English as a Second Language or ESL is one of the fastest-growing industries across the home-based world. Today, ESL teachers aren’t only native English speakers- countries such as the Philippines are home to thousands of credible ESL teachers. ESL Companies in the Philippines started to rise a few years back, and the demand increases every year. However, not all companies can stand the competition in the industry, and some tend to lose their teachers due to unclear policies, low pay, and extensive penalties. If you are planning to start a work from home ESL career, researching your target companies is not a bad thing. By scanning their background and policies, you can select the right company that will suit your needs and availability.
Penalty rates are sometimes the main reasons why most teachers leave an ESL company. We have listed selected ESL Companies and their penalty rates and policies. The following information is from the personal experiences of ESL teachers who worked for most popular ESL Companies in the Philippines. To avoid misconception, note that the full details about each company’s penalty policies are only known to ESL teachers employed in these listed companies.
Of all the ESL Companies in the Philippines, Weblio Philippines is so far the best company ESL teachers recommend for its stability as the company caters to Japanese affiliated high schools and Japanese professionals. However, this company is stricter when it comes to qualifications compared to other ESL companies. Weblio is very particular with accent, teaching attire, camera angle, and background (strictly white background). But, anyone may apply even without prior ESL experience!
Rate starts from PHP100/50-minute slot (25 minutes/class) but, if you can open up to 60 slots per month, the tutor rate can go up to PHP110/50-minute class. PHP15 is added per class if booked as a “corporate tutor” in Weblio. If you open up to 90 slots a month, your rate can even increase up to PHP160/class! Upon reaching your first 200 slots, one can receive a PHP2,000 incentive. Weblio also operates 24/7, providing flexible schedules and earning opportunities to teachers.
Weblio is a Japanese company, so ESL teachers pay an 8% withholding tax. Weblio gives a competitive incentive program. But just like other companies, it imposes penalties with absences/skipped classes.
A deduction of PHP100 is taken from the total earnings for every 5% cancellation rate incurred. An additional PHP50/student is taken for sudden cancellation while PHP60 is taken for skipped class. But, even with these penalties, Weblio Philippines is an ESL Company that receives positive feedbacks when it comes to payments policy. Some also said that all day, you could get students in their platform- unlike in other ESL companies where students can be scarce especially during daytime. Weblio is very transparent that you can even calculate earnings and penalties here.
RareJob Philippines, Inc.
RareJob Philippines is an ESL company that caters to Japanese students. It is one of the top choices for ESL teachers because of its organized and smooth hiring process. As it is a Japanese company, RareJob is very strict when it comes to their taxes. They automatically debit a 10% tax from their teachers’ salaries. The good news is RareJob has built a process where teachers can file for tax exemplification. Through this, teachers may apply to be fully-exempted from the 10% tax or have it reduced to 5% for other purposes such as visa application where ITR is needed. Submission is available from December until January of the upcoming year. Need not worry as RareJob has a convenient tax filing system for its teachers- all you need to do is follow their step-by-step process.
RareJob’s cancellation process is, if the monthly cancellation rate reaches 10%, it incurs a 20% deduction from the total monthly income. If the cancellation rate increases by up to 20%, a whopping 40% salary deduction are applied. So before canceling a class, think about the 20%-40% penalties for cancellations/absences plus 10% tax, which will be deducted from your monthly income. In the end, punctuality and diligence define Japanese-owned companies. If you plan to work for RareJob Philippines, the key is to open bookable slots at a time most convenient for you. If you think you cannot commit, ESL teachers suggest opening slots at least 1 hour before the target time slot rather than opening slots days before.
Bibo Global Opportunity, Inc.
Bibo Global is an ESL company catering mainly to professionals, but they also offer classes to beginners and intermediate. Sadly, the Bibo Global interviewee mentioned that student count is declining for this company though they don’t disclose the reason for the decrease in students. Bibo Global is considerate about cancellations and they offer Penalty Exemptions if you want to close your opened slots within 7 days from the time of the cancellation. You have to provide proof of why you have to cancel classes to be exempted from huge penalties like death certificate, medical certificate, internet connection proof from technician, power outage announcement, etc.
Bibo Global offers PHP60 for a 25-minute class and the penalties can be overwhelming if you are absent in many instances. Penalty for “with notice cancellations” below 5 classes is PHP20/class and once it exceeds 5, the deduction rate is PHP60/class. Without notice, the cancellation penalty is crazier as it amounts to PHP180/class. If you incur less than 5 cancellations within a cut off which is a combination of “with a notice” and “without notice“, the rates may differ.
Your first 2 with notice cancellations are rated at PHP20/class penalty and without notice cancellation is rated at PHP160/class. Managing your time and availability to hold a class will affect your performance in Bibo Global as it’s without notice cancellation penalties are even higher than what they offer per hour.
51Talk PH made a buzz when they started to get famous in the world of ESL in the Philippines. Catering to Chinese students, 51Talk advertises that one can even earn as much as PHP80,000 from teaching in their ESL platform. Tutor rates vary based on your stay in the company and teaching level. Some can earn PHP71PHP/25-minute class with added PHP10 for weekend classes. They are also very strict with equipment and internet connection so if you live in an area where power interruption is adamant, it will be a bad idea to work for 51Talk due to their penalties. Many experienced ESL teachers find 51Talk’s penalty policy to be ridiculous for its PHP80/hour for new tutors.
Based on an interviewee from the company, 51Talk’s penalty for every class canceled is PHP140. If you have an emergency and will be unavailable to attend your opened slots, the penalty is PHP240 per class. Note that these penalties are applicable per class. A minimum class runs for 25-minutes, so if you canceled two classes in an hour, you will be charged PHP140*2 for a total of PHP280 and much worse if you are absent for a class. In the end, penalties are there to ensure all 51Talk ESL teachers are fully committed to their scheduled classes.
Acadsoc Philippines caters to Chinese students and unfortunately, it’s the least recommended ESL company by ESL teachers from various sources. Most even say it’s a scam as they do not pay their tutors the fee that was promised in their advertisements. Rate ranges from PHP90-PHP100/hour, which is lower compared to above ESL companies mentioned.
They charge penalties for absences due to outages, emergencies, and other reasons twice or even thrice their hourly rate. Some even mentioned their classes were manipulated by the administrators- closing classes even when teachers did not cancel any of it.
Some ESL teachers even mentioned that the company should close because they are abusing them with unexplainable fees and delayed salaries. Many even said their tutor support is rude and no proper support is given to newbies.
Some ex-employees of Acadsoc also mentioned that the working environment is very stressful and most students treat their tutor unprofessionally. Many are flocking away from Acadsoc Philippines but some remain and manage to earn a considerable amount of money from the company.
Why it’s Important to Know About Penalties of ESL Companies?
It is highly suggested to run a company background check before trying to apply. Also, seeking advice about a company’s culture and policies is a good action to consider. In the end, one will never really know what it’s like inside an organization until they work inside it. Based on the research, punctuality and commitment are the main keys to succeed and remain in the ESL industry. The penalty teachers can get from their absences is hard to accept. But in reality, it’s a reflection of how important an ESL teacher attendance is. However, it is also important that companies start considering urgencies why an ESL teacher needs to be absent at times. In the end, most companies offer tutor substitution, and most teachers believe that if the explanation is valid and can be backed up with proof, being absent shouldn’t be penalized with huge amounts of salary deductions. All jobs have their own pros and cons, and ESL teaching’s cons are the penalties they can get. Online teaching is a commitment, and once someone manages their ways around the industry, there can be huge opportunities instead of penalties.
By passion and profession, Eunice is a content writer, ESL teacher, and social media manager.
Eunice worked in Accenture and Nestlé Business Services where she gained experience in content moderation, process training, customer service, and eContent asset management. Her passion for English and marketing landed her part-time writing jobs while working in a corporate office.
She discovered ESL Teaching that same year she started content writing and soon realized that it’s also something she wanted to pursue. She left her corporate job to become a freelance writer and ESL teacher.
Eunice has grown a network of clients in her content writing and ESL teaching career. Eunice consistently widens her expertise in marketing by learning new skills. She just started her career as a social media manager for clients abroad and in the Philippines.
You may check some of Eunice’s works on howpo.info.