All things come to an end

And I am so happy that they do! 

Yesterday marked the end of the aggravation in my life that was South Korea. As most of you know, the last year has been one giant struggle with my former bosses.

After filing a petition with a free agency, and writing up a bad review on a popular website for teachers, there has finally been a resolution to this situation. Not a super great one, but at least it’s resolved.

As stated in a previous post, my petition first went to the pension office, which of course it was denied since I was never registered with that office. It was then forwarded to the Ministry of Employment and Labour. This made me excited. If it was being forwarded on, that meant that my claim had value.

In the middle of last week, more than a month after I left Korea, my “former boss” finally emailed me. Now this isn’t the “manager” (seriously picture me using actual air quotes for all of this) that I had been led to believe was my boss. Oh no, he denies any responsibility. This was some woman that to my knowledge, I had never met.

Anyways, I get this email from her saying that my leaving without notice had caused some issues surrounding what I was owed money wise, but after sitting with a Ministry representative, she had reached a sum which she would pay me.

When I first left, I emailed my “manager” and told him what I expected. It was around $3000 Canadian, and was fair. It took into consideration any payments that would still have to be made in my name, and taxes and other deductions. When I failed to receive payment, I then submitted my petition, which didn’t take off any of that which made the payment jump to around $3500 CND.

As I was reading this woman’s email, at first I was happy because she was committed to payment. But then, as I kept reading I started to feel anger. First of all, she didn’t even have the decency to spell my name correctly. It is spelled correctly in my emails to them, my email is literally my first and last name. My contract has my first name on it, the petition I sent. Yet no… she couldn’t even get that right.

I was only being credited for the days in October I worked. It didn’t matter that my contract was illegally broken without proper notice. I was being deducted for the supply teacher they had to hire for the 6 days I had left, deducted for apartment cleaning, and for fixing a sink which I didn’t break and for a plug for a sink which was missing when I arrived. All the deductions cut the initial payment in HALF, sending me just under $900.

I emailed back, not wanting to cause too much of an issue. I asked to have the sink costs taken off, but then also have my flight allowance added on, which would double her first offer.

She replied rather quickly and basically said it was non-negotiable. And since I left before my contract was completed that the flight allowance was waived. It does state that clearly in my contract. If I wanted to pursue the issue further, I was free to contact the Ministry personally.  Again I was slightly enraged by this. They can’t just decide what clauses in my contract they will uphold and which ones they won’t. 

It only took me a quick second to grasp the realness of the whole situation. Yes, they had broken Korean labour laws and my contract more ways that I could possibly count. But in leaving early, I also broke my contract. It didn’t matter if it had already been terminated illegally, or whatever, it was my action. If I had stayed those extra 8 days, I had been promised full payment. I didn’t believe them, but I had been verbally assured that I would get all monies owed to me.

So I emailed  her back and accepted her offer. I knew I was never going to get the full amount I was requesting, and at least I was getting something. There are so many people who will work their whole contract and not get final payment. Or who will just not get paid for a few months and then be told they have no job, no apartment, and oh yes, you’re not getting any money either. In reality, I was getting a good (ish) deal.

When she cabled the money, she sent an email notifying me that it had been sent, and also that she had included the 3rd pension payment that I would have received with October’s pay. In total, I was credited with just under $1100 in my account. 1/3 of what I had originally asked for.

But at least it is settled. That money will help with Christmas presents and getting new things for my apartment that I need (like a kettle! Bought tea the other day and I have no kettle…)

On to happier things!! Musical advent! Today’s two selections come from Gretchen over at gm1123. Out of the suggestions that I was given, her’s were the only two that I didn’t already have on my list! Gretchen, I hope I found the right versions! 

Merry Christmas to you – Nat King Cole 

Merry Christmas Baby – Otis Redding 

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