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BANGKOK 23 April 2019 14:52
brianp0803

Penalties in Teaching Contract legal and enforceable?

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An international school has a contract that does not give the option of giving 2-3 months notice before quitting.  There is no possible way listed to terminate the contract.  Therefore, a couple teachers left the day after receiving their salary (without notice). Not sure what happened to them.

 

The contract states the if for any reason the teacher does not complete the contract, then the teacher much pay back 2 months salary and the school will put a black mark on our record with Krupsapa Teaching Council.  It is in the contract that I signed, but can they really enforce it?  I'm guessing that if a new school wanted to hire me that the old school would make it extremely difficult for them to hire me.  I'm guessing that they could not   

 

If I want the job I must sign the contract, I am agreeing to everything - but can it be enforced.  If a new school wants to hire me, do they check with Krupsapa first about any black marks?  Would Krupsapa not allow the new contract?  Of course a new school can ask for references.  I would never enter a contract with the intention of breaking it, but sometimes circumstances make this necessary.  But, it does set a tone for the school environment.  

 

The school asked the teachers to sign a new contract 17 January 2019 promising to work until the end of the next school year Aug 2019-Aug 2020.  Upon the teacher committing in writing to continue for another year, the school verbally told the teachers they will have a job next school year.  The school will sign and return the contract when school starts again on 1 August 2019. 

 

I would think that until the school signs and returns the contract - then there is no contract.  But impossible to prove the school never returned the signed contract. 

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I doubt that. - OTOH, give proper notice and wait and see to get suckered or shafted. Like being asked to leave earlier than the 3 months.

 

No good deed will be (...)

 

You think they will go to Labour Court? Ask those guys what happened? - I sympathize with the school being left in the lurcch. OTOH, there will be some compelling reasons for their action the schoolsw has controlled.

 

Often, admin sucks big time.

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Why work for an organization that threatens employees in this way?.... move on, find something better 

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On 3/29/2019 at 11:06 AM, brianp0803 said:

The contract states the if for any reason the teacher does not complete the contract, then the teacher much pay back 2 months salary and the school will put a black mark on our record with Krupsapa Teaching Council.

As far as I know the top tier and good international schools do not have anything to do with the Krusapa teaching council.  It is time for you to get out..

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if it smells like shit, looks like shit then probably it is a flower

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A school can get you blacklisted for 2 years  in the profession and visa type if they can prove that you breached the contract and can be bothered seeing it through to the department.

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what does the labor law say ?

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I take pride in being a person of my word, and one that honors contracts, and maintains perfect credit.  However, I can't blame many of the "runners." There are countless stories of teachers getting burned and contracts not being honored.  Leaving immediately after payday is usually the best way to minimize losses.  It is hard work, and there are significant expenses involved in working as a teacher, or anywhere else.  I started working as a degreed substitute in 1996 for sixty USD per day.  I soon found out that a high number of people in education have zero business sense, and most never played on a team.  Administrators were simply burned out teachers, leaving the classroom for more money.  And of course, when "it's not about the money," it is almost always about the money.

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On 4/16/2019 at 1:59 AM, moontang said:

I take pride in being a person of my word, and one that honors contracts, and maintains perfect credit.  However, I can't blame many of the "runners." There are countless stories of teachers getting burned and contracts not being honored.  Leaving immediately after payday is usually the best way to minimize losses. 

I've seen a lot of comments like this on various teaching sites--with some being even bolder (e.g., "break the contract if you get a better offer because lots of people get burned"). I get it, just like you. It's not an entirely fair system, and often teachers are left to gamble when they have an offer on the table: hold out for something better or take it because it might be the best you get.

 

But I don't think the fact that some teachers get burned justifies breaking a contract--let alone the midnight run. Now, if you're talking about screwing over a school that has a track record of burning teachers, then that's a different story. But if it's in the abstract, all that does is fuel the vicious cycle. Schools get more and more guarded and keep taking steps to lock teachers in, some selfish teachers buck the system because they inevitably find better offers, and round and round we go.

 

To the OP (for some reason I can't "quote" your post): I'm not totally clear on what the issue here is. It reads like your school is being a bit rough (the "black mark" wording seems petty), but I think you're missing out on a key factor: why do you need a way to "terminate the contract?" You don't need to give 2-3 months or follow any other procedure; If a teacher signs a contract agreeing to teach until the end of the 2019 school year, and they don't want to teach beyond that, they simply don't sign a new contract. The fact that the school asked teachers to sign a new contract for next year in mid-January isn't all that unusual. The school wants clarity on who will be teaching next year, the teachers (possibly) want to explore other options, and decisions have to be made.

 

In this situation, you have three legitimate choices.

  1. Sign the contract and work through the 2019-2020 year.
  2. Don't sign the contract, telling them (implicitly or explicitly) you plan to leave at the end of the 2019 school year.
  3. Ask for more time to make a decision. Give whatever reason (family, political uncertainty, or be forthcoming if you have applications pending elsewhere and think this won't offend them).

Simply bolting when you get a paycheck is just plain shady. I might be missing something, as your presentation of the situation is a bit confusing, but having contract provisions that discourage teachers bolting mid-year is common--and prudent. I don't know if they could legally enforce the confiscation of past salary, but they could:

  1. Leave a black mark with both Krusapa and international teaching agencies.
  2. Deny you references or provide bad references.
  3. Use other contract terms (e.g., not pay you the "completion bonus," not provide your flight home).

With all that said, if you think you can have a reasonable conversation with the administrators, do it. Maybe you're interested in another city/country/occupation, so you need time to decide about next year. Maybe you're worried that you don't have security for next year because it's only a verbal offer. If you can share those concerns, maybe it's a good idea. If they tell you "we can't give you a contract until August," then maybe that changes things and gives you just cause to consider other offers. Also, remember: just as they can leave a "black mark" for you, you can do the same for them. The big search agencies won't take kindly to burning teachers. If they withdraw an offer in July or August, that sort of thing can jeopardize their standing and get them booted from recruitment fairs, etc.

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