English Teacher Employment Contracts in Indonesia

As in some of the other countries in Asia, there are no standardized contract features for those teaching English in Indonesia because the industry is still evolving.

Contracts and wages vary depending on how popular and how large the school is, how many hours you’ll be working, and on your work experience and how well you perform during a sample teaching session.

While negotiating, the most important thing to remember is that you should never display anger, frustration, or impatience; doing so will cause most Indonesians to lose respect for you, which could harm your position as a negotiator. It is important that everyone involved have the opportunity to save “face.” If you disagree with someone, find an amiable way of stating your contradicting opinion without causing the other person to feel that he or she has lost ground in the negotiations. Begin with small talk and get to know your new Indonesian friends before jumping into business. Making such an effort to fit in culturally help your position later. The details of your teaching arrangements could take a long time to get worked out, but you’ll be happiest if your employer is also satisfied.

Whether you have a formal contract, the three provisions you should seek to establish before you have begun or before you are too far into a teaching situation are wages and time commitment, housing, and health insurance. Be sure to have any contract that is written in Bahasa Indonesia translated independently before you sign it. The following information should help you understand your position:

  • Wages and time commitment: Before you start, be sure that you and your employer have reached an agreement on how many hours you will be expected to teach and how that number relates to your compensation. Some schools pay a flat wage based on 12-16 hours per week, and then pay more for additional hours spent teaching. Other schools pay per hour, which is an arrangement that can result in you making less money. Classes are based on demand, and if demand is low in a given period then your income will suffer.
  • Housing: Some schools provide housing or subsidized housing; if they do, you can expect that your wages will be reduced accordingly. To avoid future misunderstandings, if housing is offered, try to view the accommodations before you agree to the arrangement.
  • Health insurance: Some schools in Indonesia make health care provisions for their employees, although there is no insurance, per se. Find out what kind of care is available and how you should go about making certain that you are covered.
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