Most want 60+. Since it's now the 3rd, and the next working day is the 5th, the soonest she could leave with a 30-day notification is October 5th. If she leaves on the 1st she'll be breaking contract, which usually equates to no LoR.

Depending on what you mean by "come back to Korea in the future" a LoR isn't always necessary. Technically they're supposed to cancel your visa when you leave the country. If nothing else, she'll be able to get a new visa after the old one expires. So if "the future" is a year from now, don't worry about the LoR. If "the future" is a couple months from now, well, maybe suck it up and work out the 2 months.

The ticket is a matter of the contract. It very much depends on how it's written. Does it say it's a loan? If so, they're pretty much covered. If it's written as a penalty clause it's probably illegal, but you (or rather your coworker) have to weigh whether it's worth the effort and hassle of fighting it. Going to the Labor Board over it is possible, but in all likelihood it's something that would have to happen after you quit, which means you'd have to stay in-country on your own dime while they deal with it.

All that said, if she *does* want to quit, there are two ways to do it:
1) Look at the contract, find out what the required notification is. (It will probably be 60 days. If so, don't bother and just work out the 2-month window) Write a letter of resignation. Make sure to include a last day that is after the required notification. Work diligently and professionally until that day. As you get close to it, meet with the boss and ask for a Letter of Release.

2) Run for it. Pack the bags, get on a bus, get on a plane, go home. If she absolutely wants to leave on the 1st this is the only option. She could give notice that she's leaving on the 1st, but the end results will be the same. There are really no good outcomes from a Midnight Run.


Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2016, 01:16:54 pm »
I thought CCTV was to protect the teacher.  If the kid says "Teacher hit me", you review the footage and see the kid is lying. 

AS for improving teaching, is the school helping her, giving her ideas, telling her how to improve her teaching, or are they just nagging at her with no feedback? 


  • Jeter2
  • Veteran

    • 141

    • September 24, 2015, 01:30:35 pm
    • NYC, USA
Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2016, 01:20:22 pm »
Not completely unrelated... I'm not reading the part where she is being "treated like shit"
If the hagwon is watching and doesn't think she is doing her job properly, they have expressed that, gone head with steps so that she can improve or be let go, given enough notice, said they would assist her in finding a new position. Sounds pretty decent unless I am missing something?

Gotta be honest, this is my read on the situation too. From what I've heard if a hagwon wants to get rid of someone they'll get rid of them. The two-month extension might partially be to help them find a replacement, but I highly doubt they'd have offered to help her find a new position if they were just looking to get rid of her.

Whether that's true or not it sounds like the hagwon has met their contractual and legal requirements. They gave warnings, and notice, and then were generous enough to give extra time.

If she wants to quit, rather than working out the 2 months, she can, of course. Chances of getting a Letter of Release aren't very high, IMHO. For starters, the director is probably going to be a little pissed that she's leaving after he's been relatively generous with the 2 month offer. Second, at this point October 1st is too soon of an end date. The shortest notice period for resignation I've seen in a contract is 30 days. Most want 60+. Since it's now the 3rd, and the next working day is the 5th, the soonest she could leave with a 30-day notification is October 5th. If she leaves on the 1st she'll be breaking contract, which usually equates to no LoR.

Depending on what you mean by "come back to Korea in the future" a LoR isn't always necessary. Technically they're supposed to cancel your visa when you leave the country. If nothing else, she'll be able to get a new visa after the old one expires. So if "the future" is a year from now, don't worry about the LoR. If "the future" is a couple months from now, well, maybe suck it up and work out the 2 months.

The ticket is a matter of the contract. It very much depends on how it's written. Does it say it's a loan? If so, they're pretty much covered. If it's written as a penalty clause it's probably illegal, but you (or rather your coworker) have to weigh whether it's worth the effort and hassle of fighting it. Going to the Labor Board over it is possible, but in all likelihood it's something that would have to happen after you quit, which means you'd have to stay in-country on your own dime while they deal with it.

All that said, if she *does* want to quit, there are two ways to do it:
1) Look at the contract, find out what the required notification is. (It will probably be 60 days. If so, don't bother and just work out the 2-month window) Write a letter of resignation. Make sure to include a last day that is after the required notification. Work diligently and professionally until that day. As you get close to it, meet with the boss and ask for a Letter of Release.

2) Run for it. Pack the bags, get on a bus, get on a plane, go home. If she absolutely wants to leave on the 1st this is the only option. She could give notice that she's leaving on the 1st, but the end results will be the same. There are really no good outcomes from a Midnight Run.

First, she wasn't given any warnings that she was performing that poorly. She has received conflicting messages. During the first month, she was watched non-stop on CCTV and put under a microscope. During her second month, she didn't receive any communication from her supervisor. It wasn't until the end of August that she was pulled into a meeting with her supervisor and director where she was told, "we're giving you until the end of September to improve although we are confident that you won't improve." She was also told that she has improved little since she started her contract 2 months ago. They also offered to help her find another job at another school etc and let her stay 2 months until she does so.

Then, she was told she hasn't been watched- so how can they come to a conclusion that she has only improved a little?

Then, the supervisor watched her class in person and told her "I'm impressed. You were better than I thought."

This teacher is doing everything in the guidelines because she know she is being watched non-stop. She isn't playing any music videos, she is doing everything the lesson plan says. Her supervisor will give her documents that outline how she will teach the class and she goes and does EXACTLY THAT. She doesn't do word searches, games, etc.

The contract states that you have to give 90 days notice or else you're in breach of contract. If you're in breach of contract, you have to reimburse the institute for the provided airfare coming to Korea.

She is the only foreign employee at this school experiencing this. The students complain because they can't understand her. She does have a slight accent so that means that the students actually have to pay close attention to what she's saying. From experience, these students are lazy and don't want to listen or put in any effort in class.


  • Jeter2
  • Veteran

    • 141

    • September 24, 2015, 01:30:35 pm
    • NYC, USA
Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2016, 01:23:58 pm »
I thought CCTV was to protect the teacher.  If the kid says "Teacher hit me", you review the footage and see the kid is lying. 

AS for improving teaching, is the school helping her, giving her ideas, telling her how to improve her teaching, or are they just nagging at her with no feedback?

She was given a document titled Teacher Responsibilities that included a list of things she "Should do and Shouldn't Do." She's frustrated because the things mentioned in the "shouldn't do" clause she is sure that she doesn't do. For example, the document says, "Don't focus too much on one student." She is sure that she pays attention to all her students in her class.

The supervisor has become a bit intrusive and controlling at this point. Also, the supervisor is new as well as this teacher. The supervisor started in June and I'm pretty sure that our previous supervisor wouldn't have handled this situation this way.

She was told not to tell anyone about her situation which to me is sketchy af!


  • dalkyr
  • Veteran

    • 165

    • July 06, 2016, 10:15:53 am
    • USA
Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2016, 02:11:40 pm »
First, she wasn't given any warnings that she was performing that poorly. She has received conflicting messages. During the first month, she was watched non-stop on CCTV and put under a microscope. During her second month, she didn't receive any communication from her supervisor. It wasn't until the end of August that she was pulled into a meeting with her supervisor and director where she was told, "we're giving you until the end of September to improve although we are confident that you won't improve." She was also told that she has improved little since she started her contract 2 months ago. They also offered to help her find another job at another school etc and let her stay 2 months until she does so.

Then, she was told she hasn't been watched- so how can they come to a conclusion that she has only improved a little?

Then, the supervisor watched her class in person and told her "I'm impressed. You were better than I thought."

This teacher is doing everything in the guidelines because she know she is being watched non-stop. She isn't playing any music videos, she is doing everything the lesson plan says. Her supervisor will give her documents that outline how she will teach the class and she goes and does EXACTLY THAT. She doesn't do word searches, games, etc.

The contract states that you have to give 90 days notice or else you're in breach of contract. If you're in breach of contract, you have to reimburse the institute for the provided airfare coming to Korea.

She is the only foreign employee at this school experiencing this. The students complain because they can't understand her. She does have a slight accent so that means that the students actually have to pay close attention to what she's saying. From experience, these students are lazy and don't want to listen or put in any effort in class.

Ah. I misinterpreted the original post, then. Apologies. It does kinda sound like she's being railroaded out in that case.

Unfortunately the end result is effectively the same. She may be getting railroaded, but it's in a way that'll be *VERY* hard to prove. Might be able to make a case to the labor board for no warnings, but it would probably be a tough fight.

It sucks, but it doesn't seem like there's much she can do to produce a good outcome. If she wants to leave before the 2 month window they gave her she's going to be in breach of contract. The general consensus seems to be that punitive clauses like airfare reimbursement are illegal, but fighting it out could cost more (In living expenses while you're waiting for the labor board to investigate) than the cost of the flight.

Couple of suggestions:
1) Check the contract and see what kicks in if *they* terminate. Some contracts include a "We'll pay your return airfare if we fire you" clause. If nothing else, if they terminate her she won't be on the hook for the initial airfare.

2) To be honest, the best solution is probably to work out the 2 month window they gave her. Kinda sucks, but it might be better to get let go than to break contract. Get something from them *in writing* stating that they're terminating her, and a fixed end date. Find out what they mean by "Help find another job", and use whatever help they're going to give her. If *they* terminate her none of the punitive clauses will be valid.

It sounds like the situation is pretty much non-recoverable, so she should be focused on taking the cleanest exit. Frustrating as it might be, that seems to be the "We'll let you stay for two months" route.

If she wants to go home, tell them that, and get the aforementioned notice in writing.

If she wants to stay in Korea, use the "help you get a new job" offer, and get something from them promising a LoR and a decent reference. Start hitting up recruiters.

I'm not really seeing a way for her to leave clean early, unfortunately.




  • Jeter2
  • Veteran

    • 141

    • September 24, 2015, 01:30:35 pm
    • NYC, USA
Re: Paying for Flight Coming to Korea Once Quitting a Hagwon
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2016, 04:54:34 pm »
First, she wasn't given any warnings that she was performing that poorly. She has received conflicting messages. During the first month, she was watched non-stop on CCTV and put under a microscope. During her second month, she didn't receive any communication from her supervisor. It wasn't until the end of August that she was pulled into a meeting with her supervisor and director where she was told, "we're giving you until the end of September to improve although we are confident that you won't improve." She was also told that she has improved little since she started her contract 2 months ago. They also offered to help her find another job at another school etc and let her stay 2 months until she does so.

Then, she was told she hasn't been watched- so how can they come to a conclusion that she has only improved a little?

Then, the supervisor watched her class in person and told her "I'm impressed. You were better than I thought."

This teacher is doing everything in the guidelines because she know she is being watched non-stop. She isn't playing any music videos, she is doing everything the lesson plan says. Her supervisor will give her documents that outline how she will teach the class and she goes and does EXACTLY THAT. She doesn't do word searches, games, etc.

The contract states that you have to give 90 days notice or else you're in breach of contract. If you're in breach of contract, you have to reimburse the institute for the provided airfare coming to Korea.

She is the only foreign employee at this school experiencing this. The students complain because they can't understand her. She does have a slight accent so that means that the students actually have to pay close attention to what she's saying. From experience, these students are lazy and don't want to listen or put in any effort in class.

Ah. I misinterpreted the original post, then. Apologies. It does kinda sound like she's being railroaded out in that case.

Unfortunately the end result is effectively the same. She may be getting railroaded, but it's in a way that'll be *VERY* hard to prove. Might be able to make a case to the labor board for no warnings, but it would probably be a tough fight.

It sucks, but it doesn't seem like there's much she can do to produce a good outcome. If she wants to leave before the 2 month window they gave her she's going to be in breach of contract. The general consensus seems to be that punitive clauses like airfare reimbursement are illegal, but fighting it out could cost more (In living expenses while you're waiting for the labor board to investigate) than the cost of the flight.

Couple of suggestions:
1) Check the contract and see what kicks in if *they* terminate. Some contracts include a "We'll pay your return airfare if we fire you" clause. If nothing else, if they terminate her she won't be on the hook for the initial airfare.

2) To be honest, the best solution is probably to work out the 2 month window they gave her. Kinda sucks, but it might be better to get let go than to break contract. Get something from them *in writing* stating that they're terminating her, and a fixed end date. Find out what they mean by "Help find another job", and use whatever help they're going to give her. If *they* terminate her none of the punitive clauses will be valid.

It sounds like the situation is pretty much non-recoverable, so she should be focused on taking the cleanest exit. Frustrating as it might be, that seems to be the "We'll let you stay for two months" route.

If she wants to go home, tell them that, and get the aforementioned notice in writing.

If she wants to stay in Korea, use the "help you get a new job" offer, and get something from them promising a LoR and a decent reference. Start hitting up recruiters.

I'm not really seeing a way for her to leave clean early, unfortunately.

The termination clause is a bit confusing (at least to me) so here it is

A. The Institute has the right to terminate the Employment for the following terms

Terms of termination ;

ii.The Teacher fails to perform or unsatisfactorily performs any one of the duties stipulated in this agreement.

The Teacher fails to perform duties for more than three (8) consecutive days



The determination that the Teacher is prevented from or incapable of performing his/her duties for a medical reason, whether it is a physical or psychological ailment. (If requested by Institute, the Teacher must be immediately be available for a medical examination.)

Receiving two warning letters.

Criminal behavior or misconduct.

Working or Teaching outside of the Institute.

Breaches of Article 6 " Confidentiality" Defamation of Institute by falsehood

B. The Institute and the Teacher may terminate this employment with a written 90-days notice. Anything less than 90 days will be considered a breach of employment by the Institute or the Teacher unless the employment is terminated for a cause

ii. In the event of early termination of Agreement, the final payment will be given 30 days after the last day of employment.

In the event the Teacher terminates the Agreement, before the end of the contract, the airfare will be reimbursed(deducted from last month pay).