Hey all.. I thought I'd share what happened on my last day so that you might be more prepared than I was. I might catch some flak for posting all this information out in the open, but this information needs to be shared.
So I get my final salary statement for my last month's work in the meeting. $2,100 NT. That's right, for a full months work I get $2,100 NT.
Looking closer, I noticed they had taken off 4 days unpaid leave during chinese new year. I asked why, and they said that because I didn't work a full 6 months, I wasn't entitled to that vacation and therefore they were unpaid leave days (even though school wasn't open then anyways, and it's a government holiday). I ran the numbers and I, of course, been there 6 months an a few days. My contract started Sept. 1, and they tried to get me to sign something saying my last day was Feb. 27th, thus putting me one day short.
I told them about the days I worked before Sept. 1 and all this, and they went to discuss it. I took the paper saying my last day was on the 27th, ready to rip it up if they said no. They finally agreed and made me a new salary sheet where I now got ~$12,300 NT.
As if that wasn't bad enough: I take it home and after a little thinking, I realize they probably did some weird hijinks on the taxes. So I took a calculator to it and they did in fact screw me over. They took out my half-month's salary AFTER TAXES. [they took out the half-month pay for breaking contract, which I'm aware is illegal, but I foolishly agreed to it in my contract severely limiting my legal options] So I paid taxes on the half-month salary I didn't get. The difference is $5,300 NT (~$150 US). Which as we know the school mostly pockets anyway because they are actively committing tax fraud by underreporting our income to the government... so more profit for them.
I went back to the school and talked to someone about it. She didn't understand because it involved basic math. When she finally got most of it (after about 20 minutes explaining) and explained it to someone else there, they said the half-month was taken out after taxes because "it's money for the school, so it's different"
...which I said was wrong, because this is *my* income statement and it has nothing to do with the school. I don't pay taxes on money that I don't get. It's as simple as that.
so I kept arguing and arguing and eventually she told me to send an email to the head foreign teacher. I said he doesn't know crap about Taiwanese taxation laws. She looked me in the eye and told me "he will know." I called her a liar, in those words, because no. He will not know.
I asked if the school owner was there, and she said no. So I was on my way out, very pissed, then I just decided to go to his office anyways and his wife, who is equally involved in the business was there. I explained it to her, and she got it right away.. made a few phone calls, then went through the calculations just as I did, came up with the same numbers, and told them to pay me the money.
I went back to the office to get the money, and they were there, I told them I should get the money. They just say "oh". After all this crap. They don't say "sorry" or anything.
My hands were shaking and my head was pounding, I wanted to punch the one lady in the face. I just start going off on them while I'm waiting for the other lady to make the new balance sheet. I told them all these things, verbatim:
"you cheated me out of money twice? that's completely despicable!" (I laugh discouragingly, and they laugh along like idiots)
"How can you look yourselves in the mirror. Seriously? What you're doing is dishonest and you lie constantly. You're always trying to steal money from us. I don't know how you live with yourselves."
They said "sometimes we make mistakes and teachers have to catch them"
and I said "oh so you lie and lie and then sometimes you get caught and sometimes you don't. More money for Uncle Sam, right?"
I was shaking my head back and fourth the whole time, looking them right in the eyes.
Then I got my money, waved it infront of them and said "bye! have fun ripping off other foreigners!" as I walked out the door.
I would like to note that this is far from the first time they've tried things like this. And usually, I don't get the money. There was also the issue of the incentive, which I did not get. No month-salary bonus for chinese new year like most schools get. Deductions for sick days, even though we're paid on salary and not per hour. These are a few of the things I have let slide. There's so much more crap. I have discovered entirely new levels of anger within myself that I never even thought existed.
Uncle Sam American School. If I believed in hell, they would certainly be headed there. I hope someday a few of them wake up out of their clouded mental retardation and realize what exactly they're doing and then have the moral fortitude to step away from it and do something that isn't reprehensible.
If you have any sense in your head, avoid working at this school. It's the absolute worst place to work and they WILL screw you over and back-stab you at every opportunity they get. Be prepared for hours of tense arguments just to get what you were promised originally... if you can even manage that. The school is organized to extract money and put it in the owner's pocket (the owner of the chain of Uncle Sam American School). It doesn't exist to make teachers happy, or to most importantly teach students. It only wishes to placate the parents in to sinking more money in to the school so the owner can buy a leather interior in his $100k US BMW. No one in the administration cares about anything except themselves and the money they can make.
And I'm not a lone case here. The foreign teachers nearly unanimously agree on the conditions. If you're considering this school, please don't. Unless you want to learn some very hard lessons about just how scummy the business world of Taiwan can really be.