ESL Issues: No. 4- Whose Wallet is it Anyway?

Another unhappy practice of poor eikaiwa schools is using their employees wallets like some kind of “petty cash” box.

The employee must travel to and from work, or run some errands for their company or buy office supplies. The employer says, “Keep your receipts so we can compensate you at the end of the month.”

What? Excuse me? Really?

The employer says something like, “This is how professionals run their business. Executives submit their receipts and are compensated later, sort of like an expense account.”

Sounds great. Sounds “executive”. But the truth is that your employer now has his hand in your pocket, disrupts your disposable income and uses it as his own, and then needs you to submit receipts and reports back to him so you can get your own money back. Expense accounts, in real professional places, have the cash given to you in advance. In the old days it was called “petty cash”. But it is more than “petty” to have your boss fleecing you and abusing your good will while you on the job. Having had this done to me before, I vowed that we would never be so disrespectful to our teachers and their personal finances.


In our company, this practice is considered highly inappropriate. In a very rare situation, like an emergency, we have had staff run out to a convenience store to get something the school needed or a student needed. In every case, the teacher reports to the office the same day and the next day that teacher is compensated, thanked, and may also receive something tasty as a little thank-you. If we have teachers or staff who took money out of their own pocket to pay for something for our school or office you can bet that we will track that person down ASAP and refund them. As a practice, we do not ask our teachers to provide anything to our schools from their own pockets. They let us know what supplies are running low and we order them in. They come to work each month and receive travel money for that too.

Your wallet is your own. You work hard for the money you get. You need to keep it, and your employer needs to keep his hands out of it. Beware the person who smiles and calls it an “executive practice”.

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