Today at CPIS wasn’t that bad. Still no paycheck so we resumed the “no pay = playtime schedule.” I had a lot of preps today so I took a walk enjoying the gorgeous weather and had a delicious lunch with my coworker. My students had extended playtime & finished Wreck it Ralph in the afternoon. We did minimal work all day but still had our morning meeting & practiced some phonics. The scary part is that I think we are still doing an “acceptable job” but Korean hagwon standards.
Perhaps the best part of today was a conversation with Mrs. Yi (my principal). She gave me what I believe was complete honesty about the situation and some general advice about how to find a good school to work at in Korea.
“You want school that owned by corporation not person.”
She was speaking from personal experience after either quitting or being fired from the our school which falls into the latter with Mr. Bae being the owner. She told me she understood that I was nervous since its been questionable since my first day and the first incident happened less than 2 weeks in. But, she said not to worry about getting paid because
“[security deposit] legally for employee pay first.”
She was referring to labor laws which dictate employee salary to be the first thing paid in case of school closure. Then she said the word “bankruptcy” but I really got the heebie jeebies about Mr. Bae when she told me that our school makes
“very small profit; the problem Mr. Bae’s other businesses.”
She admitted what we have all been suspecting; Mr. Bae is using our salaries to cover losses from his other businesses. In other words; he’s embezzling our money. This solidified my decision to get out of this school and find a more suitable workplace.
Mrs. Yi mentioned that my recruiter (who has contacted her multiple times), herself and the other 2 administrators really like my teaching & know I’m a good teacher. She even agreed to write a Korean recommendation for me before she leaves.
I asked her about a “letter of release,” a required document for most foreigners to transfer a work visa. Mrs. Yi said that she would give it to me except that she is leaving. I’ll need to ask the new principal when she starts but the way she spoke about it I believe I’ll be able to get it. That makes me even more excited for Saturday’s interview at Yong Hoon!
Lastly, she brought up what one of my coworkers mentioned yesterday,
“If we aren’t paid by Friday I won’t be coming in Monday; and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.”
The foreigners have discussed it. We all think that actually going on “strike” and not showing up to work is our only option if they are unable to pay us. Last time this happened they paid everyone 14 days past payday, coincidence? Nope. Mrs. Yi reminded me that Korean labor laws give businesses a 14 day window to pay their employees. She then effectively told me to hold out for 14 days before going on an actual strike. The foreigners will discuss our options and meet tomorrow but for now we are still hoping to avoid the dilemma and get paid before the weekend.