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gabacho

Worried About Being Fired To Save Vacation Pay

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I have been teaching at a government school for eight months, and I lack three months to receive the one months end of the year vacation pay. I am planning to leave at the end of the year and the school knows this.

Judging from conversations that I have had with several former and current teachers, there is strong reason for me to be worried that the school will attempt to fire me before the end of the year in order to save the vacation pay that they would owe me if I finished the year.

Is there any protection or recourse against this?

Edited by gabacho

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Read your contract. The only contract I ever saw, gave the school a 30 day option to terminate the relationship and employment. On Feb. 1, I was notified; my last day was Feb. 28. But that school also never promised to pay for the summer two months, nor did they renew contracts.

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I have been trying to get a copy of my contract ever since I have been here without success. When I request it, I always get some vague answer about how I will get it "soon". Other teachers here have also been unable to get copies of their contracts.

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Do you have a work permit? If not, you are working illegally and the school has employed you illegally- though you are eligible for a (tiny) bit of severance pay no matter what your contract says and despite your illegal work, if you try to seek legal recourse you will also face penalties for this.

If you *do* have a work permit you are entitled to a tiny bit of severance plus whatever your contract promises you on top of this. A letter from a lawyer may jelp to focus the mind of the school on making you happy to avoid legal entanglements.

Unfortunately, this kind of practice is very common in Thai schools.

"S"

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I have been trying to get a copy of my contract ever since I have been here without success. When I request it, I always get some vague answer about how I will get it "soon". Other teachers here have also been unable to get copies of their contracts.
I'm sorry to hear this. I think it means more than you not receiving a copy. I think there is no contract, and there never were contracts. That happened to me, also. Twice, I signed a contract that never was returned to me, probably because the director never signed it, and my boss was too frightened of him to insist that he sign it, and too ashamed to tell me he hadn't signed it.

If you have no contract and no work permit, you have no obligations to the illegal Thai school that has broken Thai employment law. You are free to run out the door. You have no legal obligation to the students, since they attend an illegal Thai school. Mai bpen rai; feel free to run. Hopefully you will find a more nearly legal Thai school next time. Welcome to the Land of Broken Promises.

But if you like the school otherwise, make the best of it. Stay to the end and see if they give you a vacation bonus. Just for grins, since they haven't denied the existence of the contract, pretend there is one, and insist that they abide by it. That's how I finally got a month of vacation pay after they didn't hire me for the next year. Don't hire a lawyer, in my opinion. Good luck.

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Without a contract signed between an authorised person and you, it'll be difficult to force them to pay severance pay for wrongfully dismissing you.

No contract, no holiday pay.

The teacher that hired you may not be authorised to sign a contract on behalf of the school so you’ll need the director’s signature. They can use this to wriggle out of their responsibilities.

Only the Thai version of the contract is normally enforceable under Thai law.

You are wrongfully dismissed if the school didn’t give you a written warning before red carding you.

A wrongfully dismissed teacher is entitled to 30 days wages as severance pay if employed longer than 120 days but less than a year.

Your local Labour Court is very supportive and provides a solicitor to prepare your case free of charge.

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Best of luck to you. Where I work, we don't get a specified vacation pay. If you work a full-contractual year--including a summer session, you get the following summer off. Thus we work every other summer session and we get paid when both working them and not working them. If we choose to work a summer session we then get an additional bonus on top of that. The foreign teachers who aren't in an administrative position get about 3 weeks in October, a week at Christmas, usually a day or two for Chinese New Year and two weeks before summer school and two weeks after summer school.

During the probation period you are only paid for the time you work--thus for sick leave or holiday's there is no pay. After the 3 months probationary period, then it's pretty smooth sailing.

Of course, this is Thailand so everything I just wrote is subject to change! Actually, our Director is pretty good about following the contracts and occasionally, I will sit down and re-read a specific part to make a point. As long as no face is lost, everything is OK.

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