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Breach penalties and teaching contracts in China


roddy
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When teachers sign contracts in China, they usually sign a standard, Foreign Experts Bureau issued, contract. This contract includes a clause on breach penalties of, if I remember correctly, up to USD2000 if either contract ditches the contract early.

Has anyone ever heard of this penalty actually being enforced? I haven't, and I wouldn't be surprised if it never has been. I'm curious though, as every now and then someone asks me about it and I say 'don't worry, it never actually happens.'

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Thanks for the heads up Roddy. This post made me go back and look at my contract. I actually don't have this clause in my contract- instead a 30 day notice by either party.

Is this standard for a SAFEA contract? I'd read on another forum about this but never saw any post about FTs having to shelling out any money.

I'm also curious to hear if anyone has been forced to pay or vise verse.

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Hi Roddy,

I haven't heard of the USD2000 breach being paid , but I have heard of schools being so angry at the teacher leaving their contract early that they have gone to the PSB and revoked their visa and told them to move out of their school housing within 2 days.

I think the visa was more problematic than the expulsion out of housing. Also I have heard of expulsion from housing after being fired and also being given a very short time 2 days or 7. This was with a private for-profit English Training Center more than a University or regular school.

Have fun,

SImon:)

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It's probably only state schools where you have this, at a guess. Maybe not though.

Visa and accommodation issues wouldn't surprise me - if your apartment and visa are provided by your employer,and you ditch your employer, you're kind of at their mercy and it would be daft to quit without have an idea of what you are going to do.

Withholding of money already owed - salary- I can see, but the breach penalty I can't imagine being enforced.

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I've only worked in private, for-profit schools. The Foreign Expert Bureau was never involved in the contracts I signed.

I've left two contracts early. The first I was able to negotiate with the school. They weren't happy, but didn't go out of their way to screw with me. The second school I walked out of and shortly thereafter left China for a few months. They don't know I'm back, and so I don't know if they ever tried to punish me in any way. Since we were paid in the middle of the month, they got two weeks of my salary. Built-in punishment clause, that. I can't imagine that if they knew I came back they would go after me, haha.

Housing provided by the school you teach at is definely a double-edged sword. It's convient, and a good way to save money, but you really are at their mercy. That goes triple for the visa. Thank god for student visas!

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Also at for-profit English training centers they usually have a "After you leave you can not go and work for another similar type of Training center for one year"

This everyone agrees is an illegal sentence in the contract and is put there to intimidate teachers, though it is regularly dismissed. How can you control someone after they have stopped working for you. Seems ridiculous.

Anyway this was another ridiculous clause you made me think of.

Have fun,

Simon:)

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It's probably only state schools where you have this, at a guess.
Actually, it's probably at any school that gets you a Z visa/residence permit/Foreign Experts Certificate, as in order to get that you need to sign a SAFEA-issued contract, and if I recall correctly, the breach penalty clause is part of the standard issue contract.

I seem to remember reading about a few people who tried to get breach penalties enforced against the school, and I seem to recall one who was successful, however a quick google search didn't bring up anything relevant. I've never heard of it being enforced against a teacher though.

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If the school is a bit "dodgy" and not legally able to hire foreigners then the breach contract would not be easily enforced, especially if they didn't do the correct visa for you (F opposed to Z).

The teachers who genuinely just want to get out for certain reasons are the ones who do midnight runners.

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