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  • hilsoo
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • December 08, 2015, 08:01:13 am
    • south korea
Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« on: November 16, 2022, 12:47:54 pm »
On facebook there is a group for finding substitutes. Usually a person searching for a substitute will post needed days and will post pay rates. Nearly every single comment on every post is about the pay rate discrepancies. In most cases, the substitute will offer something like 110,000 won to 150,000 won for the day (something like 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm). Anyways, most posts will average out to something like 14K - 20K per hour. Comments on every posts are about how the pay rate is ridiculous and should be at the bare minimum 30K an hour. (which I totally agree with, why wouldn't you want higher pay) I asked myself, why the gap between both the employer and employee. Check my basic math, I could be missing something.

On average (of course some are higher or lower) Let's assume an average Native English Teacher at a hagwon, EPIK, private, uni whatever... makes 2.5 million after taxes or 3.0 million after taxes. (people who have been here longer obviously makes more, If I were to pick a random NET and ask them their salary, I assume their salary would most likely be somewhere between 2.2 - 3.2) 

2,500,000 won per month after taxes divided by 160 work hours per month = 15,625 won per hour.
3,000,000 won per month after taxes divided by 160 work hours per month = 18,750 won per hour.
*8 working hours per day multiply 5 days a week = 40 hours per week. 4 weeks in a month, 40 hours per week times 4 weeks per month = 160 hours a month.

If people were paid the suggested amount of at least 30K per hour after taxes.
30,000 won per hour times 160 work hours per month = 4,800,000 won per month
40,000 won per hour times 160 work hours per month = 6,400,000 won per month

I am not sure how the substituting works in Korea, I have never done it, but I am assuming the NET teacher or the Hagwon or whoever owner will pay the substitute teacher. I don't think the person paying the substitute will want to pay more than the pay rate the original NET teacher is making.

My thoughts, the minimum pay rate of 30K or more is usually for tutoring gigs, which I do on the side on top of my day job. I understand if it is urgent and the employer is looking for someone asap, that they would pay more to cover the classes. Most of these substitute posts are usually for future dates, so urgency should be taken out of the discussion.

My Questions...
Are the substitute teacher's that are asking for higher pay per hour equating the substitute gig as a tutor gig? If so what are the reasons?
Are people making 30K and above per hour after taxes at their normal NET job? If so where and I want in.
What am I missing? I am probably not going to respond to questions, all comments even nasty ones are welcomed, I just want to know what people think about this topic. Cheers.

Side notes...
I'm from the states with a masters in social studies education and I taught in the Philadelphia school district for 2 years before coming to Korea. I substituted for 6 months before I got a contract offer and the pay was shit, like 80 bucks a day (2013). Salary was about 60K Dollars after taxes... yeah... another topic for another day. I am married with a kid, working at one of them schools. Also a gyopo, if that changes people's opinions about this post.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 12:53:03 pm by hilsoo »


  • Bakeacake
  • Expert Waygook

    • 550

    • July 12, 2010, 01:35:40 pm
    • Pohang South Korea
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2022, 01:20:52 pm »
your stable job pays you a salary.  its understood that a stable job is far better than doing gig work and as such, will be payed less, to account for the stability. To work an extra shift as a sub, one would need to go out of their way to accommodate an unknown boss, at an unknown school, with an unknown amount of work with students they are unfamiliar with. It is expected that all of these negative would detract from anyone wanting to actually work a sub position, so the own must make some concession for finding a teaching willing to do this kind of work. A teacher can work a short time gig for 30-50,000 per hour,  so why would they do the same work at a hagwon for a day for any less.

I work an extra job. Its 2 hours in the morning, every day.  For this I'm payed 1.5 mil a month.   I think that works out to about 35,000 per hour.  I was willing to take less than the 40-60 i would normally get for doing gig work because it is so regular, guaranteed, and something that i can grow used to doing.


  • Renma
  • Expert Waygook

    • 506

    • September 01, 2014, 06:09:42 am
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2022, 01:26:32 pm »
As well as what bake said, I don't think working hours and teaching hours should be equated in your math here. No one is working 40 hours a week and teaching every minute of those 40 hours. The substitute is being paid for the classes, not the desk warming time prepping material etc for the year.


  • D.L.Orean
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1090

    • February 25, 2020, 09:34:41 am
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2022, 01:26:47 pm »
your stable job pays you a salary.  its understood that a stable job is far better than doing gig work and as such, will be payed less, to account for the stability. To work an extra shift as a sub, one would need to go out of their way to accommodate an unknown boss, at an unknown school, with an unknown amount of work with students they are unfamiliar with. It is expected that all of these negative would detract from anyone wanting to actually work a sub position, so the own must make some concession for finding a teaching willing to do this kind of work. A teacher can work a short time gig for 30-50,000 per hour,  so why would they do the same work at a hagwon for a day for any less.

I work an extra job. Its 2 hours in the morning, every day.  For this I'm payed 1.5 mil a month.   I think that works out to about 35,000 per hour.  I was willing to take less than the 40-60 i would normally get for doing gig work because it is so regular, guaranteed, and something that i can grow used to doing.

Don't forget, for the salaried employee, the pay also comes with benefits i.e. health insurance, pension, severance, unemployment insurance


Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2022, 06:24:15 pm »
Doing sub work in semi-retirement has floated through my mind over the years. I always thought about setting up a site where, if places needed me, I would travel, do my thing for however long, and go home and wait for the next job. I thought it could be a good way to have a look around, and something a bit interesting. I didn't know there was a facebook  group for it. Learn all kinds of things on here!
Anyway, I always imagined 50,000 won plus per teaching hour (with a certain minimum of contact hours), travel fees, and motel accommodation. If places or people are offering anything less, then how do they get anyone to sub?


  • hilsoo
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • December 08, 2015, 08:01:13 am
    • south korea
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2022, 07:46:29 am »
your stable job pays you a salary.  its understood that a stable job is far better than doing gig work and as such, will be payed less, to account for the stability. To work an extra shift as a sub, one would need to go out of their way to accommodate an unknown boss, at an unknown school, with an unknown amount of work with students they are unfamiliar with. It is expected that all of these negative would detract from anyone wanting to actually work a sub position, so the own must make some concession for finding a teaching willing to do this kind of work. A teacher can work a short time gig for 30-50,000 per hour,  so why would they do the same work at a hagwon for a day for any less.

I work an extra job. Its 2 hours in the morning, every day.  For this I'm payed 1.5 mil a month.   I think that works out to about 35,000 per hour.  I was willing to take less than the 40-60 i would normally get for doing gig work because it is so regular, guaranteed, and something that i can grow used to doing.

This makes total sense from the sub position. (great point btw) I'm not sure how sub works in hagwons or other schools, but my previous experience was, I made the lesson plan for the day, print all the worksheets or whatever the students had to complete. The sub would come in and make sure the tasks get completed. (I never viewed subbing as negative work, more like easy money, just show up and do whatever with no repercussions if I mess up, type of deal) I never asked my sub to create a lesson plan or teach anything "new" or fulfill my extra curricular duties.

Just to play devil's advocate, why would the employer pay more for someone doing "less work". (this is substitute experience from the states talking) For example, if someone had to take over your 2 hours morning class, (assuming you did all the planning and what not) would your employer pay that sub teacher more than what you are getting paid now? (how would that make you feel? just curious) or in some cases, a teacher has to pay the sub teacher, they would never pay someone more than the salary they made that day. (unless they were super desperate) Looking at the market of sub teaching pay, the pay rates are all low pay, most likely because people are still taking low paying sub gigs. (which is why I don't take sub gigs, I rather tutor) If all NET's agreed to not take low paying sub positions, the pay rates would obviously go up, but that is not the case, so this whole thing just got me thinking, That's all. Appreciate your point of view.


  • Lazio
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1048

    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2022, 07:57:34 am »
Yeah, there are plenty of these people around: ''I need a sub for a few days. I make 2.4 million a month so divide that for 20 work days/month, which is 120k a day. I'll pay you cash on your last day''
It's easy to see how this way of calculating is wrong. Let's say someone covers 20 days in a month either at one location, or at multiple ones. So said person ends up earning 2.4 million, while essentially working full time. But that's it, no perks on top of that. No yearly bonus, no health insurance and pension contributions by the employers. No flight reimbursement and no free housing. So it's more accurate to count with at least 3 million instead of 2.4 (and divide that for 20 days)
And then, there is the visa issue. It's not like any random E2 visa holder could sub. legally. And the opportunity cost. Those that substitute are unlikely to do so 20 days a month.

From the other side: the employer wouldn't want to pay more. They already hired someone to work for them at an agreed rate. Why would they pay more than that?
The employee only wants to get away for a couple of days. Why would they need to pay out of their own pocket?

It's not easy to balance both sides. Perhaps a foreign student is willing to take it at a lower rate. I guess one could offer the 150k/day rate that I mentioned above. But if there are no takers, they should be ready to go higher than that.

There are many part-time positions that pay well over 30k/hour. Not tutoring but block hours. With a bit of luck, a number of these positions can be arranged into a full-time schedule. Although, these are not regular NET positions in the sense that an E2 visa holder can't do them. But the work itself is no different from what an E2 visa holder does.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2022, 08:15:52 am by Lazio »


  • Lazio
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1048

    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2022, 12:27:59 pm »
For example, if someone had to take over your 2 hours morning class, (assuming you did all the planning and what not) would your employer pay that sub teacher more than what you are getting paid now?

That's a different case since it doesn't come with any benefits on the top of the pay. It's paid decently and already counted hourly so the sub teacher could just get the same.


  • Savant
  • The Legend

    • 3608

    • April 07, 2012, 11:35:31 pm
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2022, 12:56:52 pm »
Just curious? Is the OP here the same OP who made the original post in that Facebook group?


  • hilsoo
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • December 08, 2015, 08:01:13 am
    • south korea
Re: Pay rate discrepancies... for substitutes...
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2022, 02:11:26 pm »
Just curious? Is the OP here the same OP who made the original post in that Facebook group?

Most likely me, I commented on a post on a sub gig that someone posted. I did not make any other specific post about this topic. That's why I brought the discussion here, bc nobody responded.