There are full time contract and part time contract agreements between teachers and schools.
Full time contracts usually mean that a school is sponsoring an Alien Resident Card for the teacher. Each ARC time period is 365 days. If a school hires a teacher and provides the teacher with a full time schedule (minimum 14 hours/week) , the school will most likely provide an ARC for that teacher. A teacher may work at up to two establishments with one ARC in order to meet a 30 hour/week full time schedule.
If you get an ARC with a school, you are expected to stay with that school for a full year. Each school will draw up their own contract details, guidelines, bonuses, etc. If you do not finish a contract or suddenly leave your ARC school, the school will most likely cancel your ARC immediately as they are paying taxes and part of the teacher’s health insurance benefits.
Part time contracts are technically not legal unless the school is not providing a full time 30 hour/week schedule. In this case a teacher may work at a 2nd school with the same ARC thus using the teaching hours at both schools to create a full time teaching schedule.
Other part time contracts do not involve an ARC and are up to the discretion of the teacher and school. These are most likely illegal in the eyes of the Taiwan government. However, they are necessary as many schools need a foreign teacher but can’t provide full time hours.
One note: If you are working part time for cash, the school should NOT be taking any taxes out of your salary. The agreement is technically an “under the table” one.
Can you break a teaching contract at a Taiwan English school?
Contracts can be broken at English schools in Taiwan. However, if you break a contract with a school that has given you an Alien Resident Certificate, there may be consequences.
Your ARC school has provided you with a work permit and thus is paying for a portion of your National Health Insurance in addition to their own taxes for having a foreign employee. If you have an ARC with a school and you cancel your agreement with them (or they with you), they will in most cases contact the government to notify them that you are no longer an employee at their establishment. Once this has been done, the ARC holder has 14 days to leave the country according to the cancellation date.
As far as specific school contracts are concerned, there is no legal “penalty fee” for abandoning a contract. If you are leaving your school, it is best to do it on good terms so as you receive your final pay etc. Also, you may need your school to cooperate in helping you transfer your ARC to a new place of work.
In addition, a school may ask you for some tax money if you have not stayed in Taiwan for over 183 days. This depends on what tax rate you have been paying. For more on taxes in Taiwan, visit our EIT Taiwan Taxes Page.
If you feel you have been unfairly treated by an employee or school, foreign workers may file a complaint at the Foreign Affairs office where their ARC was processed.