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  1. #1
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Micromanaging and overtime

    I mentioned in a previous post I was taking on a job in Shanghai with a JV, teaching a few hours a week, and creating content.

    Turns out my Singaporean boss is an annoying 'micro manager', observing all my classes (along with half the middle school's staff). Constantly calling pointless meetings, and booting me out the office if I'm deemed not necessary to the meeting.

    The contract calls for 40 hours work/week, 9-6, with an hour at lunch. No one really takes a full hour, as the office is isolated, and we all eat in the canteen in the basement, then back to work.

    At contract signing yesterday I queried whether OT was paid/unpaid - no, it's not. And they're also fiddling the books so that I get 5k on the 5th of each month and 15k at the end of each month. So for September I'll get 5k on October 5th, and the remaining 15k on October 30th - WTF!

    Today he says I'll be taking on another project (with a look in his eyes suggesting OT was involved).

    Fuck OT, I want to get this year contract out the way, and move on. If they're going to piss me around I'll leave sooner.

    He reminds me of a boss I had when I was 20 who was belligerent when I told him I was taking a weekend off - one weekend in a month (2 days out of 31). I told that clown to piss right off, and have never looked back.

    I'm going to sit tight for now, but I need to make it clear where I stand on unpaid OT, excessive hours, and being micromanaged. This needs to be done diplomatically, with me or him losing our cool or face.

    Suggestions please.

    BTW Shanghai is a pile of shite - overpriced accommodation and air quality that's given me a painful set of lungs.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like good times!!


  3. #3
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    Do you have a contract? I guess not, but on the off chance you do, what does it say about overtime payments?

  4. #4
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverna View Post
    Do you have a contract? I guess not, but on the off chance you do, what does it say about overtime payments?
    I do. And it says nothing about overtime. So I explicitly asked - was told no OT payments. Thus I won't be doing OT.

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    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    Oops. I'm sorry for missing your three references in the OP to your contract!

  6. #6
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas View Post
    Today he says I'll be taking on another project (with a look in his eyes suggesting OT was involved).
    Play it by ear. It looks like he hasn't actually stated that OT will be required or expected for the project.

    But it does seem like you have let yourself in for it to some extent - at contract signing querying whether OT was paid/unpaid, being told it's unpaid and yet still signing (unless you asked after the signing).

    To be honest, it sounds like you aren't happy at all. Perhaps you should negotiate an end to the contract, or wait until the OT issue rears its head and then go your separate ways.
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  7. #7
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas
    Thus I won't be doing OT.
    That's sorted.

    Add payment terms to contract. Paid on first of month for example. They may still jerk you around but keep track of when paid so if you ever have a labor dispute you have records.
    .
    Take the full hour for lunch even if you don't need it.

    Not much you can do contractually regarding the micro managing. Do your job to the letter of the contract and ignore the prick if asked to go beyond your contract terms and conditions.

    He'll either get the message and stop micro managing or you won't get another contract renewal. Either way a win for you.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat Black Heart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas View Post
    I mentioned in a previous post I was taking on a job in Shanghai with a JV, teaching a few hours a week, and creating content.

    Turns out my Singaporean boss is an annoying 'micro manager', observing all my classes (along with half the middle school's staff). Constantly calling pointless meetings, and booting me out the office if I'm deemed not necessary to the meeting.

    The contract calls for 40 hours work/week, 9-6, with an hour at lunch. No one really takes a full hour, as the office is isolated, and we all eat in the canteen in the basement, then back to work.

    At contract signing yesterday I queried whether OT was paid/unpaid - no, it's not. And they're also fiddling the books so that I get 5k on the 5th of each month and 15k at the end of each month. So for September I'll get 5k on October 5th, and the remaining 15k on October 30th - WTF!

    Today he says I'll be taking on another project (with a look in his eyes suggesting OT was involved).

    Fuck OT, I want to get this year contract out the way, and move on. If they're going to piss me around I'll leave sooner.

    He reminds me of a boss I had when I was 20 who was belligerent when I told him I was taking a weekend off - one weekend in a month (2 days out of 31). I told that clown to piss right off, and have never looked back.

    I'm going to sit tight for now, but I need to make it clear where I stand on unpaid OT, excessive hours, and being micromanaged. This needs to be done diplomatically, with me or him losing our cool or face.

    Suggestions please.

    BTW Shanghai is a pile of shite - overpriced accommodation and air quality that's given me a painful set of lungs.
    Sorry to hear the news.

    If things don't change it'll be best to leave the job and leave Shanghai for greener pastures.

  9. #9
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    You may beed leave oobtain for a a Z visa? but having been Shanghai's theres hundreds of other posts in Jiangsu ,Suzhou Changzhou or Nanjinre entera re more attrctive cities to me all wet and winy Xiamen S or Taipei nicer climes nushi etc

  10. #10
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    It's been quite a few years since I worked in China so my memories of labour law may be both a bit hazy as well as quite possibly being out of date, but my take on it is this:


    Late payment of salary: the law states that your salary needs to be paid on a monthly basis. If your contract doesn't state by which day your full salary will be paid (and most don't) then, so long as the salary is paid on a monthly basis, the actual date that the salary is paid is a matter of agreement between employer and employee (i.e. at the employer's discretion).

    From China Labour Bulletin - Wages and employment | China Labour Bulletin

    Wage arrears

    The deliberate non-payment, delayed payment or partial payment of wages is a serious, long-standing and widespread problem in China; particularly in the construction and manufacturing industries, but also increasingly in the mining industry and services such as retail, hospitality and education.

    A survey of construction workers in five Chinese cities conducted in 2013 showed that overall just 20 percent of construction workers got paid on a regular monthly basis, while in the capital Beijing the rate was as low as 5.5 percent. The most common practice was for workers to be paid a portion of their salary for daily expenses and the
    remainder of the salary on completion of the project. In many cases, however, workers who were owed wages only got a small proportion of what they were owed or were only paid the local minimum wage rather than the rate for skilled labour originally agreed.

    The situation worsened further in 2014 as the economy slowed and the property market slumped dramatically. Developers were saddled with declining sales, weaker credit availability and continued pressure from local governments to buy land. In these situations, because of the multiple lawyers of sub-contracting in the construction industry, it was the workers who were always the last to be paid.

    In the manufacturing industry as well, there has been a definite increase in the number of wage arrears cases since early 2014. The majority of these protests are in the traditional manufacturing centres along the southeast coast, especially the Pearl River Delta, where factories are struggling to stay afloat as the economy slows, and prices and demand falls.


    The response of central and local governments to this long-standing problem has traditionally been to wait until just before the New Year Holiday and then put pressure on delinquent bosses to pay their workers – a highly inefficient and superficial endeavour that fails to address the root of the problem. Criminal sanctions for the malicious non-payment of wages were introduced in the 2011 Amended Criminal Law but few successful prosecutions have so far been made. In 2015, the Guangdong provincial government proposed specific new legislation under which delinquent bosses could face fines of up to 200,000 yuan but again it is difficult to see how this will be effectively enforced.


    Payment of overtime:

    There are several ways that a working week is calculated depending on what your job is. As stated below, most 'nine to five' style office-style workers would come under the Standard system, the Comprehensive stystem being more suitable for shift workers etc.

    The issue you have is whether there is an expectation that you work without overtime because you deemed to be in a senior management position. When, and this was a few years back, I was working on revised labour contracts for my ex-employer in China we ran to issues on this. Our policy at the time was that office staff did not qualify for overtime but that manual labourers did. The best that we could do in the employment contracts was to state that office hours were from x to y each day, five days a week however there was an expectation that employees may need to work outside these hours if the nature of their role dictated it. The grey area was to do with whether an employee was deemed to be a 'senior manager'. The way the law interpreted this at the time - although it may have changed - was that if an employee either had:

    1) people reporting to them
    2) the word 'Manager', 'Director' or the like in their job title
    3) a role whereby they had a reasonable degree of autonomy or decision-making ability (this included sales people)

    then the employee could be argued to be a manager. Anyone who didn't have this (secretaries, receptionists, other clerical staff etc) was deemed to not be a manager and could therefore legitimately claim for overtime if we asked them to work outside the contractual office hours.

    From Ecovis website: China HR: The 21 most asked HR questions about the Chinese labor law Part 1/2 - Ecovis Steuerberatung Wirtschaftsprüfung Rechtsberatung vor Ort in Deutschland und China

    How many hours can you let an employee work?

    The Chinese system has three different systems to calculate the allowed hours per day. The standard working hour system is suitable for office workers. Under this system the normal working day shall not exceed 8 hours per day and no more than 44 hours per week. Under the comprehensive working hour system, the hours are calculated on a specific period such as week, month or quarter. The average day shall also not have more than 8 hours and the average week shall not have more than 44hours.

    The third system, the non-fixed work hour system, does not calculate any hours and is therefore mainly used for senior management positions.

    How much does overtime cost?

    Under the standard working hour system overtime shall be paid based on a certain percentage of the basic hourly wage for each overtime hour:

    On working days: 150%
    On weekends: 200%
    On public holidays: 300%

    Under the comprehensive work hour system, overtime is calculated as follows:

    Beyond ordinary shift: 150%
    On public holidays: 300%



    It's going to come down to what's in your contract, but my guess is that as a foreigner on a Z visa there would be an expectation that you are at a level in an organisation that, in one way or another, would exclude you from overtime payments. In the absence of any written agreement from your employer stating that you could claim overtime, any claims against your employer for non-payment of overtime would be likely to be thrown out by a labour court.

    Unfortunately I think in both the way that your salary is being paid and in overtime your employer is not legally in the wrong. Morally...?

    What it comes down to is this:

    If you want to stick with the job beyond your contract then work the hours it takes and prove your worth so that when it comes to renegotiating the new contract you are considered to be that much more valuable to the company.

    If, as I suspect, you can't see yourself staying beyond the current contract then work the hours you are paid to work. If your employer is not happy with it then discuss terminating the contract early through mutual agreement.

    It sounds a pretty awful situation so the best of luck with it, I hope things begin to work themselves out for you.

  11. #11
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    Find a new job, simple as that. Singaporean boy is treating you the same as he would some 10k rmb a month local lad and you will struggle to break that cycle. The salary being paid a month late is a trick to keep you there, being done because no one was staying their long and leaving after pay day. Its the same trick a lot of gogo club owners do in Thailand .... don't pay the salary until the girls have worked another couple of weeks and have that money owed. If you leave, you can kiss good bye to the owed money by the sound of it. Have you thought about smashing his weasel face in?
    Originally Posted by bsnub "No wonder I drive a tesla"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas View Post

    At contract signing yesterday I queried whether OT was paid/unpaid - no, it's not. And they're also fiddling the books so that I get 5k on the 5th of each month and 15k at the end of each month. So for September I'll get 5k on October 5th, and the remaining 15k on October 30th - WTF!

    .
    What currency? Yuan? Not too shabby if it is.

  13. #13
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    What currency? Yuan? Not too shabby if it is.
    It is. But I will need to get it paid no later than the 5th of the following month, not the 30th/31st.

    And others, thanks for the advice, and words.

  14. #14
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    Vote with your feet mate.

  15. #15
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Vote with your feet mate.
    In China you 'belong' to your company - they sponsored your work visa, thus once you leave them it is cancelled. They can get quite nasty, as it costs them money.

    You also need a release letter from them to get a new job in China.

    Frankly, I'm done with China. Will build up a bit of cash over the next few months, and probably finish up around Chinese New Year (February).

    Tried really hard to find a well paying job in Malaysia and Thailand, and nothing came through.

    Maybe I need to go my own route in the future. I quite enjoyed teaching uni 2-3 days (10-14 hours)/week and IELTS examining 2/3 weekends/month (same money as now, lot more free time to tutor privately, head to the beach, go hiking etc).

  16. #16
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas
    Maybe I need to go my own route in the future.
    Good idea. Especially as a content provider. Good money to be made and you're pretty much your own boss.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus View Post
    If you leave, you can kiss good bye to the owed money by the sound of it.
    Yeah, occasionally the scummier companies in Taiwan used to do that, years ago.

    You need to somehow manoeuvre him into a position where you are getting paid in a more up to date way.....or you'll get screwed out of the last money when you leave.

  18. #18
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    Sounds like you've let him walk all over you with the free overtime, working your dinner breaks and scampering out of the office every time he clicks his fingers.

    You've gotta nip this in the bud pronto. soon your fellow teachers will nickname you Toenails, if they haven't done so already, because you're that far up the guys Arse that's all they can see.

    Take an extended dinner break tomorrow down the local boozer, you'll find you will think a lot straighter after 8 pints, don't leave until you've recouped all of those minutes that little slant eyed fucker has had out of you.

    Then go into school and sit down and talk it through with him civilly, after you've got up on his bonnet and shat all down the windscreen of his car.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas
    Thus I won't be doing OT.
    That's sorted.

    Add payment terms to contract. Paid on first of month for example. They may still jerk you around but keep track of when paid so if you ever have a labor dispute you have records.
    .
    Take the full hour for lunch even if you don't need it.

    Not much you can do contractually regarding the micro managing. Do your job to the letter of the contract and ignore the prick if asked to go beyond your contract terms and conditions.

    He'll either get the message and stop micro managing or you won't get another contract renewal. Either way a win for you.
    I'm with you on this one.

    Singaporeans are a pain in the arse at the best of times.All that matters is their KPIs etc. Most of them don't have an original idea in their heads.Been told all their lives what to do and how to do it.....and they are never wrong.

    Only way to get round them is to do everything to the letter of your contract as Norton has said.

  20. #20
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Sounds like you've let him walk all over you with the free overtime, working your dinner breaks and scampering out of the office every time he clicks his fingers.

    You've gotta nip this in the bud pronto. soon your fellow teachers will nickname you Toenails, if they haven't done so already, because you're that far up the guys Arse that's all they can see.

    Take an extended dinner break tomorrow down the local boozer, you'll find you will think a lot straighter after 8 pints, don't leave until you've recouped all of those minutes that little slant eyed fucker has had out of you.

    Then go into school and sit down and talk it through with him civilly, after you've got up on his bonnet and shat all down the windscreen of his car.
    Haha. Good one. Except I won't be doing OT, don't really rush to and from lunch, but have to move out the office for meetings in Chinese - then head into another room and surf YT (do that already).

    And as pointed out above, Singaporeans are anal mofo's - the accent itself it fucking annoying.

    The bloody Chinese in the office are so thankful to have work that they're doing 12 hour days for about 3000-10000 baht/month. Fucking hell. I wonder if he thinks I should play servant servant with him too.

    I'm doing 40 hours/week and no more. Evenings and weekends are mine, and they won't be cheating me out of any money, I'll rectify that soon.

  21. #21
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    ^
    Do not make a scene until you have a better alternative, being obstructive,even mildly, will alert your boss to your mindset.
    Only take him on when you are ready.

    As an aside, I have never met anyone who got rich by demand. Any win you get now will be a psychological loss to you.

  22. #22
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    As an aside, I have never met anyone who got rich by demand. Any win you get now will be a psychological loss to you.
    I think I understood that - I'm not going to get rich any which way you look at it. 100k baht/month in Shanghai is not very much. I'd like to work my 40 hours, without feeling guilty when I walk out the office at 6pm, get paid on time, and largely left alone to do my job - I'm doing what I've done for the last 13 years, I don't need some young gun staring over my shoulder telling me to take one (OT) for the team.

    He's also laying on the guilt about the company paying the visa costs, lying to me by telling me I'm in the 35% tax bracket, which by simply googling tells me he's talking out his chutney chute.

    Win now = psychological loss?

  23. #23
    TD Fat Club VP Dillinger's Avatar
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    Just suck it up for now mate, get your dough together and get out.

    He will be used to having all those Chinese jumping through hoops and will have a massive ego I reckon

  24. #24
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    The law states the salary must be paid by the tenth of the following month worked.
    So August salary must by law be paid by the tenth.
    If not he has broken the contract and you can leave without penalty.

  25. #25
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cujo View Post
    The law states the salary must be paid by the tenth of the following month worked.
    So August salary must by law be paid by the tenth..

    If not he has broken the contract and you can leave without penalty.
    BC China used to pay by the 10th, then they changed that to the 20th last year.

    The uni actually paid on the 10th of the month I was working - that was sweet, no worrying about them fucking you over.

    Here it's the 5th of the following month, but the way they're doing it for the first payment is 5k on the 5th and then it should be the remaining 15k on the 30th of September.

    However, they have a convoluted, illogical (Chinese) way of doing things, such that I will only get the 15k, with October's 15k at the end of October (30k). November - 15k end November, 5k 5th December.

    Anyway, I spent a year travelling, time to put my head down for a bit, and suck in that beautiful Shanghai air.

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