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Contract question - housing
« on: May 01, 2012, 08:02:45 am »
Hey all,

let me preface my quesion with a little background info.  My girlfriend and I have been teaching at nearby schools since last September and are thinking about resigning again this year.  While our schools are a mere 5 minutes apart by bus, our apartments are actually in different towns, so I  always just stay at her place as it's a bit bigger and bus it to school (never even got internet or cable at my other place).  When we came, we didn't know how close we be, and decided against taking the housing allowance just in case commuting would be impossible.  Anyway, now we're engaged and want to have the housing arangement be more convenient for us - either by moving my apartment to the other town for extra storage or by taking the housing allowance for the extra cash (I know a bigger, shared apartment is probably out of the question).  When I asked about this, though, I was told the principal's response was that "it's too expensive to move". 

Up to this point, I've done everything this school has asked of me; I teach extra hours (27 a week with after school classes) and grade English writing journals from all the second and third graders each week (usually around 500 journals).  For their part, the school has also been fairly flexible in the past as well, so this absolute denial is a little schocking.  The princiapl has repeated many times that I am the best English teacher they've ever had, yet the fact that he's completely denying doing anything here when I'm wanting to resign with his school is a little insulting. 

Sorry for the book.  In any case, what are my options in terms of the contract?  I know it says that housing is up to the employer, but don't I at least have the option of taking the cash rather than an apartment?  Is he able to deny me that?

Thanks for any help.


  • lotte world
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Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 08:26:36 am »
Firstly, it's "re-signing".  "Resigning" means something different.

Secondly, yes, he can, although you do have leverage and could apply to a different school, or at least threaten to- it would cost them a lot more money and effort to replace you, especially if you are good.

Thirdly, why not have your fiancee ask for the housing allowance from her school and you can live together in your apartment?

I'm not at all sure why your principal said no, since the contract on your place will probably be annual, and it costs nothing to let it lapse and just give you the money.  There must be another reason, but, he's the boss.  Try again later.


  • JahRhythm
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Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 08:42:48 am »
Hey all,

let me preface my quesion with a little background info.  My girlfriend and I have been teaching at nearby schools since last September and are thinking about resigning again this year.  While our schools are a mere 5 minutes apart by bus, our apartments are actually in different towns, so I  always just stay at her place as it's a bit bigger and bus it to school (never even got internet or cable at my other place).  When we came, we didn't know how close we be, and decided against taking the housing allowance just in case commuting would be impossible.  Anyway, now we're engaged and want to have the housing arangement be more convenient for us - either by moving my apartment to the other town for extra storage or by taking the housing allowance for the extra cash (I know a bigger, shared apartment is probably out of the question).  When I asked about this, though, I was told the principal's response was that "it's too expensive to move". 

Up to this point, I've done everything this school has asked of me; I teach extra hours (27 a week with after school classes) and grade English writing journals from all the second and third graders each week (usually around 500 journals).  For their part, the school has also been fairly flexible in the past as well, so this absolute denial is a little schocking.  The princiapl has repeated many times that I am the best English teacher they've ever had, yet the fact that he's completely denying doing anything here when I'm wanting to resign with his school is a little insulting. 

Sorry for the book.  In any case, what are my options in terms of the contract?  I know it says that housing is up to the employer, but don't I at least have the option of taking the cash rather than an apartment?  Is he able to deny me that?

Thanks for any help.

What EXACTLY does your contract say?
How can anyone else advise you on what your boss can deny you if we can't see your contract?  ???
In all the jobs I worked, yes you had the option to take the supplied housing or a housing allowance, and they could not deny you that choice, but you had to make that decision before signing the contract or re-signing (can't change your mind in middle of contract).
If I were you, both of you should re-sign and both take the housing allowance. Find a place on your own. With 2 combined housing allowances you'd be able to get a pretty nice place with extra for utilities/household expenses each month.
Of course, you'd probably need the deposit money, but depending on where you live and what kind of place you're looking at it might not be too much.
We teach EFL not ESL. Hagwon and "Private School" are not synonymous. Not everyone works in either a hagwon or public school. Immigration Question? Call 1345.


  • lotte world
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Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 08:52:24 am »
In EPIK the decision to take the housing allowance must be made with mutual agreement (section 12.3). In GEPIK this does not seem to be the case (section 13.4), and the employee may choose.  So, yes, read your contract.


Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 09:08:32 am »
I'm on a GEPIK contract, sorry for not mentioning this before.  Also, no, I'm not looking to change anything until a new contract year begins.  The contract says two completely opposing things.  First, "The Employer shall decide on the type of housing and whether to provide the Employee with housing or a rent subsidy".  Second, "If the Employer is not able to provide housing for the Employee or if the Employee decides to find housing on their own, the Employer shall provide the Employee with 400,000 KRW per month, as a rent subsidy, in lieu of the housing agreement set forth in the foregoing 1".  The first quote suggests it is all up to the school, while the second one seems to be leaving that decision up to me.  As I am deciding to find housing on my own, according to this contract, he shouldn't be able to force me to stay in an apartment that I'm not using. 

As for your other question, her apartment is bigger and is in a bigger town (a 동 as opposed to a 리).  Her place is a 2 minute walk from a subway station, an emart and a movie theater; my apartment is next to a garbage filled stream and "chickinthehome".  You're also right in assuming that the contract is annual, so there is no problem there.  Aside from the cost of moving the furniture, the other excuse I got was that the school maintainance people would be "mad" that they had to move the 5 pieces of furniture in my apartment. 

Sorry, but "he's the boss" isn't a reason I'm willing to accept.

@Jahrhythm, we're considering doing that, but getting the housing money instead of the apartment would be the first step.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 09:14:57 am by streamside »


  • lotte world
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Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 09:22:31 am »
I'm on a GEPIK contract, sorry for not mentioning this before.  Also, no, I'm not looking to change anything until a new contract year begins.  The contract says two completely opposing things.  First, "The Employer shall decide on the type of housing and whether to provide the Employee with housing or a rent subsidy".  Second, "If the Employer is not able to provide housing for the Employee or if the Employee decides to find housing on their own, the Employer shall provide the Employee with 400,000 KRW per month, as a rent subsidy, in lieu of the housing agreement set forth in the foregoing 1".  The first quote suggests it is all up to the school, while the second one seems to be leaving that decision up to me.  As I am deciding to find housing on my own, according to this contract, he shouldn't be able to force me to stay in an apartment that I'm not using. 

Ok, well your problem may be crystallised by the *next* contract.  The wording of your current contract has no effect on the next one, which will be the one that dictates how housing will be handled.  The contract wording changes subtly every year, so watch out for that.

Sorry, but "he's the boss" isn't a reason I'm willing to accept.

You can quit any time.


Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 09:26:41 am »

Ok, well your problem may be crystallised by the *next* contract.  The wording of your current contract has no effect on the next one, which will be the one that dictates how housing will be handled.  The contract wording changes subtly every year, so watch out for that.


This is the 2012 contract, not the one I signed in 2011.  I appreciate the responses, but I'm looking for some clarification on what is or is not possible here.  The contract dictates what is or is not out of the question, not the principal.  I understand that he is able to decide where my apartment is and I'm not going to debate that with him since it's in the contract.  However, this housing allowance issue is not clearly stated and I'm trying to figure out whether that is a decision I can make for myself.  I also don't want to quit; I like this school and I like Korea. 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 09:37:11 am by streamside »


  • lotte world
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Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 09:40:39 am »
Ah, you are *about* to sign the contract.

Well, as I said, you have leverage.  It would be a lot of effort for them to find a replacement, especially if your current contract ends quite soon.  You could agree to pay movers to move your 5 pieces of furniture (which you don't use or want) which is actually stated in clause 13.3.

It's possible that if your contract is ending soon that the school already set up a new lease on that apartment in anticipation of you (or someone else) working at the school.  Sucks if they did that without consulting you, but it would explain why the principal says it's too expensive (since they would be breaking the lease just as it started).

If they won't budge then you're no worse off than before, but it would be nice to get an extra 400k/mo.

Good luck.


  • Mark van
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    • February 04, 2011, 10:55:24 am
    • Busan, Korea
Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 09:46:42 am »
You need to be tactful when handling this type of situation. I've heard through others that sometimes public school teachers are placed at certain schools because of their decision to take housing or not. Some PS have pre-existing housing contracts used by native teachers that go work there. So """maybe""" your school might not want to give you a housing allowance after you next contract. Yes, our contracts don't have continuity so technically we should be given the choice, but sometimes schools only do things a certain way.

If possible do what JahRhythm said (I do they same). Just be warned it can be damn expensive getting all your own stuff (bed, fridge, washing machine, aircon?, couch).

Don't kick up a fuss at school, always stay friendly. Politely say that you'd need to transfer schools if a housing allowance isn't an option. You'll need your school as reference for a very long time so don't burn any bridges. Or just stay and go without the extra money. Do what makes you happy :)


Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 10:20:08 am »
@lotte world, Thanks for the idea.  It had occurred to me to offer to pay for movers, but the fact that it's in the contract might make the principal feel better. 

@Mark van, The cost is what is probably going to keep us from doing just that.  We have agreed that after the second year it will probably be time to move on and paying so much for key money just doesn't seem to make much sense.

Thanks for the help guys.


  • Mark van
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    • February 04, 2011, 10:55:24 am
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Re: Contract question - housing
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2012, 07:31:28 am »
streamside there are costs but it's not that bad. I stay in a really big expensive apartment building and my partner and I paid 10mil each for a key deposit. We were lucky because all the other similar places in Busan were 45mill won key deposit! But if you want a nice 3 bedroom in a not so tall building you could get away with 5mill total or 5mill each and you get it back. After a year in Korea you should have that lying around :P :P

Also, moving costs aren't expensive at all unless you need a truck with a lift. I stay on the 12th floor so I think the movers charged around 200,000won just for the lift. But again if you get a room on the 3rd-4th the moving costs aren't much. If you use an agent then the agent fee should also be very small.

The most important thing is to be happy for another year so don't worry only about the money. Goodluck!