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  • geo123
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • July 09, 2020, 03:39:39 am
First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« on: July 09, 2020, 04:29:25 am »
...
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 07:29:50 am by geo123 »


Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2020, 03:01:30 pm »
Generally, a summary of a contract is difficult to go off.  But by the sounds of it, there is enough here to raise a few eyebrows and with the recommendation to wait until you have everything.  Also, during these virus times it's all a bit up in the air regards arriving in Korea and quarantine. 

A few things.  You should get 30 minutes break for every four hours you work.  This time does not include preparation or between class break times and you can do what you want in this time.  I can't tell exactly, but what it seems like is you get lunch with 30 minutes added on. 

A lot of hagwons don't offer sick pay which is crap.  But they legally don't have to.  It's just nice when they do.

The UK pension thing is a crapshoot.  As a Brit myself, I have over 26 000 pounds 'saved up' that I can't get in a lump sum like the other countries.  But I can get it if I live to 62 years old as I've done over ten years.   :cry:

Some hagwons don't offer flights at all.  A one-way is considered the norm.  But I've never heard of you submitting your ticket in the last month.  Usually, it is paid upfront, with something in the contract saying that if you work 6 months/a year then you don't have to pay it back.  It could be that they've done this before and the teacher legged it leaving them a plane ticket out of pocket. 

Also you are never liable for recruitment fees because they can just make up a figure as a penalty which makes it illegal.  And how can they take out a plane ticket from your salary that they haven't reimbursed you for?  Something doesn't sound right with that. 

You don't need to give any notice.  30 days at the most if you're being nice.  The legal issue of notice is with them, they either pay you up for the month or allow you work that month.  But if you sign with 60 days then you should stick to it. 

My advice would be to keep looking.  Use a lot of recruiters, and try not to be charmed by them (most are just out for their commission).  It's exciting getting job offers and dreaming of moving to a different country.  But you need to be realistic.  You want to enjoy your time in Korea and there are a things you can do to make that more possible and one of those is making sure you work situation is right.  Don't jump at the contracts.  Be very selective and think carefully. 

I have different thoughts to others here about salary.  If you can find a 2.1 million, with paid leave/national holidays off and paid, also with government health insurance, decent work schedule, a plane ticket or two thrown in, a decent apartment, no penalty clauses, tax, pension, and a fairly tightly written contract, then go for it.  When those things are missing it's a big minus even if you're getting 2.2+.  Just my opinion on that though.

I'm not sure at the moment how the quarantine works.  Would they allow you to stay in their apartment for two weeks while you are quarantined?  Or would you have to pay for the government one, which would be more expensive?  Also they're very strict with quarantine here.  You'd not be allowed 50 metres from your apartment. 

My advice is wait.  Get other contracts.  This one really doesn't sound like one to be falling over yourself to take.  I was offered and looked at 50+ contracts from a number of recruiters.  I had about 10 interviews.  In the end, I went for public school.  Others will come along, so don't worry. 





  • geo123
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • July 09, 2020, 03:39:39 am
Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2020, 10:33:44 pm »
Generally, a summary of a contract is difficult to go off.  But by the sounds of it, there is enough here to raise a few eyebrows and with the recommendation to wait until you have everything.  Also, during these virus times it's all a bit up in the air regards arriving in Korea and quarantine. 

A few things.  You should get 30 minutes break for every four hours you work.  This time does not include preparation or between class break times and you can do what you want in this time.  I can't tell exactly, but what it seems like is you get lunch with 30 minutes added on. 

A lot of hagwons don't offer sick pay which is crap.  But they legally don't have to.  It's just nice when they do.

The UK pension thing is a crapshoot.  As a Brit myself, I have over 26 000 pounds 'saved up' that I can't get in a lump sum like the other countries.  But I can get it if I live to 62 years old as I've done over ten years.   :cry:

Some hagwons don't offer flights at all.  A one-way is considered the norm.  But I've never heard of you submitting your ticket in the last month.  Usually, it is paid upfront, with something in the contract saying that if you work 6 months/a year then you don't have to pay it back.  It could be that they've done this before and the teacher legged it leaving them a plane ticket out of pocket. 

Also you are never liable for recruitment fees because they can just make up a figure as a penalty which makes it illegal.  And how can they take out a plane ticket from your salary that they haven't reimbursed you for?  Something doesn't sound right with that. 

You don't need to give any notice.  30 days at the most if you're being nice.  The legal issue of notice is with them, they either pay you up for the month or allow you work that month.  But if you sign with 60 days then you should stick to it. 

My advice would be to keep looking.  Use a lot of recruiters, and try not to be charmed by them (most are just out for their commission).  It's exciting getting job offers and dreaming of moving to a different country.  But you need to be realistic.  You want to enjoy your time in Korea and there are a things you can do to make that more possible and one of those is making sure you work situation is right.  Don't jump at the contracts.  Be very selective and think carefully. 

I have different thoughts to others here about salary.  If you can find a 2.1 million, with paid leave/national holidays off and paid, also with government health insurance, decent work schedule, a plane ticket or two thrown in, a decent apartment, no penalty clauses, tax, pension, and a fairly tightly written contract, then go for it.  When those things are missing it's a big minus even if you're getting 2.2+.  Just my opinion on that though.

I'm not sure at the moment how the quarantine works.  Would they allow you to stay in their apartment for two weeks while you are quarantined?  Or would you have to pay for the government one, which would be more expensive?  Also they're very strict with quarantine here.  You'd not be allowed 50 metres from your apartment. 

My advice is wait.  Get other contracts.  This one really doesn't sound like one to be falling over yourself to take.  I was offered and looked at 50+ contracts from a number of recruiters.  I had about 10 interviews.  In the end, I went for public school.  Others will come along, so don't worry.

Hello, thank you for your response!

In regards to the hours of work/lunch break this is all the contract directly states:

"The normal working hours are from 9 - 5:30 (with 30mins break after lunch) Monday through Friday (except public holidays), but may be changed as needed to meet the needs of business. The normal teaching hour is 5 hours per day".

I did email the school asking about if I am entitled any sick days, and they responded I would have 3 paid sick days - but that is of course not directly written on the contract, so who knows if they would keep their word for that?

The pension thing is honestly a joke, I am fuming even just thinking about it   :cry:

The thing about the flight reimbursement being held back to the 12th moth of the 1 year contract - it could be because they are worried a teacher could quit before the contract is completely over - but why would they be worried about a teacher quitting, if they are a reasonable school - right?  I have heard another person say that a school could potentially fire a person before the 12th month, in order to avoid paying them both their severance, and their flight reimbursment - thoughts?

Do you think, just from them stating I would be responsible for the recruiting fees (if I did theoretically happen to quit) alone, is enough to avoid the school?

Another thing I have picked up on since writing the initial post, is the health plan. It states that 50% of the health plan is "provided and adminstrated by" the school itself. Does that mean it is a school plan, and I would not necessarily be enrolled in the national health plan?

I think I probably will decline the offer, despite the recruiter being extremely pushy. As a bit of an introvert and homebody, who likes to recharge at home, the accomodation was really apleasing to me - as it was a new building and extremely nice haha. Also, the working hours did not seem to shabby. However, as you said, 'there is enough to raise a few eyebrows' and the location was not one of my preferences. Better to be safe than sorry?

As I am quite an anxious over-thinker, I was stressed I would not be able to find anywhere better, like I said. However, it was only my first contract offer. Although jobs are limited at the moment, I don't want to travel half way across the world for a position I wouldnt be fairly happy in.

Thank you for your advice!

« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 12:54:53 am by geo123 »


  • KimDuHan
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1339

    • January 15, 2015, 11:48:59 am
    • Seoul
Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2020, 02:39:56 am »
2.1 mil is too low for 2020, 9-5:30 is okay if the hours are not suddenly changed which happens often.

Overtime pay is a pipe dream, hours will change and increase but overtime will not be paid as the new hours will be seen as the normal hours.

Provided mattresses are gross, buy a new one right away! Imagine all the people who've been in the place and in the bed.

Shop around for awhile, you'll get lots of job offers and people will increase wages to get you. Don't take the first offer because you are worried. Most likely the first offer is a school that is desperate and is going under fast!

Lots of people get suckered into a school that is on its last legs. Don't trust current ESL teaches at the school either they may lie just too get out of the school themselves.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2042

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2020, 07:15:32 am »
I have signed and completed 16 hagwon contracts (most of them 1-year, two of them 2-year terms). Here are my thoughts:

1. I turned down the first six offers I ever received until I got one that met my min. req'mts.

2. 9-5 is 8 hours for 5 hours teaching is 3 hours nonteaching every single day. No thanks. Countless after school hagwons require a 4-hour teaching schedule with 30 min. to one hour early attendance.

3. 2.1 vs. 2.2 is really a MINOR consideration in the grand scheme of things. Assured pension? Able to interview current or previous waygook teachers? Accommodation? These are deal breakers.

4. Flight reimbursement scheduling is minor: some waygooks make midnight runs for silly reasons. Hagwons can get gun shy to pay early given college grad greenhorns often run home for non-work condition reasons. Living overseas in a new culture and language alone can be daunting.

5. Make a list of
A) must-haves,
B) wants, and
C) would likes but could do without (shh don't tell anyone).
Then ensure you get all of A and... ideally some of B and C.

6. Whatever you do, expect your first year to be surprising, interesting and only 12 months. If you have a 2- or 3-year plan, the first year here is a great situation to research your second-year more ideal position to get A, B and C (of my last point). Make the most of whatever you do! This IS an adventure!


Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2020, 07:18:19 am »
Hello, thank you for your response!

In regards to the hours of work/lunch break this is all the contract directly states:

"The normal working hours are from 9 - 5:30 (with 30mins break after lunch) Monday through Friday (except public holidays), but may be changed as needed to meet the needs of business. The normal teaching hour is 5 hours per day".

I did email the school asking about if I am entitled any sick days, and they responded I would have 3 paid sick days - but that is of course not directly written on the contract, so who knows if they would keep their word for that?

The pension thing is honestly a joke, I am fuming even just thinking about it   :cry:

The thing about the flight reimbursement being held back to the 12th moth of the 1 year contract - it could be because they are worried a teacher could quit before the contract is completely over - but why would they be worried about a teacher quitting, if they are a reasonable school - right?  I have heard another person say that a school could potentially fire a person before the 12th month, in order to avoid paying them both their severance, and their flight reimbursment - thoughts?

Do you think, just from them stating I would be responsible for the recruiting fees (if I did theoretically happen to quit) alone, is enough to avoid the school?

Another thing I have picked up on since writing the initial post, is the health plan. It states that 50% of the health plan is "provided and adminstrated by" the school itself. Does that mean it is a school plan, and I would not necessarily be enrolled in the national health plan?

I think I probably will decline the offer, despite the recruiter being extremely pushy. As a bit of an introvert and homebody, who likes to recharge at home, the accomodation was really apleasing to me - as it was a new building and extremely nice haha. Also, the working hours did not seem to shabby. However, as you said, 'there is enough to raise a few eyebrows' and the location was not one of my preferences. Better to be safe than sorry?

As I am quite an anxious over-thinker, I was stressed I would not be able to find anywhere better, like I said. However, it was only my first contract offer. Although jobs are limited at the moment, I don't want to travel half way across the world for a position I wouldnt be fairly happy in.

Thank you for your advice!

Hi,

The working hours/lunch thing is still a bit vague, but we can let it pass. 

With the sick days, it's a bit weird as verbal agreements wouldn't really stand up in a dispute.  As it's not a legal requirement to have any sick days, and as it's not in the contract, then if something were to happen they could say, in the worst case scenario, that you have to take it unpaid and really there's nothing you can do about.  That's why these things should be in and signed by both parties.

Yep!  Brits and pension  :cry:

Yeh, the flight thing is a bit weird.  First time I've seen it done that way.  It's not illegal, but it shows a certain lack of trust in the native teacher.  Like I said, a previous teacher could have received it and then legged it mid-contract, so now they're super careful.  Another way to look at it in a worst case scenario is that if you pay to come over, then they decide to fire you soon before the contract is up, then you would be out a flight ticket 600+ quid and the severance too.  Public schools and some hagwons write the proviso that if you complete 6 months then you don't have to pay back the flight.  Which is super nice.  Like you noticed and like I said it's a bit wonky, but not illegal.

The problem with recruiting fees is that it's like a penalty for you, which is illegal under labour law.  A recruitment fee is between the school and the recruiter, not you.  If they don't like you then they can make up a figure and deduct that.  A recruitment fee could be a half a million won plus, which is about 300 quid plus.  I wouldn't say it disqualifies it, but it is a definite red flag. 

As a rule, if you pay (50/50) pension and (50/50) health, then you are signed up the for the proper NHIC (National Health Insurance).  Those are the only two that are linked.  Tax is a separate entity.  Immigration also.  But pension and health insurance are linked.  If a school doesn't state it pays pension in the contract, but says they have some vaguely written health insurance, then that won't be the national health.  It'll be some private health thing, which is not cool.  People sign contracts with these things missing, come here, have a great time and leave.  But if you are unfortunate enough to need these things while you're here, then it can be costly and stressful.  Like you as a Brit, I'm still a bit shocked when I have to pay to get treatment for something.   >:(

The recruiter being pushy is usual.  Due to the virus these days, there are fewer people coming over to work especially with the strict quarantine.  Also, as hagwons have temporarily closed during the virus financially they're not going to be hiring as many until things settle down.  Not from their choice, but parents worried about their kids in the hagwons catching something.  It's a business after all.  Public schools are not do a big hiring push either.  So if a recruiter thinks they've got a sale then they'll push it. 

Don't be pressured into it.  What you're doing is great, take your time, think about it, and be picky.  It's a big decision to move here, and you want to make sure it's right.  It's a strange time to be trying to get work here.  But you have to make sure it's right for you.  Location, job, time.  There will be plenty of other contracts to choose from, so don't worry.  But feel free to ask more questions on here.   ;D


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2042

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2020, 07:23:38 am »
Note: whether you qualify for pension or not is the result of trade agreements made or not made by your home democratic government. If your country gives Korean workers a pension then reciprocal relations are granted.


Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2020, 07:48:01 am »
6. Whatever you do, expect your first year to be surprising, interesting and only 12 months. If you have a 2- or 3-year plan, the first year here is a great situation to research your second-year more ideal position to get A, B and C (of my last point). Make the most of whatever you do! This IS an adventure!

This very true.  Moving here is very exciting.  You step off the plane, you're in a new country, you go to your school, you drink tasty 'coffee mix' and get offered Pocari Sweat, you meet your students.  It's really fun, and a time you'll never forget.  If you stay for a few years, you get the first year under your belt, get experience, find out what you want to do for your second year, and take it from there.  Getting a 2nd year job is much easier in person.  You are very hireable in person.  But take you time deciding on your first contract.  Sometimes, you'll just know it's right when you get it.   


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 4322

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2020, 07:57:47 am »
man, with this whole corona thing going on, i'd definitely try to haggle better wages or conditions


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1349

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: First hagwon contract + VISA advice
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2020, 10:37:51 am »
The best that can be said about that contract is that it is common as dirt.  There is no reason to rush documents or make any kind of concessions for a run of the mill job offer like that.  Understand that recruiters don't have your best interests at heart.  If they get pushy with a job and imply that if you pass this one up there may not be something better coming along delete and move on to another recruiter. 

If they won't pay for the airfare upfront I'd be sure that it is written in you'll be reimbursed your first month.  The more they owe you at the end the more tempting it is to try and find a way to weasel out of it.  I made a hakwan employee buy me the ticket over and he was late on pay the first month and did a runner back to Canada by the third month.  I was the only person who managed to get the salary that was owed to me. Collecting the airfare on top would've been almost impossible since he legitimately went broke.  He wasn't a scumbag.  Just had no business sense.

Pass on this one and take your time.  If you're happy with 2.1 in your first year you'll have plenty of opportunities (barring more covid waves) so research an area you'd like to live and go for that.  Are you a city person or do you want a small town?  Near the coast or mountains?  Bear in mind small Korean towns often lack amenities and charm.  With your first year and taking 2.1 you should be in the driver's seat.