My original post made about the Jeollanamdo Language Program still seems to get a lot of views, so I thought it was important I do an update. For any incoming 2019 intakes (April, August, & November) there have been some fairly big contract changes in terms of vacation days.
The Old System
If you are familiar with the Jeollanamdo Language Program’s contract, or if you have read my previous post, you will know a little bit about how vacation days work. Up until now, all teachers received 32 vacation days, 8 in the summer and 24 in the winter, which were inclusive of weekends and holidays. This system was loved by some and hated by others. Depending on your school’s flexibility, you may have been able to work your vacation days around weekends and holidays so that they weren’t always counted. Others, though, were not as lucky and were stuck taking vacation when their school told them they could. Well, for better or for worse this “old system” is now being changed.
The New System
According to our co-coordinator, the Jeollanamdo Language Program has decided to follow EPIK’s decision to make the vacation system the same for all public school Native English Teachers (NETS) across the country.
Teachers will now have 26 vacation days per year. However, these days will be exclusive of weekends and holidays, so teachers will no longer have to try to work their vacation plans around weekends and national holidays.
As well as no longer including weekends and national holidays, there is also no longer a specific number in which you must take during the two vacation periods. Remember previously teacher’s had 8 days of summer vacation and 24 days of winter. Now you will simply have 26 days to use when you’d like, possibly even during the school year (though this will be up to your principal, some are more lenient than others).
So overall this sounds pretty good, right? Well, there is some “fine print”…
What could complicate things
Previously there was a small part in our contracts that stated the principal was allowed to essentially give the NETS a “day off” without having any impact on pay, and without having to use a vacation day. This was used for things like individual school birthdays (a day off in South Korea), or “extra” holidays taken by the school during the year. For example, sometimes a school would close on a Monday if Tuesday was a national holiday, giving students and teachers a 4 day weekend.
Unfortunately, this has been removed from the contract. What this means is that teachers might be essentially “forced” to take unwanted vacation days throughout the year if the school is closed. For example, if your school is closed for it’s birthday and no one (not even any administrative staff) are at work, then you will be forced to use a vacation day and stay home.
Our coordinator, Chris, has mentioned he thinks this might account for a maximum of 3 days during the year, though it really will depend on your individual school. He has also mentioned that if anyone is at school, even just a few administrative staff, then you will be allowed to go in and work. So it seems the “forced vacation” day would only be thrust upon you if the entire school was shutdown. Keep in mind that very often on days “off” there are sometimes still some staff present, and so long as someone is present you can go in and “work” (desk warm).
Ultimately, this new change is likely to create some confusion between NETS and their schools. It’s possible they might try to cap the amount of “forced” vacation days a school could make you take, but that’s up in the air at this point. I will update this post if anything is said in regards to this.
Personally, I’m not too worried about this, but my schools never seem to take extra days off like some schools do!
Loss of Renewal Days
Previously, teachers who renewed contracts were given an extra 5 days exclusive of weekends (so essentially one week) of vacation. Some teachers used this in the summer and others saved it for winter vacation. Unfortunately these days are no longer going to be awarded to those renewing.
There is one exception to this. Anyone renewing a contract in 2019 (April, August, or November) will be given their 5 renewal days on top of their yearly vacation days. This was done to honor the past contracts. After 2019, this will no longer happen. So anyone renewing in 2020 will only get 26 vacation days. Any new teacher beginning a contract for the first time in 2019 will get 26 days.
However, teachers will still get their renewal bonus $$$ as per usual!
So, in summary:
- vacation days are changing to 26 per year, exclusive of weekends and national holidays
- schools might “force” NETS to take an unwanted vacation day during the semester due to things like school birthdays or “extra” days tacked on to holidays
- there will no longer be renewal days (previously 5) given to those renewing contracts
- an exception to the above: any teachers renewing contracts in 2019 will get their 5 bonus days on top of their 26 (to honor past contracts)
I hope I have explained these changes sufficiently. They’ve created a lot of worry and confusion among some teachers but I personally feel pretty neutral towards them. I think this will allow teachers more flexibility with their vacation dates which will be really nice. I will do my best to update this post if anything new is announced, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer any questions!