Once you’ve made contact with a school you’re interested in and they are duly interested in you a contract will be sent your way. These are the important things to note about the contract which will be sent in Chinese and English:
- Make sure you agree on a salary and that it’s printed in the contract (People with masters degrees or above should make a higher salary than those with only a bachelors degree)
- Check the dates on the contract. One friend thought he had signed a contract for one year when in fact the school had slyly made him sign a two year contract in a bid to get him to either stay longer or have to pay them a fine.
- There should be information about the school provided apartment and what is included with the apartment. Just a heads up: there are very rarely laundry dryers or dishwashers in Chinese apartments so don’t expect these to be included in the apartment. If you’re not living on the campus or the school isn’t providing and apartment but instead a housing allowance, make sure the information about how much money they are giving you is included.
- Information about who is paying for the visa/residence permit should be included. You will have to pay for the Z visa (which you get in your home country and we will talk more about later), the school will almost always, and should, pay for the residence permit which you will get when you arrive.
- Schools are required to provide accident insurance to their employees. Information about this should be included in the contract.
It is important to make sure that the Chinese and English contracts match since the government will defer to the Chinese contract if there is an issue. Mostly you just need to check the money and dates are the same.
If you agree to the contract you will need to print it out, sign it, scan it, and e-mail it back to the school. You will sign a more official copy once you’ve arrived in China. Be sure to print a copy of the contract for yourself to keep as a record.
If you don’t agree to the contract then you need to let the school know. You may be able to negotiate some changes but if you can’t come to an agreement then you need to look for a different school. Most contracts are very similar though.
Here is an example of your typical contract:
CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, P.R. China
(Photocopy not Accepted)
CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
Employer (Party A)
Name of the Employer:
Agent ad litem:
Employed Foreign Experts or Professionals (Party B)
Date of Birth:
I. Both parties, in line with the principles of legality, fairness, equality, mutual agreement, honesty, and trustworthiness, on a voluntary basis, and in a spirit of friendly cooperation, agree to sign this contract and pledge to fulfill all the obligations stipulated hereinafter.
II. The term of this contract shall be from 1st day of September,2011 to 30th day of June,2012 , with the first month set as probation period.
III. Tasks assigned to Party B (see the appendix).
IV. Party B’s monthly salary shall be RMB 8000 (before tax), of which 0 % can be converted into foreign currency on a monthly basis. Please see the appendix for terms and conditions on other remunerations and benefits concerned.
V. Party A’s Obligations:
- Party A shall inform Party B of relevant laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China as well as any institutions and administrative stipulations concerned with Party B’s employment as herein provided.
- Party A shall conduct regular supervision, inspection and review of Party B’s working performance.
- Party A shall provide Party B with necessary working and living conditions.
- Party A shall deploy fellow staff for Party B for coordination affairs.
- Party A shall pay Party B’s salary as scheduled.
VI. Party B’s Obligations:
- Party B shall observe relevant laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China and shall not interfere in China’s internal affairs.
- Party B shall observe any institutions and administrative stipulations concerned with its employment, and shall be subject to Party A’s arrangements, supervision, inspection and review of his/her working performance. Without Party A’s consent, Party B shall not conduct any part-time job assigned by any other party.
- Party B shall fulfill the tasks assigned to him/her with high standards within the prescribed timeframe.
- Party B shall respect China’s religious policies, and shall not conduct any religious activities incompatible with his/her status as a foreign expert.
- Party B shall respect Chinese people’s ethics and customs.
VII. Revision, Cancellation and Termination of the Contract:
Both parties shall abide by the contract and shall refrain from revising, canceling, or terminating the contract without mutual consent.
- Revision of the contract. This contract can be revised with mutual consent. Before both parties have reached an agreement, the contract shall be strictly observed.
- Cancellation of the contract. This contract can be canceled with mutual consent. Before both parties have reached an agreement, the contact shall be strictly observed.
(1) Under the following conditions, Party A shall have the right to inform Party B in writing of the cancellation of this contract:
- Party B fails to fulfill this contract or the obligations and agreed conditions as herein stipulated, and fails to amend his/her actions after Party A has pointed it out;
- On the basis of the physician’s diagnosis, Party B fails to resume normal work after a sick leave for a period of successive 30 days.
(2) Party B has the right to inform Party A in writing of the cancellation of this contract under the following conditions:
- Party A fails to provide Party B with necessary working and living conditions as stipulated in this contract:
- Party A fails to pay Party B as scheduled.
(3) In case either party asks to terminate this contract, it shall give a 30 day notice to the other party in writing, and the contract shall only be terminated after 30 days.
(4) This contract can be terminated upon mutual agreement by both parties.
- Termination of the contract.
(1) This contract shall be terminated once it expires.
(2) This contract may be terminated with the mutual consent of both parties, and it shall be strictly observed until both parties reach an agreement otherwise.
VIII. Breach Penalty
When either party fails to fulfill any part or all of the obligations as stipulated in this contract, that is, in the event of breach of the contract, the said party shall pay a breach penalty of US$ 800 to 3000 or equivalent to 3 to 10 times Party B’s monthly salary in RMB. If both parties consider it necessary to determine an exact sum of the breach penalty, or to determine a breach penalty higher or lower than the above-mentioned amount, it shall be explicated in the appendix of this contract.
When Party B claims to cancel this contract due to force majeure, it shall produce certifying documents issued by competent authorities; after the contract is cancelled with Party A’s consent, Party B shall bear the traveling expenses thus incurred; and when Party B fails to provide any valid reason to cancel this contract, it shall bear the traveling expenses thus incurred and pay the breach penalty to Party A as stipulated in this contract.
When Party A claims to cancel this contract due to force majeure, and the contract is thus cancelled with Party B consent, it shall bear Party B’s traveling expenses thus incurred; and when Party A fails to provide any valid reason to cancel this contract, it shall bear the traveling expenses thus incurred to Party B and pay the breach penalty to Party B as stipulated in this contract.
IX. The appendix of this contract forms an indispensable part of this contract and shall have the same legal effect with the text of this contract.
X. This contract shall take effect upon being signed by both parties and shall be automatically terminated upon expiration. When either party requires signing a renewed contract, it shall forward its request to the other party 30 days prior to the expiration of this contract, and both parties shall sign the new contract through consultations and mutual consent.
Upon the expiration of this contract, Party B shall bear all the expenses incurred during his own stay in China.
XI. Settlement to Dispute
Any dispute in connection with this contract shall be first of all settled between both parties concerned through friendly consultation. In case no settlement can be reached through consultations or intermediation, both parties shall submit the said dispute for arbitration with local personnel authorities or the local labor arbitration system. In case either party refuses to accept the arbitration award, it may bring an action before the people’s court.
This contract is signed by both parties at School on . This contract is in duplicate, each in both Chinese and English versions, and both shall take effect upon being signed at the same time.
Party A: Party B:
This appendix is an inseparable part of the contract, the provisions stipulated in the appendix have the equal effect as those stipulated in the contract, therefore, both parties must strictly abide and fulfill them.
Party A’s Obligations:
- Party A should pay Party B in cash the salary (after tax) of last working month within the first 10 days of next month. Without teaching task, the salary for the winter holiday is half paid.
- Party A should pay Party B living allowance in bills(￥500) for water, electricity ,gas , each working month, the total sum will be no more than ￥500, otherwise, Party B should pay extra fees.
- Party A provides Party B a furnished apartment containing one bedroom, one sitting room ，one bathroom with shower ,one kitchen, utensils and necessary electrical appliances with the payment of rent by Party A. If Party B rents an apartment by himself, Party A shall offer the house rent (not over RMB3500 per mouth), which will be paid to Party A with normal invoice attached. But Party B will be responsible for his own safety.
- Party A should buy Party B commercial medical insurance within the contract period.
- Party A should be responsible for application of the required work permit to teach in China for Party B.
- Party A should pay Party B for single way air tickets based on one-year contract. The flight should be the most economical between Shanghai and his home destination.
- Party A should provide Party B a laptop for teaching use and necessary teaching facility and materials. When the contract is canceled or terminated, Party B must return the laptop and other teaching materials provided by Party A.
Party B’s Obligations:
- Party B should observe Party A’s work system and regulations concerning administration of foreign experts and shall accept Party A’s arrangement, direction, supervision and evaluation regarding his/her work.
- Party B must teach classes according to the schedules, plans, and other teaching requirements of Party A.
- Party B should deliver 24 teaching periods per week on weekdays otherwise indicated by the government for adjusting holidays, each period takes 40 minutes and the total is up to 16 hours. No office hours are needed if there are no classes, questions asked by students, or meetings scheduled.
- Party B must follow the class schedule assigned by Party A. If Party B is to miss a scheduled class for any reason, Party B should inform Party A at least 24 hours in advance and get permission of Party A. Party A will arrange time for Party B to make up the missing classes and the number of the make-up periods is no more than 4 within each month, otherwise, half payment of the extra make-up periods is to be deducted from the monthly salary. If the make-up time is not available, the salary is to be deducted based on the missing classes.
- Party B must properly maintain and use furniture, utensils ,electric appliances provided by Party A for Party B’s living and the laptop provided by Party A for Party B’s teaching , once damage or loss occur to them, Party B must compensate for the damage or loss.
When either party fails to fulfill any part or all of the obligations as stipulated in this contract, that is, in the event of breach of the contract, the said party shall pay a breach penalty of US$800 TO 3000.
A lot of technical mumbo jumbo but it’s important to thoroughly read contracts and make sure you can not only understand them but are able to fulfill them too.
Next time… Visas