Sunday 28 April 2013

Taking Maternity Leave as a TEFL Teacher

Having a baby overseas is hard enough, but when you're not sure if you're going to lose your job or not it makes things harder. Some countries, like Korea, aren't really nice to Koreans when it comes to taking maternity leave and are worse towards foreigners. What the law stipulates and what actually happens can be very different. And while they law may protect you, the time is usually limited to a couple months after you give birth.

I know plenty of women who have been fired while pregnant or shortly after giving birth. Others haven't had their contract renewed. Others have been forced to take leave without pay. Others have been made to pay their replacements. While these may be illegal practices, it's hard to fight when you don't know the language, have recently given birth, and your employer knows that you will do anything to keep your job. 

If you're going to give birth overseas you need to do your research.
  • Find out about maternity laws. (Korea requires you to be at your job for at least a year before you can take maternity leave.)
  • Contact the Labour Board and see if they can help you if needed.
  • See if other women at your work have gotten maternity leave.
  • Talk to your boss. 
  • Talk to immigration. (If you lose your visa and are involved in going to court over maternity leave, immigration will often give you a special visa so that you can stay in country.) You will also need to figure out what visa you will get your baby.
  • Find a daycare or nanny for when you go back to work.
  • Have a back-up plan or two. 



  1. Having the baby is just the tip of the iceberg that working women (Hey do not forget the working men in this picture too!) have to scale. Try finding a sanitorium for your child when they are sick. Who will pay for the costs. The list goes on and on.

    1. Yeah, I know about working men. Though more often than not it's the woman who quits her job. And few TEFL countries give paternity leave. Korea gives three days. Whoop-dee-doo.

      Finding a babysitter if your kid is sick is hard too. I've been thinking about starting a babysitting service for precisely that reason.


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