What happened? Guess!
Okay. Don't guess. But for those of you that are in Korea or have been here, I'll bet you already know the answer. She stuck it to me, with the usual 5% reduction. GAH!
I thought that I might have a confrontation on Friday, but actually my boss came to me at the end of the day and apologized for not having calculated my deductions. So she hadn't paid me. That's the first time that's ever happened, but in a way I sort of understood, as we've all been busy and a bit frantic with no Korean teachers in da house. So Monday after work, she called me in for a sit-down.
She started off with the pension issue and included three other deductions I haven't been making, one being National Health Insurance. It only became mandatory in January of this year that foreigners be enrolled in it. I told her I knew about that. (To be enrolled in the Pension Scheme, you have to be enrolled in Health Insurance.) However, my boss said that enrollment in the Pension Plan just became mandatory in 01/06. Not so. Actually, as in my case - at a job with less than 5 full time employees, it became compulsory to participate in the Pension Plan as of April 1st, 1999. We debated on this back and forth a bit, with both of us finally agreeing to check our sources again. I'm going to put in a quick call to the Pension Office just so I'm super clear. So as it is on that, we've gotten to the point where we agree that we'll both have to make back payments. From when is unclear.
As for tax, sheesh, that was a mess. First off she started telling me that because I work in the countryside and tuitions are lower here, I'm not gunna git what dem dere city folk in da big Seoul city are gunna git. *HIC* I swatted that argument down by quoting an old Ministry song from the eighties, "It's the same, it's the same in the whole wide world." And by world, I meant Korea. (And yes, I do live with snakes and lizards and other things that go bump in the night.) Then my boss said that she called a bunch of other franchises in our outfit, and they all charge the same tax rate. Oh, and their foreign teachers don't complain! I told her that they are surely, as I was for so long, unaware that their being charged too much. Furthermore, I told her, I don't really care about what's happening at other schools, I wanted to talk about ME at THIS school.
She panicked a bit then, talking about the stupid contract I stupidly signed because I'm stupid, which had a "5%" typed in the ___ before National Tax. Ah well, I said, the contract is erroneous. The tax rate at my salary is 1.5%. She said she can't change the 5% in my contract, but perhaps next year when we talk about a new contract she can consider.
I fell off my chair and just about peed my pants, howling with laughter and disbelief that she was thinking I was going to sign on for a fourth year at this
Actually, I didn't. I kind of pretended I hadn't heard what she'd said. "No, no, no," I said. "We can't leave things like this. I can't keep overpaying." Then I told her how we have to contact the Tax Office and they'll refund my overpayment lickety split, like. No problem. (Thing is, she most assuredly has not forwarded my full tax deductions, and perhaps not even ANY deductions to the tax office, so this idea is surely quite a problem for her.)
Then I dusted off some mad skillz I acquired in my four years at university and lay down quite a few arguments based on ethos, logos, and pathos, in that order. It was fairly effective, if I do say so myself, even if the biggest thing accomplished was that she realizes I'm not just going to keep putting up with this. I smoothed everything out in the end with some kind and comforting words. "We can fix this. I trust you'll do the right thing. Everything's going to be okay."
Further discussions will take place once her husband returns next month from his latest many-months stint as an engineer on a boat off Kuwait. I suspect he might still be my boss in name, even though I've only seen him twice this past year. He doesn't speak English either, so debating with him is going to be challenging, though I don't doubt he's going to try his best to lay the smack-down on me.
A few calls to various organizations would not only stir this pot, but light a fire under it as well. Really get things cooking, so to speak. But Jelly's not going to play like that. Nobody's gonna hurt anybody. We're gonna be like little Fonzies here. And what's Fonzie like? Come on people, what's Fonzie like?
That's right. Fonzie's cool!