Wednesday, January 29, 2014

China Foreign Teachers Union - Contract Suggestions Save You Time, Money, & Grief

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First and foremost... if you are coming to China to work in any position, for any company or school, you absolutely must have two things in your hand BEFORE you even buy your plane tickets...

1)  A signed and sealed contract

2)  A work visa (Z visa)

If you come to work in China without either of these you will easily be exploited and cheated. To understand why you can visit and read  This post will talk about important clauses that you should add to your contract. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN ANY CONTRACT SENT TO IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE WORDING, TERMS, AND CONDITIONS.  If agents and recruiters tell you differently - ignore them. Do not sign contracts that are vague, ambiguous, nor unclear. If you were promised something verbally or in an email, make sure it is included in specific terms in your contract, or those promises will be forgotten and you will simply be told "You Misunderstood".  If you have a Skype interview, we suggest that you record that interview in case there is any future "misunderstandings" after you arrive in China. You can download free Skype recording software from this link below:

VERY IMPORTANT - Do not sign any contract that is not in English, no matter if you are assured that the contract says "exactly as we discussed".  If you sign a contract in Chinese or any other language that you do not understand, you will be cheated and have plenty of unpleasant surprises.  Make sure every page of your contract is signed dated and has the corporate red seal of your company/school or pages may be switched on you later.


If your school/company is licensed and registered.  Below are the 12 key clauses you should insert into your contract before signing it.

So here are the 12 clauses every foreign teacher should insert into their contract before signing it.

"The teacher shall be provided an invitation letter at no charge by the school/employer at least 15 days to their arrival date in China"

"Within 72 hours of termination, for whatever reason(s), the principal of the school shall provide two original, signed, and sealed release letters free of charge to the teacher.

"Any proposed changes to the teacher's work schedule must be made in writing via email to the teacher at least ten working days in advance of the proposed changes, and the teacher may accept or decline proposed changes within 24 hours of receipt of same notice without penalty."

"Assigned hours of work shall be from ____:00 am to ____:00pm from ______day  to ______ with days off being the two consecutive days of ________day and ________day.  If asked to work on these days off, the teacher shall be paid at the rate of _______yuan per hours spent on the school premises, not just actual class time."

"Any and all images of the teacher may not be used online nor in any poster, brochure, advertising, newspaper, magazine, nor newsletter, without the express written permission of the teacher, and violation of same shall incur a fine/penalty of 20,000 yuan upon the school/principal by default per incident."

"The teacher is not required to participate in any marketing and/or sales activity organized by the school nor any other organization and if asked to do so may decline or accept based upon a negotiated special compensation for said activities."

"The teacher is not required to work on any National Chinese holiday nor on the following foreign holidays (list)."

"The teacher will not be asked to make any purchase or expenditures from their own personal funds for any supplies or school activity(ies)."

"The teacher shall not be asked to perform any task nor assignment that is not specified in their written job description attached hereto as "Exhibit A".

"The teacher shall never be asked nor required to make any false statement nor representation about any school, company, service, nor product."

"The teacher will work only on the school premises and if needed to participate in any activity not on the school premises the school will provide full round-trip taxi or air fare in advance and not ask the teacher to take a bus nor a train."

"The teacher retains any all IP rights to any lesson plan and/or PPTs created by the teacher and same cannot be used without the teacher's express written consent. Violation of this clause shall result in an automatic penalty/fine of 20,000 yuan per documented incident."

"If the teacher is not paid in full for services rendered on the normal designated pay day nor within 24 hours of same, the teacher may, at their sole discretion, exit their contractual obligations without penalty nor further obligations."

This page will be updated twice monthly as we receive feedback from other teachers working in China. If you are already a teacher working in China and you want to suggest a clause, by all means send it to Legal[at]  You can also obtain a free copy of China's Labor Laws by request to the same email address. In China, the more you know, the smoother you flow!  Be prepared for the unexpected or you'll end up like this fellow below...

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  1. Not taking a bus or train? A little extreme.....

  2. Is there no legal obligation to participate in Marketing activities? Won't refusal get you blackballed as uncooperative?

  3. This why you must insist upon having a written job description attached as an exhibit to your contract mate. Also read this link here to avoid the biggest fraud targeting new hires:

  4. This is all about protecting new teachers and those who want to work overseas because otherwise they will get scammed or worse.

  5. Could please someone explain the 20.000 yuan penalty? Does it mean that the school ought to pay this amount for the teacher, or for whichever authority?
    In reality, would any school agree to sign such term...? Thank you!

    1. I'm thinking... if they agree to sign, they probably won't do it = no problems from any side.
      If they won't sign just move on

    2. Our web site has been under hack attack lately. So to be sure you are seeing the most current information go to either of the two links below and just scroll down. Thanks, we hope to have this fixed shortly. - Admin

  6. hi i need help ! i have a contact with my current school until the 30th of june, the same date my permit to be here expires . i have found new school (university ) and they want to process all documents now so i will have new permit before old expires. the university went to the office who gives foreign expert certificates but that office said they can give new one because my current school didn't cancel old one .
    now here whats complicated : i finish my classes 3 weeks ago so I'm just sitting at home doing nothing , my school saying that they won't cancel old certificate because they can't as law saying that they can only cancel when my contract finish. new university is saying that they can cancel at any time ... please tell me what can i do ?! can current school cancel it now if i don't have any classes anymore?

  7. I've worked in China for four years. In my first year I was paid 6000 RMB per month, and shared a school apartment. In my second and third year I was paid 10,000 RMB per month, including 1,500 rent allowance. In my fourth year I was paid 12,000 RMB including my 1,500 rent allowance...

    Then I discovered that the schools should have been paying my social welfare pension for 4 years. I have lost nearly 50,000 RMB! Cheats!! They and YOU - MUST pay your pension. It's the LAW. If you leave China before you are 65, you will receive your contributions back.
    Also, my students told me they were paying 600 RMB per hour for my classes!!!! Yet, I thought they were paying 200 RMB.
    You should be on between 16,000 - 20,000 RMB per month plus pension - if you are not, then they are bumming you in. They are very nice about it, too. Of course, you are making the Boss rich - only you don't know it and are just glad to be helpful...
    Sort yourselves out and get a lawyer. Then you'll finally get it...

    1. Please provide further details about this pension money being paid (by me?, the school?, other??) and how I can go about finding out if they are paying it, orhave been paying it

  8. hi i need help ! i have a contact with my current school until the 30th of october, the same date my permit to be here expires . i have found new school (university ) and they want to process all documents now so i will have new permit before old expires. the university went to the office who gives foreign expert certificates but that office said they can give new one because my current school didn't cancel old one .

  9. This may be all true.But at Guangdong Country Garden School, Foshan China. Teachers are forced to attend evening meetings from 6:30 p.m-9:00 p.m.These meetings are not in the contract, but you will be fired if you do not attend. You are given 10 sick days but fined rmb 1,500 if you use any.Get a lawyer is a good idea, but if your fired they cancel your visa in 1 week.

  10. If you sign the contract you are obligated to honor it in China, even if it violates Chinese law - or so you are told. Learn how to escape from a cap contract. Scroll to the top of this page to find the link to your freedom!

  11. Well, the obvious contract addition is missing: If - by law - the schools must pay the China Social Pension on be half of foreign teachers, why not INSIST the following clause be put in the contract: "In accordance with the laws of the PRC, the school will make contributions to the the China Social Welfare Pension on behalf of the foreign teacher".... UNLESS OF COURSE it is not MANDATORY for the employer to do it... SO, how bout posting some more info about this topic.

  12. hi, please let me know if you know where is my father Paul Stacklin,American 55 years old working? last I heard he is in Gansu province and move to xian Shaanxi province, I need him so bad,bc he left us about three years ago, He did crime and need to go to court bc he abandoned us, im 17 years old now.thank you

  13. Hi, I am in the same situation as Ahmed above. My current uni is unwilling to cancel my fec and my residence permit is going to expire in a couple of weeks... I've tried to contact FEB at Jiangxi province but it's imopssible due to they don't answer the emails and all phone number I could find out are all out of service...
    They issued my release letter on May, but I am still waiting for the cancellation of this.
    Any advice or suggestion? Is there something I can do to fix this? Thank you

  14. Hi, guys, I was looking for an English teacher porsition in China and I found this page: and teh compapy Zhirui Interaction International Culture Exchange Co.,Ltd contacted me by email, then by skype. I would like to know if this company is legal...

  15. Hello. I was offered employment through a new start up school which is a franchise of an American company. I initially agreed to go over to the school on a business f visa but found out after getting there that they wanted me to go to HK for visa runs until they got my z visa squared away. Feeling uncomfortable about this I requested a return to the US to wait out the process (in turn leaving a lot of my personal belongings behind as a sign of good faith). It has been close to a month and I am still waiting for the invitation and further information. Today I received a text message saying that an invitation letter will be DHL'd to me tomorrow. After looking at the scanned copy of what is supposed to be sent I noticed that the letter is coming from a consulting firm and not the actual school. I have asked if this is legal and for a copy of the schools license. Is there anything else I should be doing? Is it legal to get an invitation letter from another company and not the actual business you are supposed to work for? Help please.

    1. Hey,

      I saw your post did you obtained the position please?

    2. I found out just after posting my question that the school was not licensed. So, I am not with them. The school is Kids R Kids Nanjing.


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