China is like the West in most ways when it comes to the working world, but there are some things that are very distinctly Chinese that you may want to know about before walking in and completely not getting it.

Salary is very secretive in China as they do not pay everyone the same. As such they don’t want people discussing how much they do or do not get paid and comparing salaries etc. This seems wrong (and it is) but it is the system that you’ll be in. (Trust in us that we get you the best deal, as it’s our job to make sure you’re as well paid as you deserve to be) The salary ranges are huge from small mountain village to somewhere like Beijing or Shanghai. We will never have a job that is less than 10000RMB (around 1100 GBP) but there are jobs that reach 30000RMB (around 3300GBP) and beyond for more specialised jobs.

Your salary is going to be monthly. Most schools will pay you several days into the month for the previous month. For example you get paid on March 15th for the work you did in Feb. Schools differ on how strict they are about certain things, but they will all state similar things in contracts of Must do ABC and not do XYZ or there will be deductions from your salary. Things like not wearing the school’s uniform or arriving late. But, as I stated some are not as strict as others. This is something that you should ask the other teachers in the school, if possible, because they’ll let you know what you can get away with. But, I would always suggest sticking to the rules initially and gaining the trust and allowances to not need to worry about wearing their uncomfortable polo-tee or whatever.

If you miss a day, they will remove it from your salary, unless you provide doctor’s notes which are easily attainable from a hospital trip. They way they calculate your salary is the day you work in the month. For example if you have 2 days off a week and there are 8 of these days in a 30 day month you only worked 22 days so it is your salary divided by those 22 days.
There are often a lot of bonuses in a school for getting new students to sign up and over time and the “airfare” bonus at the completion of your contract (often 5000 or 6000)

You will get holidays on the big four Chinese festivals, which are legal requirements in China. (these are spread across the year and change due to the lunar calendar) There is also National Day (October 1st) and depending on the type of school you’re in you may be given summer and winter holidays (often at half pay) but some schools, known as training centres, do not close during the summer and winter and are actually busier in these seasons (They are usually better paid too)

You will be given 1 day for Christmas and New year. But those will be the only Western festival holidays you’ll be allowed.

The more complex thing is about WHEN you get these days off. Many schools will close for festivals, but some do not. So when you take the time off becomes a negotiation with whoever makes the schedule. You may be able to save up the days for any trips away and this is very much something that varies from place to place.

When it comes to Chinese new year, known commonly as Spring festival, they will smoosh you’re days off with the festival. So it may become a thing when you have one day off each week for a couple of weeks before and after the festival and they give you about 2 weeks off. There is no standard system in place for this, some places are more generous than others.

This is generally a no-no. Unless you are working in a university with very little working hours. Schools are very protective of there foreign teachers and they take 100% of the responsibility for you whilst you’re there and the teaching market is so competitive that they don’t want to boost any of their competitors by letting you go around teaching everywhere.