Dan's general comments about teaching contracts in Korea: If you do not see at least a few spelling and grammar errors in your contract, I would be amazed. They are not written by high priced lawyers, but rather taken from a sample seen online by the director and has been slightly modified over time as things come up. The Korean contract is a general outline of what the job entails, but will be adhered to in all specific aspects, such as rate of pay, airfare, free housing etc. If there is a problem with an employer, we can help. One of the best ways to prevent problems is to warm up to your supervisor or director from the very beginning. In Korea, it is not as hidden that people who are liked, might be treated more favorably. In case of a minor dispute, try not to show your emotions, since Korean people become offended and will then “get their back up” in defense of their position. It is much better to politely try and find a solution that works for all parties involved, since pulling out the contract at the first sign of difference of opinion will not help the long-term health of your relationship with the director.
SAMPLE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
This contract is made and entered on____________by and between School Name ( hereinafter called "The Employer") and _____________________as an English Teacher (hereinafter called "The Employee"). Both parties agree as follows :
Article 1. EMPLOYMENT OF EMPLOYEE
This Employer wants to employ the Employee to work for the Employer as an English teacher in _City Name_ KOREA
This section is generally quite basic, and would just be outlining the basic job of the employee.
Article 2. PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT
This period of this contract is one year beginning from the date of the Employee's first working day at the institute, Korea.
Starting Working Date:
Finishing Working Date:
Do not be surprised if the contract you’re sent does not have the dates filled in. The reason is because your starting date will often be adjusted slightly, depending on the progress of your E2 visa documents and overall process. The contract should always state that it is 1 year in length.
Article 3. SALARY AND WORKING HOURS
a. The teaching requirement is an average of thirty (30) hours per week (this is purely teaching hours is time spent teaching classes), such average being calculated over each month. Monday through Friday are teaching days except for scheduled public holiday and School holidays. The employee should be in the school 30 minutes prior to the first class.
All contracts must state the normal working hours per week, or month. 30 is the standard amount. Be aware that if you teach less than 30 hours, you always receive your full pay.
All schools will require you to be at school at least 30 minutes in advance, for preparation time.
All employees are expected to attend staff meetings on a regular basis. Meetings, preparation or marking time are not included in the working hours per week in any contract. This is the same if you are a teacher in a western country.
b. The employee will have 10 days holidays. This includes School summer and winter holidays for one year contract period. The Employer shall pay 2.0 million-won(Korean currency) as a gross salary monthly. Payment shall be made once a month. Payment will be made on the 10th of every month UNLESS prior notice is given to the Employer in writing. Income tax (5%) shall be deducted from the gross salary in accordance with the Korean Tax Code.
The contract should always note the vacation time. 10 days, plus national holidays is the norm.
Salary must also be mentioned on every contract. The salary expectations for new teachers to Korea should be in the range of 2.0 to 2.2 or maybe 2.3 million won per month. I would say that 75% of jobs are 2.0 or 2.1. See www.xe.com for conversions. I would be skeptical if the salary is mentioned in anything other than Korean won, since exchange rates can fluxuate and they might be using an old exchange rate for this estimate.
Your pay will always be directly deposited to your Korean bank account (you’ll get this about 2 weeks after you land), in Korean won. Pay will always be on the same day each month, paid on a monthly basis. You’ll have a bank card to withdraw the money. To send money back home, it is easy to wire it home, by bringing your passport, alien card and pay receipt to the bank (as well as a blank check from your bank, for transfer information)
Taxes will always be withdrawn based on the Korean Tax Code. I know there are horror stories out there about this money going directly to the school, but the Korean government has aggressively cut this practice out. The tax rate is between 3.5 and 5%.
Article 4. OVER-TIME PAY
If the Employee works more than 30 hours a week (this is purely teaching hours ie time spent teaching classes), he/she will be paid18,000 Won per hour for the extra hours. This will be paid in addition to the salary at the end of each month.
I find over-time to actually be very rare in most schools in Korea. At most you might have a class or two a week. The range of over-time is between 15,000 and 30,000 won, but most are 20,000 or below. Private lessons pay between 35,000 and 60,000 won each hour, but are illegal and can get you in trouble.
Article 5. POLICIES
The following policies have been established to assist instructors in the regular performance of their duties. The Employer will have the right to dismiss the Employee for clear and frequent neglect of duties under this agreement.
a. The Employer shall request the resignation of the Employee, if the Employee is found to be guilty of gross misconduct in the execution of his/her teaching duties. If this gross misconduct brings a negative effect to the classes, the Employer will dismiss the Employee and shall be free from any responsibility. However, the Employee will be notified in writing to ensure that the Employee is given adequate opportunity to correct the misconduct.
This section sometimes feels a bit strong to applicants, since it seems to favor the employer. Common sense should be used, and if you are not doing anything wrong, there should not be any problems. If you’re unsure, please ask your director.
b. Professional dress and grooming in the word place are essential to maintain the desired reputation. The Employer is responsible for establishing guidelines for professional dress.
As a general rule, Korean people take pride in dressing very nicely and appreciate when employees do the same. I suggest dressing nicer than you think is necessary the first week at school. Bringing at least one shirt and tie for guys is a good idea, for first meetings. Overall appearance is important in Korea, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that if someone is more attractive, they would have a better chance of getting the job. Keep this in mind when sending in your picture, along with your application. It should show you as smiling and warm to children.
c-i. The Employee must behave in a professional manner during the class. The Employee needs to be aware of the differences in the cultural background of Korean students and their expectations of the teachers, when the Employee socializes with them outside the class.
This goes along the same lines as making sure you act professionally, and with maturity in the classrooms at all times. If you’re not sure, please ask your director if something is appropriate. As a general rule I find teachers and students more open, and affectionate in Korea.
c-ii. The Employer will give full training to the New Employee. The Employer will be responsible for the training of the following:
1) Teaching methods. ie. teaching students
2) Cultural differences. And any other points that are related to the teaching at School.
The amount of training is not only dependant on your school, but also the urgency of you starting in the classroom. Generally I find the training to be quite casual, but some schools take it more seriously. You’ll always get to shadow a current teacher, so it sort of depends on how much effort that person puts into helping you.
If a school hires you on an ASAP basis (as soon as your E2 visa is complete), prepare yourself in advance to start the day after you arrive. This might be because the school is without a teacher in some classes, and needs you to help right away.
d. The Employee should attend all staff meetings as requested by the Director. If the Employee needs to be absent, the Employee must inform the Director or Assistant Director Prior to the meeting.
Standard in every contract.
e. The Employee is required to interview new students and evaluate their placement level.
This is pretty standard with all jobs, even though it might not be in the contract. They are basic interviews you do to determine a new student’s level, so the school knows which class to put them in. (Remember, in Korea, all kids, in all classes are grouped based on ability. This does a great job of keeping kids grouped together so all students are at least at a similar level)
f. The Employee shall return all instructional and related material to the institute following completion of each session. The Employee may retain adequate materials to prepare for future class sessions.
Even if not in the contract, this would be expected. Taking a textbook home to prepare is fine, but of course at the end of your contract, all materials would be returned to the school.
g. The Employee shall adhere to prepared teaching materials for each class and always be honest and diligent in teaching students in all classes.
Standard in all contracts. With almost all schools, the majority of your curriculum is laid out for you. You might want to expand on a lesson by adding a worksheet, or even review homework as long as it helps the students learn the material.
h. The Employee shall agree not to teach at any other institute and place without permission of the Immigration Office.
This is Korean law, and states you can’t teach at any location, other than the school you’re contracted with. If you want to teach at a second location (another school, or in someone’s home) you would need to get written permission from the Immigration Office. I have found most schools will not allow you to work at a 2nd school, since they worry it would drain the teacher’s energy too much, and their main school would suffer. That being said, private lessons are quite common, but should never, ever be mentioned around your school.
i. If the Employee seeks release from the contract for cultural differences, homesickness or personal problem, the Employee should report to the Employer. In this case, the Employee has to agree to work until the new instructor has arrived (Not more than 3months). And the Employee should return the airfare, received from the Employer if the Employee should return the airfare, received from the Employer if the Employee has worked not more than 6 months. The Employee would be responsible for the return ticket.
This is critically important for all applicants to be aware of. If something is not going right with your school, or you just want to return to the comforts of your own country, we need to make sure you’re planning this openly, and in advance with your school. We always have teachers looking for jobs, so we can work with you, and your school to find a replacement before you leave. 3 months is a long time to wait, it would normally be a maximum of only 2 months. If you leave without warning, it is not fair to anyone involved – not the school, the students, the parents who expect you to teach their kids, or us at Teach ESL Korea.
In regards to airfare, basically the first 6 months are working toward your flight TO Korea. If you work at least 3-4 months, the school will most likely be fine to still cover this flight to Korea. The 2nd half of your contract is working towards your flight home. If you leave between the 6th and 11th month, you will not receive any of your flight back to your country paid for.
j. The Employee will agree to prepare all class lessons in advance such as lessons materials, photocopies et cetera. Staff meeting, report writing, telephone interviews, student interviews, open class, talent show, excursions, seminars and any teaching related by the Employer which do not incorporate into teaching hours, These roles are part if teaching preparation and teaching requirements ~ extra payment, not given.
As explained above, this just outlines some extra duties expected of teachers, at all schools in Korea. I find the volume of such requests to be rather low, but it does depend on the school.
Article 6. BENEFITS
a. Accommodation : the Employer will arrange accommodation in mutual agreement with the Employee. The 'Employer will arrange and pay for a fully furnished accommodation for the period of the contract, and the Employee shall pay living expenses including electricity, water, gas, oil, phone bills etc. The Employee can share a furnished apartment with other teachers or can stay in a furnished apartment alone.
The apartment will be a studio apartment, properly furnished with a TV, bed, covers and sheets, dresser, gas range, small fridge and freezer, private bathroom, usually a table and 2 chairs. Optional items might be an A/C unit, a washing machine and maybe things like a vacuum or other goodies left by the teacher you’re replacing.
The employee will always pay the utilities. You can easily get high speed internet in your apartment, once you obtain your “Alien Registration Card” about 2 weeks after you arrive in Korea. (Before this, there are PC rooms on almost every corner with high quality computers to email your mom and tell her you miss her)
Many schools will have some type of deposit that is withheld from your first month, or first 3 months’ salary. The most this should ever amount to is 600,000 won. I have never had a problem with this not getting returned to a teacher in good order after the contract is finished.
b. Health and Travel Insurance : Medical(Health) accident and Travel insurance will be offered to the Employee. The annual payment will be spilt between the Employee (the Teacher) and the Employer(The Institute). For further details with regard to your insurance refer to your insurance guide book.
This is standard in all contracts, and all schools must provide this service. The contribution for each party is around 70,000 won each month, and covers all medical expenses or prescriptions, excluding dental and eye-care (which are both inexpensive in Korea)
c. Travel allowance: The return airfare will be provided only after the completion of the one year contract.
Standard in all contracts.
d. The Employer's renewal of contract
1) The Employer reserves the option to renew the contract, provided that the Employee agrees to the renewal.
2) The Employer will give the Employee 60-days notice before renewal or non-renewal of the Employee's current contract.
e-i . If the Employee agrees to renew his/her contract or complete his/her one
year contract, severance pay of one month's salary will be paid to the Employee.
e-ii. Severance pay will ONLY be paid to the Employee after completion of the
one year contract.
These would all be standard in every Korean contract, even if not clearly explained.
The severance bonus is Korean Law, and amounts to one month’s salary to be paid to the employee, at the end of the 12 month contract.
Article 7. GOVERNING LAW AND JURISDICTION
Any dispute arising under or in connection with this contract shall be submitted to
binding arbitration to be conducted in Korea in accordance with the related Korean Regulations and Codes. The parties agree to comply with all applicable laws in their
performance of this Agreement.
Standard in all contracts.
In WITNESS WHERE OF the parties have caused this contract to be executed as of the date of this contract.
|Employe's Signature||Employee's Signature|