Read 2528 times

Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« on: September 14, 2011, 08:41:02 pm »
I'm just curious if this is a quirk of Korean contract law, or if my MoE and school are trying to pull a fast one on me.

I have a fairly standard public school contract (Ulsan) and a bad relationship with my English Head Teacher. I was told that I would have to come in on Wednesday even though the school was closed to practice with students. I was informed that the MoE said that the school can at their discretion have me work the 22 class hours in the three days of this week, even though Monday and Tuesday were national holidays.

Is this legitimate? I thought holidays counted as days worked, as did paid sick leave. 


  • plchron
  • Super Waygook

    • 262

    • July 20, 2011, 10:24:04 am
    • Ulsan
Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2011, 06:30:58 am »
i am in ulsan. I had to go to work on wed. also. No one was there but me. They haven't said anything about work hours changing though.

IF your relationship is already bad, don't let them shaft you. And when they tell you that MOE says something is the way it is then it is probably BS. MOE makes it clear that the principle at each school is the one in charge of opinions related to anything not explicitly stated in the contract. Go outside the fake hierarchy meant to control us as employees and contact MOE yourself.

They even told us that if our relationship with our school is bad that we can switch schools. I guess some schools still don't have a foreigner.


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2011, 09:47:06 am »
Since the contract is 22 teaching hours per week, yes.  In theory, the school could ask you to teach 22 hours of classes in the three days.  They're not asking you to make up the work time missed (9 - 5) on the Monday and Tuesday holiday; it sounds like they're asking you to make up the lesson time (ie. half the average working day) to avoid missed lessons.   

If they're asking you to make up the full working day (9 - 5) for Monday and Tuesday, then you're being shafted but if it's just the teaching/class part of it, it's not unreasonable and it's quite common for schools in general (not only in Korea) to request this.   


Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2011, 10:52:05 am »
It sounds legit to me.  Kinda sucks for you, but legit.

Technically, yes, we were supposed to be at school yesterday (Only Monday and Tuesday were the National holidays), but some schools were kind and said their Native teachers could stay home.
It's times like this where having a "good relationship" with the school is helpful. 

If you were asked to spend the time with the students, well, it's time you would have otherwise spent deskwarming.  Something to do anyway.  :)

Cheer up!  And work on that relationship with your school....winter deskwarming is not far away....;)


  • Yu_Bumsuk
  • The Legend

    • 2341

    • March 03, 2011, 02:10:36 pm
    • Hicksville, ROK
Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2011, 11:35:05 am »
Oh yea, I forgot to mention. Making you come in on Wednesday is legit. It's just really lame. I'm guessing you won't be re-signing at that school.

Yeah this. They could make a teacher teach a total of 22 periods Wed.-Fri. legally. It would be a very clear signal that they didn't want to re-sign you, however.


  • daveb
  • Super Waygook

    • 284

    • March 07, 2011, 10:08:52 am
Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 12:28:06 pm »
They are being harsh for sure. Contractually, they probably can make you work the 22 lessons - or most of it. Did you do anything to p@ss off your school??


Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 01:50:41 pm »
To answer your basic questions:

Yes, my school hates me. The vice principal is one of those xenophobic types that does not want a native teacher. Somehow I got on the head English teacher's bad side (we were on really good terms until sometime in the middle of the Spring semester. I have no idea exactly what happened, because the politics at this place are really complicated.) The contract conversation teacher has similar problems, but not as severe.

No, I never had any intention of re-signing and I have at this point exactly 11 days to go until I finish my contract and get my sweet sweet freedom.

More specific things:

plchron - Are you EPIK? I'm a direct hire, and at the change in semesters last year my main coteacher fought to get me placed in a different school, but Ulsan MoE said that they do not move people. If it was an option, I would have done it a long time ago.

Rusty - Oh, I know. I was only complaining about the hours, not coming in on the Wednesday.

twitch - Since my original main coteacher left, I have never been allowed to deskwarm in the traditional sense.



  • plchron
  • Super Waygook

    • 262

    • July 20, 2011, 10:24:04 am
    • Ulsan
Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 03:33:36 pm »
i came in with Ulsan MOE. Finished orientation 2 weeks ago. We were told if there were serioius problems then we could switch, also if you want to stay in the district for a second year you can switch also. BUt it might be that you have to talk directly to MOE. The big hiring cycle just finished 2 weeks ago, with about 30 fromm my group and an unknown number from EPIK coming into town. I think that there might still be some schools that don't have foriegners if you are trying to stay in the area. PM me if you want to stay in the district. I wrote down some MOE people's phone numbers.

If you do decide to stick around, i can only imagine the conversation your new boss will have with your old boss.


Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 03:59:07 pm »
plhcron, that's good to know that the policy's changed. I actually have an EU residence permit waiting for me, so I have no desire to stay in Korea, but thank you for the offer!

I've called the MoE numerous times and spoken to a certain official, who told me her job was not to help me resolve my problems, but to keep my principal and vice principal happy. Or another official yesterday, when I asked what to do in a certain situation, told me to "Learn Korean".


  • Janitor
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 956

    • June 14, 2010, 02:01:32 pm
    • Ulsan
Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2011, 09:04:51 am »
i came in with Ulsan MOE. Finished orientation 2 weeks ago. We were told if there were serioius problems then we could switch, also if you want to stay in the district for a second year you can switch also. BUt it might be that you have to talk directly to MOE. The big hiring cycle just finished 2 weeks ago, with about 30 fromm my group and an unknown number from EPIK coming into town. I think that there might still be some schools that don't have foriegners if you are trying to stay in the area. PM me if you want to stay in the district. I wrote down some MOE people's phone numbers.

If you do decide to stick around, i can only imagine the conversation your new boss will have with your old boss.

I have been with the Ulsan MOE since 2009 and I can only hope to shed some light on this situation. When you speak of "serious problems" those are taken to the most literal meaning of the word "serious" This situation is not serious in the Ulsan MOE's mind, it is just uncomfortable and for that, they don't really care and they believe that it is something that you should and can resolve by yourself and at your school.

Further more, I know a lot of the new people that have come here recently have this notion that the MOE or even EPIK can solve your day to day problems but the reality is that unless it is something glaringly nasty the MOE never steps in and if they do they usually mess things up quite a bit and probably make tons more paper for everyone involved.

As for the 22 hours thing, they have recently started enforcing the 22 hours to the extreme. A note about a month ago came down from the Ulsan MOE stating that all schools must work their waygooks to the fullest extent of their contracts. Now, make a note that most contracts only state that you will work "a maximum" of 22 hours. So the MOE took that as all foreigners must work 22 hours and forced the schools to make up classes and do whatever to get the numbers up. I myself had to make up 4 hours of class a week.

Coming to work on Wednesday is rough. I know a lot of teachers in the area that had to come in. Sometimes the schools just follow everything to the letter without regard for the logic. They are not paid to think, only to follow what the higher ups say. So these gray areas are tough for them and it is easier (in their minds) for you to come rather than check and see if it is ok.

As for the relationships, I can only advise you to turn on the charm a bit. I know that you are leaving soon so it probably won't matter but if you are staying in the area, please do. A simple gift of ginseng or tea... maybe some booze will go a long way especially when you are leaving. Trust me, I have been working in Ulsan since 2003 and this works so well.

Also note that tattling to the MOE does not make a happy work place. Basically, when the foreign teacher calls in, another call is made back to the school asking why the foreign teacher is calling. This is not a call that is in your best interests either. Please handle your affairs with your school before jumping on the phone.   I know at the orientation they told you many wonderful things but the truth is that once you are placed in your school, that is where you do your business and the MOE would rather you keep it there.


Re: Hours Worked Per Week and National Holidays/Sick Leave
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2011, 09:24:32 am »
Fantastic post, janitor. I might print this and leave it in the desk for my replacement.

The only thing the MoE has been helpful with has been money issues. (My vice principal decided she was going to take a 500k won deposit that wasn't in my contract out of my last paycheck, the MoE told them they can't because that's only in the 2011 contract -- end of story)

If I knew then what I know now, I would never have called them except for that issue.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 09:28:55 am by Maple Leaves »