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  • norbert
  • Waygookin

    • 10

    • October 14, 2011, 09:35:45 am
    • Seoul
hagwon circling the drain
« on: July 17, 2012, 06:10:04 pm »
My hagwon is not doing well financially. They haven't paid my rent or utilities in a few months.  They've been having trouble getting monthly wages to all their teachers on time.  Three teachers who got fired months ago still haven't been paid all that they are owed. 

Given this situation, I'm worried that when I finish my contract and go home in three months, I won't get my airfare or severance.  And of course after I go home, I won't really be able to deal with things personally since I won't be in Korea.  Is there anything that I can do now to make the situation easier later? 


  • lotte world
  • The Legend

    • 2272

    • August 22, 2011, 09:00:38 pm
    more
Re: hagwon circling the drain
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 06:14:52 pm »
My hagwon is not doing well financially. They haven't paid my rent or utilities in a few months.  They've been having trouble getting monthly wages to all their teachers on time.  Three teachers who got fired months ago still haven't been paid all that they are owed. 

Given this situation, I'm worried that when I finish my contract and go home in three months, I won't get my airfare or severance.  And of course after I go home, I won't really be able to deal with things personally since I won't be in Korea.  Is there anything that I can do now to make the situation easier later?

Yes.  Leave.

If you don't plan on coming back to Korea then after you receive your next pay get on a plane and go.

Your worries about not getting airfare or severance are probably justified.

Here's the clincher- call the Pension Office and ask them if your pension deductions have been submitted to them.  Same with the tax office.


  • norbert
  • Waygookin

    • 10

    • October 14, 2011, 09:35:45 am
    • Seoul
Re: hagwon circling the drain
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 09:30:51 pm »
Well to begin with, I'm definitely not in the pension plan.  It's not in my contract.  I've heard that depending on how the hagwon lists you as an employee (i.e. hourly vs salary worker or something like that), they aren't required to pay into your pension?  But I might be wrong, and info about that is certainly welcome as well =p

But aside from that, I'm being kinda picky because ideally I'd like to just stay at my current job until my contract ends in October, go to Thailand for a month, and be home for Thanksgiving.  I've already bought my plane tickets.  If I move to another hagwon I won't get any severance or any reimbursement for flights, I'll have to deal with finding a new job and probably a new apartment, transferring my visa, etc.  If I stay where I am, the business will probably limp along at least until my contract is over, at which point there is a (slight) chance I'll get (some) of my airfare and severance, and I won't have to deal with the added stress of moving, finding a job, and all of that. 

So really I guess my question is, more specifically, what can I do to make sure that I get paid without having to leave my job.  For example, if I have to go to the labor board to settle salary issues, how does that process work from overseas, and is there anything I can do to speed that process up before it even gets started?

BTW thanks for the advice, Troglodyte and lotte world. It's definitely good advice.  I'm just being stubborn


  • lotte world
  • The Legend

    • 2272

    • August 22, 2011, 09:00:38 pm
    more
Re: hagwon circling the drain
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 09:41:48 pm »
Well you seem to have your eyes open and you know what's coming.

I see nothing wrong with your plan if you are truly aware that you may not get the pay at the end.  Maybe your boss will shaft someone else to get the money to pay you (for I-don't-know-what-reason).  Remember, when you rob Peter to pay Paul, Paul never complains.

You can't guarantee you will get paid (this is true for *everything* in life).  You already have your flight out sorted, so you won't be trapped.

My advice is to save harder now so you can have some fun in Thailand even if you don't get paid.

Oh, and I strongly believe everyone has to pay into the pension plan, but I don't have evidence.  Have you had tax deducted?  What about health insurance?


  • norbert
  • Waygookin

    • 10

    • October 14, 2011, 09:35:45 am
    • Seoul
Re: hagwon circling the drain
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 12:07:34 am »
I'm not on the national health insurance plan, but 35,000 won/month is being deducted from my paycheck  8)  I was told I have some tourist health insurance or something.  They said it covered me in case of any accidents, and gave me some other details which I've forgotten.  My coworker got some infection at some point and she never complained about the care that she received, so I've never really questioned anything (foolishly! apparently).

3.3% tax is being deducted from my paycheck.  Now whether or not that money is actually going to the tax office...

For whatever its worth, my contract itself is called an "employment contract" and I'm only referred to as an "instructor."  A pension would be great, but obviously I'm not clear about whether or not I am eligible for one, and if I am, how to get one from the school at this point. 

And I would hate to have to appoint someone to take care of the pain in the ass that my unpaid salary will be ><


Re: hagwon circling the drain
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 07:52:23 am »
Everyone is suppose to be in the pension plan. Here is a site that explains things well and the actual site where you can find things for yourself.

http://www.korea4expats.com/article-pension-obligations-rights.html

http://english.nps.or.kr/jsppage/english/act/act_01.jsp


  • amoonbot
  • Veteran

    • 192

    • November 15, 2010, 08:59:54 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: hagwon circling the drain
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 06:01:05 pm »
A lot of hagwons get away with not paying pension by putting their workers on an hourly wage basis. It's a very typical trait among these places, so that they don't have to pay any extra money.

If you haven't already, I would get a Korean version of your contract and have a Korean friend translate it for you. If this ever becomes a labor board issue, it's the Korean version that has any weight in the argument. There have been many cases where the English version has been vaguely translated from the original, Korean version causing many problems between the employee and employer.

Back to the hourly vs. salary debate. Regardless of being an E-2 Visa, if an employee is on an hourly basis, the hagwon can argue that they are a "part-timer" or "independent contractor". It doesn't matter how many hours you put it on a weekly or monthly basis, it matters how you get paid. I remember interviewing for a large hagwon chain a few months back and the lady told me that since I will be on hourly, they won't pay any pension or medical.  ::) That was my signal to walk out the door.

Since you have only three months left, there's no point in finding another job because most jobs require a one year commitment. Of course, you can go ahead and skip town after three months, but as you said, it's a hassle going through visa transfers, housing relocation, etc. Troglodyte gave good advice. Be very careful with how you handle your boss. Do not come off as threatening but rather friendly. Don't give them a reason to fire you early. However, a lot of times, financially difficult institutions have a habit of giving their teachers the boot last minute, so be prepared for anything.


  • Cereal
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1239

    • March 16, 2011, 12:51:55 pm
    • Earth
    more
Re: hagwon circling the drain
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 10:24:30 am »
I think lotteworld gave you sound advice. It's sad to say but I can see you getting shafted by your hogwon and then getting stuck with the bills for your apartment too.

It may be wisest to cut your losses and bounce. I feel for you, your situation stinks.
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."
Bakunin