Unforeseen End-of-Year Land Mines

cheated38615170With the academic year nearly completed, many of us are preparing to move on from our current schools to new schools, new adventures. For some, the experience is sadly not shaping up as anticipated. One group of schools has allegedly cast a shadow over what should be a time filled with good memories and excitement.

A school Review posted to ISR reflects the situation. In the Review a teacher asks, in an open letter to management, for fair treatment in regards to payment of salaries and funds owed departing staff. ISR Members can read the complete Review (Pls scroll to Review #22).

An excerpt from the Review:

….We all have contracts that show very clearly we are employed till the end of August and will be paid till then. But in my experience you do not respect any contract or the teachers you employ. I’m afraid you will try, once again, to cheat and defraud leaving staff by paying them only 40% of their salary. This school gives contracts with all kinds of allowances that are 60% of the total salary so that when the time comes for teachers to leave, they show them the contract and pay only 40% for July and August – that is ALL you take home with you for two or three years of hard work!….
ISR members can read more

SR would like to believe the majority of International Educators are in a supportive environment and finding the process of moving on to be a fulfilling experience. For educators in a situation like the one described above, it’s important you Post a Review so colleagues can be kept informed of potential land mines to be avoided. It’s equally important to post about good experiences, as such experiences are what we ALL want for ourselves and colleagues.

Some years ago a teacher at a Mexico City International School felt he had been treated unfairly. In an effort to warn other educators about his school, he followed the school’s recruiting team to various recruiting fairs to protest their presence. He reported his first-hand experiences to ISR and we posted them so readers could follow his efforts. It seems that shortly thereafter a new Director was in place.

Hopefully, the teacher who recently posted the above Review on ISR won’t have to go to the extremes of the teacher in Mexico City. Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is all about. These situations CAN be avoided!

Care to comment?

17 thoughts on “Unforeseen End-of-Year Land Mines

  1. Every year on ISR, it’s the same things, about the same schools and still, desperate teachers or others with demonic agendas, end up in these S***holes masquerding as educational institutions.

    Again, I ask teachers, what if anything can be done on an international scale, todevelop some sort of protective collective group against these atrocities?

    An individual is ALWAYS more easily exploited and it seems with all the postings about BAD SCHOOLS, people still end up going there, only to be decimated and all we do is pay to read about it.

    I feel it’s time for ISR to move to the next step in developing some meaningful ways to group international taechers into a force to be reckoned with or perhaps, change the focus of the site, as it’s not deterring teachers or schools from bad practices and experiences.

    We just pay money to read the sad sob stories of teacher victimization seemingly without any ability at all to change conditions for teachers worldwide and yet we want to be respected as professionals.

    We can’t even help, educate and protect ourselves as professionals yet we think we’re actually respected by the parents and societies of the children we are supposedly helping, educating and protecting.


  2. Noblese International School in Angeles, Philippines once offered me a two year contract but would only pay my vacation time at end of first year. Second year would be paid only if I signed another two year contract at end of the first contract. Essentially you get paid less in your second year than your first if you left for another job.
    At least their penny pinching attitude was in writing. I did not take it further.


  3. From my experience this seems to happen more than not in the middle east. Owners are clever, they are business people they have departments that sort out this stuff and less is more, the less than give out the more profits. Interestingly they don’t share that with you at sign up time, although you have asked, some wont commit to paper as yes that leaves a paper trail. Even in Russia you receive a bonus alas one day late back after the Christmas holidays even due to the fact that snow kept you from flying in your bonus was lost. sometimes you just have to think is being an international educator worth it? certainly the salaries, especially if paid in the local currency are not as good for many as at home, savings are minimal,I’ve basically lost 20% this year already, if you want any sane standard of living, flights are becoming increasingly excessive, then some schools demand you stay over and above the school year and pay a flight allowance, again out of pocket and again the flights go up in price once June is over.

    Then of course we have the parents to deal with the inane rules of the fostered land and then some, don’t get me wrong I have at this a long time, perhaps it’s time to say enough is enough.

    So word to the wise

    Get all on paper
    Ask questions and keep asking until you understand
    Check the make up of the salary
    Check the salary ladder, I have never seen one, obviously never Been in a top tire school
    Dont be pushed into something you don’t want
    Keep asking questions
    Keep asking questions


  4. Before signing your contract, have HR explain (in writing) how the last 2-month arrangement would be, to make sure ALL salaries for July-Aug and other benefits (such as housing/health insurance/etc.) are properly taken-cared of. In my experience, some schools had kept my last month salary to cover utility bills for June (water, phone, electricity, etc which normally are billed later in July) and have deposited the rest of the amount to my overseas bank. I don’t mind this arrangement at all as long as my full-gratuity (which is equivalent to 2-month salary for a 2-year contract) and outbound shipping allowance + airfare have already been given out before the end of the school year. It’s good to clarify these matters early on rather than assuming things would be fine until the last minute!


  5. Sadly, this is a growing trend in Qatar among the less reputable schools (of which the number is growing daily in the wild west educational environment of Qatar) such as Al-Jazeera. Contracts may go until the end of August, but schools will cancel visas at the end of the June and then claim that they are no longer responsible for paying out until the end of contract.

    Even Qatar University plays a variation of this scam – they will pay salaries until the end of August as stipulated in the contracts, but they too cancel visas in mid-June at the end of the school year and don’t pay out for housing and other benefits to the end of the contract period. In the case of Qatar University the issue has been taken before the authorities, but these things take years to sort out in Qatar, and the employers no it.

    Anyone seeking work in Qatar just needs to accept that that is how the Qatari’s have organized their system and to take it into account before they sign a contract.


    1. They also will terminate your health care along with your PR card when you leave and claim it is the insurance company.Some have even moved to having your health care year cycle from June to June,so if the card expires and you leave on summer vacation( as opposed to end of contract) without new one,you are on pay and then get refund.Even though you are under contract until end of July,but if they pay you when you lave,they just say voila,contract is finished.Funny things happen there,bu tthe biggest thing comes down to being with a reputable school.


  6. I would understand it to mean that the total salary (annual) would include all of these benefits and then be broken down into monthly payments, meaning that the teacher should be paid the same amount every month, for the full 12 months, including the summer months. It is to allow for a steady income. This has been the case in my past 12 years overseas.


  7. Interesting. I think it depends on what the contract actually says. If it states that you are paid through August, you are being paid for your working wage through August. I am thinking there is more to this situation than is being said. It probably says very clearly that your salary is paid, which is different than your benefits. To play Devil’s advocate, why should a school pay benefits like housing and utilities for 2 months after you leave the country?


  8. I agree with Cailin’s interpretation. Although it is extremely dodgy, they could use the salary breakdown they’ve created to justify their behaviour ie: since the teacher is no longer in the country, the school doesn’t feel compelled to pay the portion of the salary that is “earmarked” for housing, utilities, and health insurance. This definitely looks like a group of schools to miss. We can all do better than this!


    1. Why is this dodgy? Compensation is made up of i) salary and ii) benefits. Unless stated otherwise, benefits are not commutable – in other words, you don’t get the cash equivalent of unused benefits when you leave the country. Read the contract.


    2. I consider it dodgy because when these schools are advertising jobs, they state your monthly/yearly income based on this amount (teaching salary, housing benefits etc.). in order to attract potential candidates. If they only stated the teaching salary (which is often quite low), they’d have difficulty attracting candidates. Of course, everyone must read the fine print in their contracts, but I consider this a sleazy move and indicative of an employer who is likely not worth my time…or any of ours.


    3. So this may be misrepresentation on the part of the school in order to seduce teachers into signing on, but very few schools I know have a benefits package that pays out a cash equivalent on housing or utilities for the final two months of the contract when the teacher has already left the country.


    4. Agreed. Who’s housing and utilities benefits continue after they leave? Why would they?

      Nahcuur, I haven’t seen any jobs advertised as “$100,000 salary per year, $40,000 cash, and $60,000 in benefits such as housing, paid utilities, and insurance.”


    5. The jobs may not be explicitly advertised as such, it’s true. But what I think is happening is that the schools are advertising the monthly salary as 15 000 riyals, and then later saying, “oh we’ll only pay you 6 000 riyals a month in the summer because that other money represents your housing benefits etc.” If teachers sign on for this in full understanding of the implications in the first place, I suppose it’s fine. But I still think it’s dishonest. Of course I don’t expect my employer to give me cash in the summer for my housing and utilities which I don’t use. What I do expect is full payment of my teaching salary, 12 months a year. A school that doesn’t do this or that plays tricks at the last minute to try to withhold my hard-earned wages is one that I will happily avoid…and I would argue that we all should until they change their practices.


  9. Teaching salary + housing allowance + health insurance + utility allowance +….
    Then for July and August only the teaching salary part is paid. That’s how I understand it.


    1. You are correct. Your salary is 15,000 riyal a month which is in your contract. Its a 2 year contract right so you expect to get paid 15,000 for 24 months (plus your gratuity which is yours by right anyway as it is Qatar law.)

      WRONG! You will not get paid this amount every month. 40% of your salary is your ‘basic salary’ (6,000). The rest is 60% of allowances (9,000)

      When you leave at the end of the ACADEMIC year you will only be paid the 2 months summer holiday at 40%. You won’t get your allowances so you lose out on 18,000 riyal.
      Think about that.


  10. What exactly does this mean: “This cheating company gives contracts with all kinds of allowances that are 60% of the total salary so that when the time comes for teachers to leave or be sacked, they show them the contract and pay only 40% for July and August – that is all you take home with you for two or three years of hard work.”

    I think some clarification and examples are needed for this to make sense.


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