GoKunming Forums

Advice please

Al pacino (5 posts) • 0

Recently I have been teaching at a training school (Sprouting English). We agreed on the hours and the salary. However they requested that I do additional work outside my work schedule and not get paid for this. I refused naturally and they said they will not pay my salary. Has anyone had a similar situation, if so how did you deal with it. Is it best to go to the police or to the PSB. You can also reply to me privately my WeChat ID is 13759519530

livinginchina (222 posts) • 0

Stand in line. This has happened all over China. If you search the internet you'll find this is common in those training centers big and small. Best thing to do is quit.

Al pacino (5 posts) • 0

Thanks for your response. I am aware of this. I just wanted to inform others not to work for this school. It's run by a Chinese Australian Michael and his partner Jenifer. If you do end up working for them ask to get your salary before class. The school one more time SPROUTING ENGLISH

tigertigerathome (169 posts) • +1

To be honest this is fairly standard, crappy I know.
With only one exception (a further education college) I have never worked anywhere that did not expect staff to put in 'office hours'. Even at universities there were some extra unpaid work, although not routine office hours.
I agree that office hours should be in any contract, but I can see a private enterprise forgetting/neglecting to do this, and I think it is neglect rather than deliberate misrepresentation. One thing I found is that the worst employers were expats who have adopted the worst of both working cultures, while paying lipservice to the best of their own cultures best practice. It also seems to be the case that employment contracts are unenforcable anyway. They are more of an 'understanding' and both parties can have a different understanding of what was signed.

A word of advice if sprouts got you the work visa. Don't just quit. My understanding, though I stand to be corrected if things have changed. If the employer doesn't release you from your obligation (not easy or good for them in the eyes of the regulators).
you are stuck. You cannot legally work for anyone else, and if the work visa is cancelled (your employer is legally obliged to cancel it) this could work against you for future applications for work visas. You will also need to get another visa within 30 days, or you will be an illegal overstayer.
Just my 2c.

livinginchina (222 posts) • 0

I have previously seen job offers here on Gokunming where it's states 'no extra office hours' in their ads. Maybe you should take a look to see if they're still looking for teachers.

michael2015 (776 posts) • +1

Al
1. Contracts in Asia are rather vaguely interpreted, so there's a certain amount of leverage expected, especially for smaller firms. If they can coerce or bully you into free labor, they'll absolutely do it. It's an indicator of management culture and behavior. If you don't like it - go into overdrive to seek alternatives. Think of it as an abusive relationship - go seek alternative love in your spare time.

2. Regular and forced or coerced uncompensated overtime is called slavery. It's illegal in China, despite Alibaba and Tencent's much maligned 996 (9am-9pm 6 days a week) work ethic which was later criticized by the government and has since been publicly recanted. Slavery is not tolerated in China.

3. Withholding your income is illegal in China. You can report the company to the Kunming Municipal Labor Relations Board (KMLRB). Since your company threatened you, you may be courteous and respond in kind. Do NOT do this until you have a contract with your next employer, to jump seamlessly. Your threat is much more terrifying than theirs. Once you formally report your income has been illegally withheld - the LRB will initiate an arbitration meeting between you and the company's legal leaders, owners, or officers and arbitrate a settlement as per the rules and laws of China. USUALLY, but not always, these kinds of meetings are recorded on video and a government arbitration contract is drawn up upon completion of the negotiation and both parties are "invited" to execute (sign) and thumbprint the document. If arbitration fails - you'll need to go legal. This kind of publicity is very damaging to a company's reputation, so unlike Amber Heard, you should be very very cautious in publicly denouncing employers. The company is also forbidden from slandering or bullying you, should they discover your next employer or even the visa office.

4. The initially happy relationship between you and your employers is obviously soured. Look for alternatives. Based on their behavior, they'll try to threaten you with breach of contract, deportation, etc - but if they withhold your income, they breached first - labor relations board. However, never never ever jump unless you have a definite secondary AND tertiary (3rd) landing site. Every rabbit always has three escape routes (ancient abridged chinese proverb that I just made up).

You may also contact the Yingke Law Firm that advertises on this site, if things become caustic or toxic. Their two primary English speaking legal representatives have excellent English (not perfect, but good enough to grasp the issue) and have an excellent grasp of Chinese law.

[Shameless YingKe Law Firm plug]

I used YingKe for a personal property transaction a few years ago. They were eminently professional, well organized, meticulous, and babysat me through the entire somewhat complicated process until it was done - flawless - happy happy happy. They of course charged a nominal premium for bilingual services - but the fee was acceptable and NOT onerous NOR stratospheric - especially as they accomplished what they promised in a timely, professional, and most importantly, 100% successful and complete manner - the FIRST time through the process. This was also the first time they'd done this kind of transaction - but they researched it well, talked to all the appropriate government offices and officials, and got it done. Did I mention happy happy happy, not to mention impressed.

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