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Resigning From My School


humpty

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Hi,

Just looking for some advice, been teaching at school for 6 years, no problems until today when I handed in my resignation to the boss to say that I would finish at the end of this semester. I was told that the contract that I signed said that if I didn't fulfill my contract (March) that I have to pay the school 3 months salary!

Advice wanted,

by Thai Law can the school make me pay this?

Can I just go to the Labour Dept and cancel my work permit (I have a photocopy only) and then go to immigration to cancel my visa, then in theory I am no longer tied to the school.

Will there be a problem when I apply for a new work permit at my new school in November?

any help appreciated

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Did you physically sign the contract, as teachers at my old place signed a blank piece of paper then the contract was later printed and the signature appeared on it in the correct place.

Why do you not have the work permit?

If you go to Immigration or the Department of Labour you would need a letter from your employer.

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Did you physically sign the contract, as teachers at my old place signed a blank piece of paper then the contract was later printed and the signature appeared on it in the correct place.

Why do you not have the work permit?

If you go to Immigration or the Department of Labour you would need a letter from your employer.

The last time I resigned from a job I signed a form at the labour office to say I had resigned. Didn't need a letter from my ex employer.

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Why don't you ask for a copy of your contract and see what it actually says.

If the school won't give you a copy, ask for a copy from the Labor Office. It's one of the required documents to get a WP. They'll have it in your file.

The only reason I can think of why the school wouldn't give you a copy is if they don't want you to know what's in it. Does that sound like your school?

If you don't honor your contract, it could be a problem getting a new WP.

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If you work for a private school, then you are covered under the Private School Act. I know of no way in which they can actually charge you for not working.

A contract cannot be written--and be legal-- to take away rights that are given under law.

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If they really wanted to, they could I suppose sue you for breach of contract if your notice is not sufficient (2 weeks by law), but most likely this would cost them more than it would be worth. Very unlikely. Anyway, seems likely you are giving that much and more.

If you are the one leaving, they will not, of course, owe you severance.

They could make it difficult when you transfer jobs to a new school, meaning that you would have to begin the visa/work permit process all over again from the beginning.

That's about as much power as they have over you. As long as you give appropriate notice (which I believe is 2 weeks by law- they cannot require it to be longer in the contract, I think)- you are legally covered.

It is of course professional and appropriate for teachers not to leave before end of term if at all possible, for the students' sake as much as the institution's. I commend you on doing the appropriate thing and staying until the end of the term. It hurts us all when teachers let schools down by doing otherwise without a life-threatening reason.

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My knowledge of Thai labor law says that as long as you give one month notice (must be on the first of the month or you will have to work until the first of the following (whole) month there is nothing they can do.

As long as the schools are not ISAT (as they have their own agreement about switching schools, you must have a year in between if you break contract)then you should be fine.

Make sure your work permit is turned in and you have any other documents (pa nga daw etc.)you will need for your new school and let them sue you for the 3 months. They won't do it as you have followed the law and they have no legal authority.

They may try to with hold any pay they owe you though, will be a major headache to get that back.

Put your ducks in order and write off any losses.

Good luck.

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which I believe is 2 weeks by law- they cannot require it to be longer in the contract, I think

I very much doubt that.

Usually a longer notice is seen as being an advantage for the employee so that he can find a new job.

I stress that I have no experience with the Thai Labor Law, but in most countries, the Law sets a minimum, not a maximum, and longer notices may be agreed on in contracts.

EDIT: I just researched the Thai Labor Law.

Secion 17 is clear enough:

Section 17

An employment contract shall expire when the specified period in the employment contract expires without any requirement for advance notice.

Where no specific term is set out in the employment contract, the employer or the employee may terminate the employment contract by giving advance notice thereof at or before any time of payment, to take effect as of the following time of payment. However, not more than three months' advance notice need be given.

In the event that an employer gives a notice of termination of the contract of employment, if the employer does not specify a reason therefore in the notice of termination, the employer is thereafter stopped from relying on that reason under Section 119.

In terminating an employment contract under Paragraph 2, an employer may pay basic pay in lieu of the requisite notice and dismiss the employee immediately, and it shall be deemed that such payment of basic pay to the employee under this paragraph is payment to the employee of remuneration in accordance with Section 582 of the Civil and Commercial Code.

Advance notice under this Section shall not apply to a termination of employment pursuant to either Section 119 of this Act or Section 583 of the Civil and Commercial Code.

So the contract may specify a term for the notice, up to 3 months.

Edited by manarak
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I have asked a lawyer and basically I am just going to pay the 3 months salary as it seems that after 6 years doing everything for the school that this is the only way to get out without having a problem.

I could stay till the end of the academic year but now I feel bitter towards the administration and that wouldn't be fair on the kids that I teach. I am actually going to work in another province so I don't have to deal with this place after this term.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies given and advice.

jap.gif

oh, and yeah telling someone Som Nam Na doesn't help the situation any even if you are thinking that unsure.gif

Edited by humpty
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I'm not disputing Manarak's quotation of the law, but it does seem to me as if I read something different in another seeminingly authoritative legal quotation only a couple of years ago. I will try to locate it; perhaps the law has been changed or I am misremembering it or the situation.

In either case, Humpty, good on you for doing all the right things even if some of them are difficult to do.

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I have asked a lawyer and basically I am just going to pay the 3 months salary as it seems that after 6 years doing everything for the school that this is the only way to get out without having a problem.

I could stay till the end of the academic year but now I feel bitter towards the administration and that wouldn't be fair on the kids that I teach. I am actually going to work in another province so I don't have to deal with this place after this term.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies given and advice.

jap.gif

oh, and yeah telling someone Som Nam Na doesn't help the situation any even if you are thinking that unsure.gif

That sounds terrible mate. You've worked there for six years, and then you have to pay them money to leave?

Is it not worth seeing another lawyer?

I would find that very hard to stomach, having to deal with a person who treated me that way. Could you not even speak to someone else at the school? Who exactly has told you you must pay this money?

It amazes me always that such people exist. Sympathies.

Read your next contract!!

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I have asked a lawyer and basically I am just going to pay the 3 months salary as it seems that after 6 years doing everything for the school that this is the only way to get out without having a problem.

I could stay till the end of the academic year but now I feel bitter towards the administration and that wouldn't be fair on the kids that I teach. I am actually going to work in another province so I don't have to deal with this place after this term.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies given and advice.

jap.gif

oh, and yeah telling someone Som Nam Na doesn't help the situation any even if you are thinking that unsure.gif

Well, sorry, but you said you didn't read the contract before signing it?

Termination/resignation/notice clauses are among the most important!

And put yourself in the shoes of the school, they may really be pissed off to have to find a replacement on such short notice.

I don't understand how anyone can be resentful that the other party sticks to the written and signed agreement.

Or did they make any oral promises to let you go when you want on short notice?

Again, I'm confused how this could lead so such a misunderstanding of the terms.

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I deal with contracts on a daily basis and they are not simple, straightforward documents that people remember easily.

I go over every point in great detail with new employees, but it never fails that they miss something. A lot of people are just so happy to get a job that they would agree to most anything. Most are not thinking/planning their exit strategy.

The best thing to do is to keep people informed, if possible, to what plans you might have. Also, that's a good time to review the terms of employment.

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Hi all,

Thanks for the input into my dilemma. Today is the last day of term and I have been told that I can go but I have to write a letter to say that I will pay the equivalent of 3 months salary, I would imagine that the owner of the school will keep my salary this month as part of it, but mai pen rai, if that makes them feel better then so be it.

To make it even more dramatic, the position that I was offered starting in November has been changed to next academic year, but I have decided not to stay at my current school in light of the whole situation since handing in my notice. I will just look for something else in the meantime.

I know that reading contract etc is the most important thing but after working for a school for 6 years, to be honest, after the 1st year renewal, I just signed all the docs put in front of me, and every year thereafter.

This school seem to be able to fire teachers without any problems and many teachers have left in the past without giving notice and have not paid this 3 months salary penalty, but I just thought it was courteous to do the right thing by giving notice allowing them time to find a replacement that I could show the ropes to, especially after 6 years and thinking that we had a good relationship.

Sometimes it's difficult to know what's the best way to approach these things but I've learned many valuable lessons from it.

Chock dee everyone and thanks again,

jap.gif

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  • 2 weeks later...

If your school is private then Thai Labour Law does not apply. The Private Schools Act (recently amended to take away severence rights) specifically exempts private schools from that law.

I have seen this claimed by management-types on forums, but the one time I actually saw the text they were trying to use to support this VERY doubtful statement, it was quite ambiguous. I'm going to have to ask persons who continue to make this claim to post the actual legal code supporting this [and perhaps I will seek out a lawyer on the subject] or I will begin to delete this type of claim from our teacher/labour friendly forum.

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If your school is private then Thai Labour Law does not apply. The Private Schools Act (recently amended to take away severence rights) specifically exempts private schools from that law.

I have seen this claimed by management-types on forums, but the one time I actually saw the text they were trying to use to support this VERY doubtful statement, it was quite ambiguous. I'm going to have to ask persons who continue to make this claim to post the actual legal code supporting this [and perhaps I will seek out a lawyer on the subject] or I will begin to delete this type of claim from our teacher/labour friendly forum.

Up to you. Why don't you look here..........

Private School Act BE 2550 (AD 2008) in the English language by CHANDLER and THONG-EK 190308.

http://www.ctlo.com/mediacenter/Publications/2011-03-28-PrivateSchoolAct-En.pdf

Section 86, page 23...under working protection. Private schools are not subject to Thai Labour Laws

This section was recently used by a large Catholic College in Bangkok to defend a claim by a foreign teacher for 'unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of her pregnancy'. What the school actually did was to just refuse to renew her contract after 1 year. Apparently the first time this school has ever failed to renew a contract.

The school won.

Edited by Phatcharanan
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Thanks for posting the law. My experience with severance has been similar, but it's a good idea for employees who have a grievance to make the necessary inquiries concerning their specific situation.

It doesn't hurt for schools to think carefully about the consequences of their action either.

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