Friday, September 3, 2010

Sick Days

Then you have sick days. I know I have touched on them before but it bears a second look. Any contract I have seen or heard about includes sick days. Of course, we all know how binding contracts are in South Korea. Sick days are treated a little differently from vacation days. That is, no employer seems to like you to use them.

From what I have seen and heard you get the least hassle from Universities about sick days. Mainly because you will have to make up the classes if they want you to.

Public Schools and Hagwons seem to share the view that you should come in to work even if you are dying. Death is the only excusable abscence. I can't speak for Public Schools but in Hagwons I have worked at, the Korean teachers come in feverish and half dead instead of staying home and recovering. (Students too.) Regardless of how infectious they might be. The foreign teachers are expected to do the same. One place I worked at wanted you to bring in a doctors note if you couldn't work. All of the places I worked at would want you to come in THEN go to the doctor (preferably with them) before taking a sick day.

Ivy School ... I had pneumonia and they STILL wanted me in working. In one breath they said I should be in the hospital, and they meant hospital not clinic. In the next breath, since I am not in the hospital I should be at work. I was addle minded enough from the illness that I did work a few days when I should have been hoem recovering.

Now bring in the aforementioned government policy on contracts and how binding they are and see what that means for your sick days. Yes, you get them. No, you can't use them. Fine, we will let you use some of them ... but we will never forget your "never give an inch" attitude.

It is even worse for students. Parents usually send them to school even if they are feverish and passing out. The ONLY exception to this was during the Swine Flu scare of 2010. If you tested positive for Swine Flu you were not allowed to go to school. If you had the regular flu, well get your ass in your desk and study. It is pathetic to see how Korea dealt with Swine Flu, and deals with illness in general.


  1. If you have your full summer and winter holiday and can get aware and refresh rather than sitting at a desk like you're tied to the damn place you probably don't need to take sick days so much.

  2. Public school teachers are just like hagwon teachers. Mine would come in half dead and then after classes were over they'd go to the hospital.

  3. DC

    After infecting their co-workers. ;)