Know Your Labor Laws
Knowing your labor rights when traveling and teaching abroad should be priority #1 before signing contracts with employers you neither have formally met nor have solid information about. ESL schools and various other entities come and go all the time. Just because the ESL entity appears to be a legitimate institution does not mean that the employer / employee relationship will be. It is, too often, a recurring event of the foreign ESL teacher accepting a position based on email and skype communication to arrive in the host country and have the whole employment situation and agreement change.
It is a false premise that because you are choosing to offer your teaching services in a foreign country that you are not subject to the labor /labour laws of the host country. The whole point of labor / labour laws is to protect the interests of ALL employees in the country and that includes foreign labor.
It is also a false premise that, in the event of a labor or contract issue, your embassy / consulant is going to assist you. Most embassies / consulants will not get involved in labor disputes. Therefore, it behooves you to have at least a basic understanding of your labor rights and local labor laws before signing into agreements that could make your ESL experience a nightmare. In addition, it is wise of you to keep an eye out for changes in local labor laws. As a further note, just because employers in countries chose to not follow their labor laws or it is common for under-the-table deals to be cemented doesnt mean you need to be subject to these agreements. If the immigration people or police are out doing their rounds, the onus will fall on you. The employer often can and will pay off the local authorities but they have the money to do so. Do you?
Below you will find most of the major updated labor laws translated into english. You may peruse them via the site or download them for future reference. If we are missing a set of labor laws and you happen to have them feel free to email them to us at the email address below.
Send country labor laws in any format to: ESL Teachers United: Legal Department
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