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BANGKOK 19 August 2019 05:14
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stuart little

School Contract

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Ok this is how my story goes. Been working at a privet school now for little over 4 months. Before commencing work I was ask to sign a 1year contract. I was told the contract had to stay at the school because I was working legally! But I could view it at anytime. Hmm

Last month my school processed my work permit and teaching licence. They told me I had to sign a 2year contract to get the teaching licence. Well I signed it but still they refused to give me a copy after I got the work permit and licence.

This has left me feeling very insecure and disappointed.

Has anyone had the same thing happen to him or her?

Should my teaching licence stay with the school or me?

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Ok this is how my story goes. Been working at a privet school now for little over 4 months. Before commencing work I was ask to sign a 1year contract. I was told the contract had to stay at the school because I was working legally!  But I could view it at anytime. Hmm

Last month my school processed my work permit and teaching licence. They told me I had to sign a 2year contract to get the teaching licence. Well I signed it but still they refused to give me a copy after I got the work permit and licence. 

This has left me feeling very insecure and disappointed.

Has anyone had the same thing happen to him or her?

Should my teaching licence stay with the school or me?

Congratulations. You’re working for a dodgy school.

You can go to the Labor Dept. and request a copy of your teaching contract. They must have a copy to have provided a work permit.

The teaching license belongs to you. However the school will use the excuse that it needs to keep it for you to show the authorities if they drop by. That doesn’t make sense, though, because it has its own copy given it by the Education Dept. So your school is keeping both the original and its copy. You can go to the Education Dept. and get a statement from them to the effect that original of the license belongs to you. If the school ignores that, you can start working through the police on the basis of stolen property. This has been known to have worked. Needless to say the teacher who did that no longer had a job at that school. (But he went on to higher things.)

If you find another job at a legit school, the school will work to get your license and will then give it to you.

Same with the work permit. You can request a copy of that, too, but the school may not give it to you.

You should also have a tax ID card. Request one from the school and then maybe from the Tax Revenue Dept. What if you’re at the airport and Immigration asks to see that card? Uh-oh.

And you should have a Social Insurance Card. Yes, you're entitled to that even though are a foreigner.

Now, the school may find an excuse to terminate you for requesting any of these documents, because you’ve made it evident that you aren’t stupid enough to work there. If you're terminated, this being the kind of school it is, then the school will immediately see that your work permit is cancelled, which will cancel your visa, and you'll have 7 days to fix your visa or leave Thailand. What's really cool is that the school won't tell you when, exactly, it will cancel your WP. So you might well get into an overstay status.

Edited by JSixpack

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I think I may have read too much into your post, which reminded me of a case with which I'm familiar. Maybe the school did give you physical possession of the teaching license and work permit (though giving you a copy of the WP should be sufficient). If so, my apologies.

Edited by JSixpack

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Ok this is how my story goes. Been working at a privet school now for little over 4 months. Before commencing work I was ask to sign a 1year contract. I was told the contract had to stay at the school because I was working legally!  But I could view it at anytime. Hmm

Last month my school processed my work permit and teaching licence. They told me I had to sign a 2year contract to get the teaching licence. Well I signed it but still they refused to give me a copy after I got the work permit and licence. 

This has left me feeling very insecure and disappointed.

Has anyone had the same thing happen to him or her?

Should my teaching licence stay with the school or me?

Congratulations. You’re working for a dodgy school.

You can go to the Labor Dept. and request a copy of your teaching contract. They must have a copy to have provided a work permit.

The teaching license belongs to you. However the school will use the excuse that it needs to keep it for you to show the authorities if they drop by. That doesn’t make sense, though, because it has its own copy given it by the Education Dept. So your school is keeping both the original and its copy. You can go to the Education Dept. and get a statement from them to the effect that original of the license belongs to you. If the school ignores that, you can start working through the police on the basis of stolen property. This has been known to have worked. Needless to say the teacher who did that no longer had a job at that school. (But he went on to higher things.)

If you find another job at a legit school, the school will work to get your license and will then give it to you.

Same with the work permit. You can request a copy of that, too, but the school may not give it to you.

You should also have a tax ID card. Request one from the school and then maybe from the Tax Revenue Dept. What if you’re at the airport and Immigration asks to see that card? Uh-oh.

And you should have a Social Insurance Card. Yes, you're entitled to that even though are a foreigner.

Now, the school may find an excuse to terminate you for requesting any of these documents, because you’ve made it evident that you aren’t stupid enough to work there. If you're terminated, this being the kind of school it is, then the school will immediately see that your work permit is cancelled, which will cancel your visa, and you'll have 7 days to fix your visa or leave Thailand. What's really cool is that the school won't tell you when, exactly, it will cancel your WP. So you might well get into an overstay status.

What benfits does the school acheve by keeping lease docs ? Maybe to to stop me leaving the country?

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stuart little...With few exceptions, school contracts in Thailand are worth nothing more than the paper they're printed on. Contracts are often broken here either by the school, by the teacher or both. The ESL industry is a huge, revolving door which can work both for and against you. It can work for you in the sense that jobs are almost always available, especially if you have some qualifications/experience. It can also work against you since many schools can easily replace you whether they're right in doing so or not. Unlike in the West, if a school does you dirty and you decide to "do a runner" (that is, break the contract) after collecting your monthly salary, I seriously doubt anything will come of it. If you are a regular runner, your reputation and therefore your ability to get a job later may suffer, so make sure you thoroughly evaluate the situation concerning your school before deciding how to deal with them.

Schools will often promise lots of things to a prospective teacher and deliver few if any of them. It seems that you have been a victim of this all too familiar situation. Many schools have little or no experience in processing work permits/teaching licenses for foreign teachers and will come up with all sorts of stories as to why they can't do it or why the process has been delayed, etc. I know a few people who have even had their work permits cancelled on them once the school found out they were taking a job elsewhere. This caused all sorts of headaches and resulted in them having to keep paying for entry permit extensions or even having to leave the country ("visa run" as they call it).

As other posters have mentioned, your work permit belongs to you and although they may keep it for you at your workplace, the school must cough it up if you ask for it. It is a legal document and they have no right to withold it. As for teaching licenses, there are two that must be obtained: One is strictly for the school where you work and will expire once you leave the job. The other one is more or less universal and can be used to apply anywhere even though the new school will have to get one for themselves. I'm not sure if/when the universal license expires so make sure you check into it. Government schools don't provide teaching licenses; they simply put a stamp in your passport at Immigration stating that you teach for the Thai Government.

Do get yourself a tax ID card as you must pay tax. The law regarding us paying taxes here is strange....you can't work legally without a work permit yet if you do work illegally you're still "entitled" to pay tax. If you go to pay your taxes but you work illegally they'll nail you for not having a work permit. If you don't pay taxes yet you have a work permit they'll nail you for tax evasion. Many schools will claim a lower salary for you and say that it saves you from paying so much tax. The taxes are not too high compared to Western countries so you'll have to take what they say with a grain of salt. If you're married to a Thai and/or you have children with somebody here in Thailand they'll give you a tax break. If the school says you don't have to pay tax, then you'll need to reconsider whether or not you want to work for them. Government officials sometimes show up at schools to look for anything dodgy and if they find you working there without having a work permit and/or paying taxes you could be in real trouble.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do :o

Edited by Thaiboxer

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Just reading this thread makes me sooooo glad I no longer work in Thailand.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

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I think I may have read too much into your post, which reminded me of a case with which I'm familiar. Maybe the school did give you physical possession of the teaching license and work permit (though giving you a copy of the WP should be sufficient). If so, my apologies.

The school have given me the work permit and tax id card but will not give the TL and contract.

I know that a teaching contract is not worth much but still i should get to keep a copy.Thats my right. Maybe there is something wrong with my contract ?

And what is a Social Insurance Card. Why am i entitled to one and who should get this for me?

thankyou for everyones help so far.

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Most schools will advertise a contract in their job ads but some won't give you one. Often, they'll want you to work for a probationary period (usually 90 days) so they can see how you do before offering a contract, work permit, etc. Although contracts are often worth nothing, they can at least serve as a reminder of what you and the school agreed upon. If the school should change its policies and/or not honor their own contract there is little you can do. There have been some cases where foreign teachers have challenged schools in court on the basis of contract violations and actually won their cases. Unless it's a very clear cut violation (and often it isn't) and all your documents are in perfect order, it won't be worth the time/trouble to challenge a school in court and you'll be better off just finding another job.

Your case sounds strange since if a school is willing to get you a work permit and tax ID card, it usually means they're serious about taking you and will put forth a contract for you to sign. If a school hires you and keeps delaying the work permit process (contract or no contract), teacher's license, etc, then you'll have to wonder what's going on. The school in that case may be just keeping you temporarily until they find somebody who they think is a better candidate. This is not meant to belittle your experience/qualifications since it often happens to decent teachers. It's just the way many schools work. Check around with your foreign coworkers and see what their situations are. You may get some good information that way. Good luck!

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I think I may have read too much into your post, which reminded me of a case with which I'm familiar. Maybe the school did give you physical possession of the teaching license and work permit (though giving you a copy of the WP should be sufficient). If so, my apologies.

The school have given me the work permit and tax id card but will not give the TL and contract.

I know that a teaching contract is not worth much but still i should get to keep a copy.Thats my right. Maybe there is something wrong with my contract ?

And what is a Social Insurance Card. Why am i entitled to one and who should get this for me?

thankyou for everyones help so far.

It's hard to explain irrational short-sighted policies. I would speculate that keeping your contract prevents you from knowing what it is exactly you and they are obligated to do, so that you can do more and they can do less. And if you don't know, you can't argue about anything. Also, the salary stated in the contract may not be what's being told to the tax authorities. Finally there may be something not quite proper in your contract, so better not to let it out.

Not having the TL makes it just a little bit harder to interview for another job.

There's a tendency to think that because they got the paper for you, it therefore belongs to them.

I don't know all the details about the SIC, but basically I think it gets you into the Thai retirement system and it gives you benefits at, I think, gov't hospitals. It may not be important to you, but even if not it's annoying if they don't want you to have it. They are probably already paying into the system in your behalf, though how much they are paying is questionable. I don't know when exactly you are eligible to get the card, but I think it's less than 1 year of employment. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable will weigh in here.

Edited by JSixpack

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I don't know all the details about the SIC, but basically I think it gets you into the Thai retirement system and it gives you benefits at, I think, gov't hospitals. It may not be important to you, but even if not it's annoying if they don't want you to have it. They are probably already paying into the system in your behalf, though how much they are paying is questionable. I don't know when exactly you are eligible to get the card, but I think it's less than 1 year of employment. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable will weigh in here.

I don't know if foreigners can get the Thai social security but as far as I know there are few if any retirement benefits for foreign teachers in Thailand...unlesss of course you were granted citizenship. Getting permanent residence is a daunting task and citizenship would make getting permanent residence look easy! Just as where I come from (USA) social security will simply not be there when folks my age retire someday. I don't really see the difference here in Thailand except to say that most foreigners will never have retirement benefits to begin with. Any savings/investments you have will be your bread and butter when you're older.

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With some of the Private schools... they are suspect in the documentation areas.

For the Govt System.. I have always had my Blue Book (WP) and a copy of my

contract both in Thai and English.. amazingly.. the content matched.

One school.. did in fact pull a Roscoe like you have mentioned.. IT is that school off the Sky Train on the other line... The one of the THREE LETTERS.. :o

However, honoring a contract depends on YOU and the school officials.. IF.. in your best decision, you need to skate.. then you will take flight....and the school takes on the new recruit .. and the cycle begins again...

The students suffer along with your staff.. especially the teacher who will cover your load.. if you do skate.. DO it after finals and when grades are posted.. The Thai ADM know the signs and drill so..Drive on.

YET...you may find that blend of Thai school that is a joy.. an absolute job to work and teach.. You do have to break them in as to the documentation and requirements and Timelines....EVEN.. when they do not have a clue..

Do be polite and respectful.. make it as easy for the not to loose face.. Write it out for them.. Then.. they will call their Thai Friends.. and attempt to find out what needs to be done.. and not loose face.

DUDE.. if you feel they are shying you on.. then.. they are.. ACT appropriately, do it in a way .. not to burn you options if you want to stay and teach at another school.

Drive on.. :D

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The teaching license belongs to you.

Actually there are two parts, one for you and one for the school. I think they're called Sor Chor 1o and 17.

However the school will use the excuse that it needs to keep it for you to show the authorities if they drop by.
And as they're are two parts it's pointless and basically untrue.
Same with the work permit. You can request a copy of that, too, but the school may not give it to you.

The work permit by rights is yours, it only has to remain on premises (or with you) while you're teaching, it states so in the back of it.

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[The work permit by rights is yours, it only has to remain on premises (or with you) while you're teaching, it states so in the back of it.

Yep. Exactly right. But a dodgy school still may refuse to give it you, on the excuse that it wants to be sure that the permit remains on the premises so that they can be sure to find it if they supposedly need to show it to the authorities if you're not there and can't be located. You've heard that old saying about "possession is 9/10 of the law," right? So it can be difficult to squeeze anything out of the school if it doesn't want to turn it over. In the case I know of, the school would give a photocopy of the WP, however. In the case where a guy took his own teaching license w/o permission from the school owner's file cabinet, the crazy school owner called the police, only to have the police ultimately agree that he could have his own license. Things did get rather tense, though, as you might imagine. He was greatly applauded by his colleagues for having fought and won.

I speculate (have no idea if this is true) that it might be a bit easier for the school to cancel the WP if it has it in its possession. Also by keeping the original it makes it more difficult for the teacher to transfer over to another school in cases where that is possible. Which is also good for revenge value.

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Posessesd or not it should make any difference in regards to cancelling it.

This is written in the back of the WP (so by all means show it to them, or have them show you your WP to verify it):

1. A permit holder must keep the permit with him or at the place of work during working hours in order that it may be readily shown to the competent official or the Registrar. Any violation thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand Bath.

Tell them you need it to: Open an account , buy a car, get a Thai discount on a room/park...or whatever is most valid for you, tell them a photocopy is NOT acceptable...and then don't give it back!

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Tell them you need it to: Open an account , buy a car, get a Thai discount on a room/park...or whatever is most valid for you, tell them a photocopy is NOT acceptable...and then don't give it back!

Absolutely!! I did this when I once worked for a government school as I kind of figured my boss didn't want me to have it. I just asked to make a copy and after that I kept it.

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