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Despite having a contract until the summer 2020, October was contract renewal declaration time in the International School sector. If you did not indicate a few weeks ago that you would be leaving in June 2020, you are now said to be in breach of contract if you say you will not stay until June 2021. This means leaving at the end of the academic year in June 2020 could incur a penalty of losing some holiday pay for July/August. Nobody has been given a contract for 20/21 yet (or is likely to get one for several months). Is this legal under Labour Law/ Private Schools Act  given that no contract for 20/21 has been signed?

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The fact that the private school act allows employing foreign teachers on fixed term contracts conflicts with labour law & the circumstances applicable for fixed term contracts. If they don't renew the contract or change the terms of the contract you will win severance. Just use the supreme court case I previously posted. Its the same old story of international schools bullying teachers & banking on the fact that 99.9% accept it to keep their jobs.

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17 hours ago, Big Guns said:

The fact that the private school act allows employing foreign teachers on fixed term contracts conflicts with labour law & the circumstances applicable for fixed term contracts. If they don't renew the contract or change the terms of the contract you will win severance. Just use the supreme court case I previously posted. Its the same old story of international schools bullying teachers & banking on the fact that 99.9% accept it to keep their jobs.

I am curious if this applies to government universities. My first year contract stated that I was to get a 4% salary increase and yet the following year on contract renewal, they had removed any talk about a salary increase.

I suspect that there will be no mention of it again ever. 😞

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Despite having a contract until the summer 2020, October was contract renewal declaration time in the International School sector. If you did not indicate a few weeks ago that you would be leaving in June 2020, you are now said to be in breach of contract if you say you will not stay until June 2021. This means leaving at the end of the academic year in June 2020 could incur a penalty of losing some holiday pay for July/August. Nobody has been given a contract for 20/21 yet (or is likely to get one for several months). Is this legal under Labour Law/ Private Schools Act  given that no contract for 20/21 has been signed?

Seems shady. I have only limited knowledge of Thai employment law as it applies to teachers (and much of that I've absorbed through forums), but I know a fair amount more about the "international school sector" and western standards of equity. 

 

I think you're overgeneralizing the "sector" in several ways, and it's unclear if you're referring to your own contract situation or some perception of what's normal when you write "you are now said to be in breach of contract."

 

Yes, schools will want to know if you're returning. Yes, schools many schools will impose a deadline. Yes, schools may start looking to fill your position if you don't re-sign (or indicate a willingness to re-sign) by a certain time. That time varies by school. Not to overgeneralize, but elite schools are going to try to leverage an earlier recommitment date. Many lower-quality schools will also try to overplay their hand and get recommitments early. And many schools in the middle will take more measured approaches, realizing that good teachers may consider testing the market.

 

Schools with way-too-early deadlines that expect firm commitments are playing a risky game. They risk teachers who might want to explore other opportunities, but who are open to returning if they don't get a "dream" job, simply leaving. When January and February roll around, many of these teachers will still be uncommitted for next year, but the bridge has been burned.

 

In your situation, it's impossible to comment with much specificity because you haven't been clear what your contract says. If it says you must opt out a renewal by October or you forfeit current-contract money, I'd be very surprised.  Such a provision is dubious because it's inequitable. They're stipulating that you forfeit pay because of, what, exactly? Recruitment costs are the same in October as they are in December. And you get nothing in consideration for not opting out, because they're not obligated to renew you. If March rolls around and they find someone better, they can hire them and tell you "we never agreed to bring you back." And you're up a creek as the peak recruiting season is over. 

 

So, in short, if there's nothing in your contract that allows them to take back your "holiday pay," then it's illegal. If there's something in your contract, that contract is shaky. I'm no expert on Thai law, but I'd say there's a good chance it's unenforceable. Then again, that doesn't seem to deter many schools, as they coldly calculate that teachers won't have the time/money/knowledge to fight them.

 

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On 12/3/2019 at 11:20 PM, scottiddled said:

 

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Despite having a contract until the summer 2020, October was contract renewal declaration time in the International School sector. If you did not indicate a few weeks ago that you would be leaving in June 2020, you are now said to be in breach of contract if you say you will not stay until June 2021. This means leaving at the end of the academic year in June 2020 could incur a penalty of losing some holiday pay for July/August. Nobody has been given a contract for 20/21 yet (or is likely to get one for several months). Is this legal under Labour Law/ Private Schools Act  given that no contract for 20/21 has been signed?

Seems shady. I have only limited knowledge of Thai employment law as it applies to teachers (and much of that I've absorbed through forums), but I know a fair amount more about the "international school sector" and western standards of equity. 

 

I think you're overgeneralizing the "sector" in several ways, and it's unclear if you're referring to your own contract situation or some perception of what's normal when you write "you are now said to be in breach of contract."

 

Yes, schools will want to know if you're returning. Yes, schools many schools will impose a deadline. Yes, schools may start looking to fill your position if you don't re-sign (or indicate a willingness to re-sign) by a certain time. That time varies by school. Not to overgeneralize, but elite schools are going to try to leverage an earlier recommitment date. Many lower-quality schools will also try to overplay their hand and get recommitments early. And many schools in the middle will take more measured approaches, realizing that good teachers may consider testing the market.

 

Schools with way-too-early deadlines that expect firm commitments are playing a risky game. They risk teachers who might want to explore other opportunities, but who are open to returning if they don't get a "dream" job, simply leaving. When January and February roll around, many of these teachers will still be uncommitted for next year, but the bridge has been burned.

 

In your situation, it's impossible to comment with

 

Thanks for this. The contract says that if notice not to sign for the 20-21 academic year is given by the October deadline, staff will be paid until the end of the academic year “including July and August”. However, after this deadline staff will continue to receive salary and allowances until their last day of work but are “not entitled to the July and August pay and allowances.” 

You are right that this is very one-sided as they are not likely to provide a contract which protects the staff for quite a few months.

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Yeah. That's a bad contract but not as bad as feared. Basically they're offering you a two month bonus for giving them an earlier commitment or notice that you're leaving. Some schools have things like renewal bonuses built into either the contract or the published pay scale, but that's tied to actually coming back and not linked to giving them notice that you're leaving by X date. I'm not sure what the "allowances" are (just housing allowance?). In some ways it actually makes sense, as your extension of stay in Thailand is (probably) tied to that employment.

 

All that said, it's a bad situation. If you were considering staying, you'd basically have to start insisting in September that they give you a new contract. Otherwise you have a one-sided commitment from that October deadline until...whenever they decide to commit to you. That's not OK.

 

You might have some success working with whatever recruitment agency (ISS, Search "Associates") because this provision goes against the spirit of their terms. Schools working with them often (not always) sign teachers at fairs and can produce contracts--or at least memos of understanding--within days to lock into agreements. If your school is registered with one or more of these agencies, they should be capable of either offering contracts to returning teachers quickly or willing to take this provision out of their contracts. But it's a longshot.

 

 

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I was once recommended that "Search" agency. However, seems like it's only for the most elite teachers still in their home countries, looking to go abroad.

 

Letters of recommendation from your director, head of department, two other teachers, and two of your students' parents. Haha. I've never even met this director. Our HOD hates talking to us, only to complain about something random. Some of the Thai teachers are nice, but have limited English, and I doubt would go to that length. I doubt many parents can speak English. This agency certainly isn't for anyone teaching in Thailand looking to move up.

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22 minutes ago, CrunchWrapSupreme said:

I was once recommended that "Search" agency. However, seems like it's only for the most elite teachers still in their home countries, looking to go abroad.

 

Letters of recommendation from your director, head of department, two other teachers, and two of your students' parents. Haha. I've never even met this director. Our HOD hates talking to us, only to complain about something random. Some of the Thai teachers are nice, but have limited English, and I doubt would go to that length. I doubt many parents can speak English. This agency certainly isn't for anyone teaching in Thailand looking to move up.

I do not recommend Search "Associates." They charge a hefty fee to teachers and then sock the school for roughly one month's salary per placement. So they're really leeching the system. They try to justify it by marketing themselves as a "premium" agency, sort of along the lines of what you mentioned (for "elite" teachers), but for the most part you're just paying for short-term access to their database (they cut you off as soon as you get a job, whether or not it was through them) and a possible invitation to their hiring fairs. I've spoken with lots of people who get the cold shoulder from Search (i.e. messages never answered) even though they're top-notch teachers. They basically want you to pay them their money and leave them alone until you sign a contract (then they want to know so they can invoice the school).

 

They also have a track record of not standing behind teachers and automatically siding with schools--including some bottom-of-the-barrel schools who hardly meet their "elite" image. International education has a big "honor your contract" trope that is, unfortunately, a bit one-sided. Teachers who break contract, and even some teachers who verbally accept an offer but it never gets to the signed-contract stage, are marginalized by agencies like Search. Fair enough, but schools get away with all sorts of shady dealings. And part of the implied (and sometimes explicit) benefit of going with an agency is that you have a supposedly neutral third part involved in the hiring process. Yet Search is clearly more interested in staying on the good side of schools than responding fairly to teacher-school disagreements. So they'll blackball a teacher who gets horribly mistreated and leaves (arguably for good reason or under disputed circumstances) but it takes a LOT for them to stand up to a school and/or stop representing them.

 

I can recommend ISS-Schrole (paid) and the Global Recruitment Collaborative (free). TES has a lot of job postings, too. There are other agencies, some of them free and some of them who charge a fee, of varying quality. It often depends on the region and level you're looking to start at. Be careful of some of the opaque headhunting agencies. They'll treat you really well, but are really just interested in placing you *anywhere* and collecting their fee. I had one agency butter me up, then try to talk me into a "get your foot in the door" job for about 25% of the salary I ultimately accepted. When I didn't jump at it, they gave me a "it looks like we don't have a good fit right now" line and asked if they could check back in with me later in the recruitment season if I was still looking. Other teachers later confirmed that this agency had a reputation for preying on teacher desperation and the opaque job openings they had on their website were all just part of a bait and switch.

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