Warning Signs at Schools in Taiwan

Sometimes working at a school in Taiwan isn’t what you thought it would be.


Some warning signs that you may be at an unstable school or working for an untrustworthy employee.

  • Your pay is usually late.
  • There are many unpaid hours.
  • You do not get paid for parties, school openings, etc.
  • All your time should be compensated unless otherwise stated in your contract.
  • You are at a cram school but are salaried (You shouldn't accept a salaried position at a cram school as it often means lots of free hours for them). Salaried positions at a public/private accredited junior high/high school are OK.
  • Your paycheck has money deducted for anything other than taxes and insurance.
  •  • They do not compensate for unusual travel time to another location.
  • They tell you next month you'll get the hours they promised.
  • They want you to invest in the business. Never go into business with a Taiwanese unless you are married to them and even then make sure they don't owe any debts.
  • If you are working a second job, and they tell you they are deducting taxes. This is not possibly false, but also illegal, you have the risk of being deported for violating your work permit, if the job is not listed on your work permit. If the job is not on your work permit, they are simply pocketing the cash. Pay taxes only for the job listed on your work permit.
  • You are paying a main part or all of your health insurance (you are automatically covered in any legal job. Employer pays 80%, employee, 20% -- which should add up to a couple of hundred NT monthly deduction depending on your salary).


Another penalty that you have to look out for is deducting a portion of your hourly pay for being late. I agree with this point if it is proportional to the amount of time that you are late. However some schools may try to deduct you a half an hour or even an hour for being a few minutes late. So, again at the time that you are negotiating your contract is the time to make these adjustments to ensure it's fair for you. Better to be early anyways.


Be careful of agreeing to outside duties and events, such as, graduation ceremonies, parents' days, special events, etc. If you don't discuss and agree to an hourly dollar figure in writing for attending these events you will end up being expected to attend them on your own free time for nothing. Usually attending two events free is acceptable for a year contract. 


Staff meetings are something else to be aware of when signing a contract. Most schools insist on you attending weekly meetings. If you feel that they are asking for too many meetings at times that engross upon your free time, it is a lot easier to negotiate this before the contract is signed. Some schools will offer half pay for this "non-teaching" type of  meeting.

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