Well, I had hoped to bring some good news to the foreign teachers of Thailand, but alas it is not to be. In fact, it is very bad.
Our case went down like the Titanic today. We had our labor law book and even the attorney that wrote the book. We had done our research and were trying to get ready to petition the school for further damages when we pulled the school registration and then the bomb went off.
I cannot address the issue of severence other than if the school is private it is up to the kindness in their hearts on this matter. But they have no law to force them to give out severance pay. However, public or for-profit schools are forced to pay. I did not ask about the international schools.
Several of us from a well know private school went to file a class action against the acts committed against us, ie..unfair dismissal, failure to notify, failure to abide by the Labor Protection Act, failure to follow contractual disciplinary guidelines, and also severence pay. What we found out was as follows.
For the rights of teachers at private schools. You have none. PERIOD. We just left our attorney and it has been shown that private schools are above all Thai laws. In fact, there is no law to regulate them. The only thing they must go by is their contract with the teacher. That is correct....They do not fall under any law or provision of the Thai Labor Protection Act. They are exempt.
It has now been shown without a doubt that the school owners have found a way to avoid paying benefits, severences, or exercising any form of labor rights for its employees while they get richer.
If you as a teacher work for a private school you are to expect nothing more than the contract they give you. So buyer beware......They can terminate at will, work as they chose, offer or not offer what they want and you have no recourse under Thai Labor Law. If you do not believe me you can go to a reputable lawyer of which we did and he/she will show you the law. And before you ask, "Yes, the Thai Supreme Court upheld this right to the private school".
It is simply amazing that the Thai government will not protect even it's own Thai citizens from the type of neglect and abuse from owners that have chosen to get around the labor and social protection laws to make themselves richer.
If you are working in Thailand or planning on coming to Thailand to teach, you need to be aware that you have not one single right under Thai Labor Protection Act if you work for a private school and they know this. They exploit this and the Thai government support it. Go elsewhere if you can. We are all leaving this great land and recommend it to no one except for a vacation.
schools that are not private or non-profit are accountable to the laws. If you have a renew letter or intent to renew a contract the contract is not viewed as a fixed term but a continuous contract. All laws apply to any other schools not in the above category. If our school were not private we were to be awarded seven months total pay plus our final 2 months and bonus.
We were just dumbfounded that the government would allow this obvious ruling to get around the law. It makes us think a major payoff was committed at a very high level. All in all, our law firm was just great. In fact, because we were dropped dead in the water, the law firm wavered all fees and charged us nothing. That in itself really impressed me.
The key is for teachers not to work for private schools. Nearly all the complaints we have found where teachers did not get paid was from privates and those paid were not privates. The worst schools seem to pay the best salaries just to keep the teachers in line and compliant. I do not have any information on international schools or how they are regulated. If I have to teach here agian, my first question will be are you registered as private or non-profitable? However, I highly suspect I will be leaving Thailand asap. China and Vietnam offer better pay and at least it cannot be any worse.
Justice for Chalkies