Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kajukenb/public_html/cafe/Sources/Load.php(183) : runtime-created function on line 3
To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors

Author Topic: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors  (Read 14332 times)

Offline Jason Goldsmith

  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
    • Tactical Kung Fu and MMA
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2014, 08:42:45 AM »


You had not yet posted in this thread so I did not have your signature line readily available.
There are several individuals named "Jason" here, including GM Jason Groff who I frequently acknowledge. 
My using a salutation was a way of showing courtesy and keeping the content unambiguous.
You CHOSE to assume it was a slight against you.  That was your doing, not mine.
You directly replied to one of my statements, and thus my signature was present.  I understand now that it was not a slight, but only in hindsight. It came across as quite rude at the time. 

Quote
Since you asked, I can "afford the facility" because we train out of donated space.
I looked around until I found a suitable location and that was it.
We've had to moved once in 7 or 8 years but that is not big deal.
I also try to set money aside for training and equipment requirements, pretty much every paycheck. 
$20 here or $50 there adds up.  It is not that complicated.
I skip a lunch one day or order 1 less book from amazon and buy a new kick-shield instead.

The idea that Sigung Robert Kingi's black belts were not helping out enough or taking their roles and responsibility seriously was what I object to.
The fact that one or more of them felt they deserved to be paid instead of helping out out of respect and appreciation is what I object to.

If they do not train there {with him or GM Kingi} then I can see why they should get paid.
But claiming it is simply "illegal" to have what amounts to an unpaid internship requirement for your black belts is ludicrous.

$50 can add up, but then again good mats can cost $15,000, so that is a long time of collecting $50.

Again, if a black belt instructor is getting free training in exchange for teaching a bit, that still must be reported to the IRS.  You are paying a person in lessons.  Only if it is under the reportable minimum ($600) then can you avoid this issue.  Also, the IRS is cracking down on unpaid internships exactly because in many cases they are legal--specifically a means to get free labor with minimal education.  If the person teaching is not spending most of their time being educated in the act of teaching by you (and especially if the head instructor is not present) you run in the legal issues (again, in a paid business).

Lastly, I still think the business adviser has a point.  Paying someone is a sign of respect for their time and effort.  I view martial arts education like any other.  If I get a degree from a university, I expect them to pay me if they want me to teach there.  I don't just teach for free.  In my school, we keep things simple.  My black belts still pay for classes, and I pay them.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Offline Dave Jones

  • BlackBelt
  • Blue Belt
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
  • Fio Para Bellator: Be the Prepared Warrior
    • CQB KAJUKENBO CLUB
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2014, 09:05:22 AM »
$50 can add up, but then again good mats can cost $15,000, so that is a long time of collecting $50.
You don't know me so I will just point out that we train on a carpeted concrete pad with no mats.
The first time a USJA judo brown belt come to train with is he said "Where are your mats."
When I replied "You're standing on them." I thought he might cry.
But he didn't cry or quit  Instead, he trained with me on concrete, went on to get his USJA judo black belt and just got his black belt from me in August 2013.
He turned 60 years old in October and his breakfalls are beautiful to watch now.
We do more jujutsu {locking/breaking/chokes/strangles, throws, take-downs, hold downs, and ground work} than an average "Kajukenbo kenpo-karate" school, especially considering we are from the Asuncion KenKaBo line. 
About 60% of our system is in fact, jujutsu focused to acknowledge the DZR roots of Kajukenbo and pay respects to Uncle Frank.
There is some stuff about Bill Underwood in there too, but no reason to go into it.

The simple solution if there is a $600 cap: drop fees for all black belts to say $500 annually or $45 per month.
Now you can "give away lessons" and be under the limit.
The solution is there, but of course you will lose revenue, which was my other point. 
It comes down to what your priorities are.

"If I get a degree from a university, I expect them to pay me if they want me to teach there"
Of course, but you MUST do an amount of student teaching, etc. to get a teaching certificate.
Two different things.  Just because you have a degree does not automatically make you eligible to teach or capable of teaching.
As I understand it, student teachers are lucky if they make minimum wage.

Also, the IRS is cracking down on unpaid internships exactly because in many cases they are legal--specifically a means to get free labor with minimal education.
I don't know about you and yours but where I'm from, earning and training for a black belt is not a minimal education.
There is a 40 or 50 question written exam (not multiple guess) for a stripe on a white belt.
There is about 175 questions on the black belt written exam which is taken about an hour before everyone starts warming up and stretching.
That is not counting the dozen or so book reports, research papers, written pop quizzes and the like which are required to get to that point.
Fail the written exam at black belt and you don't even get to finish the test. 
Everyone {regardless of rank} is also ...penalized... during the practical/physical test for every question marked wrong in their respective written tests.
That is if they passed the written portion!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 10:49:54 AM by Dave Jones »
Dave Jones, CQB Kajukenbo Club - Fenton, MO
The Founders > Sid Asuncion > Alan Carter > Mike Griffin
Proud Life Member of the Ordonez Kajukenbo Ohana
http://www.cqbkajukenbo.com/

Offline Tim Vargas

  • BlackBelt
  • Yellow Belt
  • **
  • Posts: 80
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2014, 11:04:32 AM »
Thank you Sifu Ron for brining up this discussion, as I believe this will bring awareness to all of us in the Martial Arts.

As someone who has recently registered as an LLC here in California, I appreciate Sifu Jason bringing his opinion on labor law to the discussion, as it will directly effect me at some point in the future, which I will need to take steps in order to protect the LLC and comply with the law.    You have just laws and unjust laws,  the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. things are not as black and white as other might like them to be, and that is what the courts are for.  We all know people can take each other to court for just about any perceived offense, but doesn't mean a law was broken or someone will pay a fine and go to jail. 

It appears the labor law cited by Chief Antonio, was to prevent abuses...which not all cases are such, but apparently enough people had taken volunteerism to the point to where individuals were being taken advantage of, and in that case such laws are needed.    As for the *tradition* of instructors being able to teach classes for free,  as a character building experience is not something that is unethical, although it may be contrary to modern labor laws.  In my opinion, *tradition* i.e. the handing down from generation to generation, trumps this particular law, if there is no abuse, especially when the instructor is able to exercise their free will to volunteer their time for the betterment of their fellow-man.   GM Scott mentioned he has had no problems with his instructors or the state of Hawaii in this regard, and am sure there are many, many more just like him, after all, the teaching for free/volunteer has been around a lot longer than modern labor laws.   I suppose you would have to prove instructors are not volunteering, and just continue the tradition until taken to court, or perhaps have a waiver or agreement that if chosen, instructors volunteer their time as a part of the curriculum.   Either way, I am glad that this subject has come up, as times are changing, and being aware of the possible violations of labor law will definitely help me out in the future.  I also believe people should be compensated for their time, but what kind of compensation should be left to the parties involved, not the IRS or other money hungry outsiders  :-\

Tim Vargas:  Chief Instructor directly under the late GGM Gaylord. OKO

Offline Jason Goldsmith

  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
    • Tactical Kung Fu and MMA
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2014, 12:43:46 PM »

You don't know me so I will just point out that we train on a carpeted concrete pad with no mats.
The first time a USJA judo brown belt come to train with is he said "Where are your mats."
When I replied "You're standing on them." I thought he might cry.
But he didn't cry or quit  Instead, he trained with me on concrete, went on to get his USJA judo black belt and just got his black belt from me in August 2013.
He turned 60 years old in October and his breakfalls are beautiful to watch now.
We do more jujutsu {locking/breaking/chokes/strangles, throws, take-downs, hold downs, and ground work} than an average "Kajukenbo kenpo-karate" school, especially considering we are from the Asuncion KenKaBo line. 
About 60% of our system is in fact, jujutsu focused to acknowledge the DZR roots of Kajukenbo and pay respects to Uncle Frank.
There is some stuff about Bill Underwood in there too, but no reason to go into it.


I have a large amount of BJJ, wrestling, and judo that I added to my WHKD requirements.  I also have mats, since rug burn (especially with ground grappling) gets old really quick, and most people can't tolerate landing throws on concrete all day long.  Not the mention the effect a lack of mats has on injury rate.  Quite frankly, from a medical perspective I view it as irresponsible to do routine grappling with out mats, unless it is simply a money issue preventing the use of mats.

Quote
The simple solution if there is a $600 cap: drop fees for all black belts to say $500 annually or $45 per month.
Now you can "give away lessons" and be under the limit.
The solution is there, but of course you will lose revenue, which was my other point. 
It comes down to what your priorities are.

And then you would be asked by the IRS why black belts are charged less than normal tuition.  You can't just give them a discount to circumvent the law--you established your fair market value with the pricing you set for everyone else.

Quote

Of course, but you MUST do an amount of student teaching, etc. to get a teaching certificate.
Two different things.  Just because you have a degree does not automatically make you eligible to teach or capable of teaching.
As I understand it, student teachers are lucky if they make minimum wage.
Again, a student teacher is earning their degree.  They are also teaching under supervision.  This is different from giving your black belt a key and having him teach 2 classes/week without you there, which again, has been discussed previously.  The black belt has their degree already.

Quote

I don't know about you and yours but where I'm from, earning and training for a black belt is not a minimal education.
There is a 40 or 50 question written exam (not multiple guess) for a stripe on a white belt.
There is about 175 questions on the black belt written exam which is taken about an hour before everyone starts warming up and stretching.
That is not counting the dozen or so book reports, research papers, written pop quizzes and the like which are required to get to that point.
Fail the written exam at black belt and you don't even get to finish the test. 
Everyone {regardless of rank} is also ...penalized... during the practical/physical test for every question marked wrong in their respective written tests.
That is if they passed the written portion!
By minimal education I mean that unpaid interns aren't often taught very much at all, they are free labor, not that black belts have minimal education.  I was speaking about the quality of education unpaid interns receive.    You seem to be taking this discussion very personally, and as a result, taking things out of context.  Is there a reason for this?

As for my black belts, they have essays, and had to pass written exams white through blue, and complete projects for green and brown.  They have a large oral exam component (about an hour), and in addition to knowledge of the art, have to have a large knowledge of martial arts in general, as well as fundamental understanding of anatomy and physiology.

Also for us if they fail their knowledge portion, they get to do the whole physical test (an 8-hour beatdown), and then fail the whole thing and redo it later.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Offline Jason Goldsmith

  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
    • Tactical Kung Fu and MMA
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2014, 12:48:59 PM »
Thank you Sifu Ron for brining up this discussion, as I believe this will bring awareness to all of us in the Martial Arts.

As someone who has recently registered as an LLC here in California, I appreciate Sifu Jason bringing his opinion on labor law to the discussion, as it will directly effect me at some point in the future, which I will need to take steps in order to protect the LLC and comply with the law.    You have just laws and unjust laws,  the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. things are not as black and white as other might like them to be, and that is what the courts are for.  We all know people can take each other to court for just about any perceived offense, but doesn't mean a law was broken or someone will pay a fine and go to jail. 

It appears the labor law cited by Chief Antonio, was to prevent abuses...which not all cases are such, but apparently enough people had taken volunteerism to the point to where individuals were being taken advantage of, and in that case such laws are needed.    As for the *tradition* of instructors being able to teach classes for free,  as a character building experience is not something that is unethical, although it may be contrary to modern labor laws.  In my opinion, *tradition* i.e. the handing down from generation to generation, trumps this particular law, if there is no abuse, especially when the instructor is able to exercise their free will to volunteer their time for the betterment of their fellow-man.   GM Scott mentioned he has had no problems with his instructors or the state of Hawaii in this regard, and am sure there are many, many more just like him, after all, the teaching for free/volunteer has been around a lot longer than modern labor laws.   I suppose you would have to prove instructors are not volunteering, and just continue the tradition until taken to court, or perhaps have a waiver or agreement that if chosen, instructors volunteer their time as a part of the curriculum.   Either way, I am glad that this subject has come up, as times are changing, and being aware of the possible violations of labor law will definitely help me out in the future.  I also believe people should be compensated for their time, but what kind of compensation should be left to the parties involved, not the IRS or other money hungry outsiders  :-\

Glad to to be of service.  To be clear, my view isn't that you can't have volunteer instructors, just that you technically breaking the law.  Most people also go over the speed limit, which is also technically illegal.  It's something important to know, however, because if you ever get audited by the IRS, this can come up.  As a small business owner, your odds being audited also go up.

Something like a waiver/agreement may help, I am not sure as I never looked into it, but that could be a good way to cover your butt.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Offline Patrick Campbell

  • Sifu
  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 694
  • Train the way you fight!
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2014, 02:55:17 PM »
@ Sifu Jason.

Just a bit of information from my line of work in human services where there are clinicians and social workers and what not. Our interns actually fulfill an important role. We have 4 interns at present. Doctoral interns especially work well above what you might expect -  providing psychological assessments and testings to determine behavioral and mental disorders in order to develop treatment plans for our clients. Although they are free labor they actually fulfill integral tasks and play an important role in our organizational dynamic. This is in turn plays a huge part in our overall success as a human services organization.   Without them we would be less effective.

@ everyone else. I think these kinds of discussions are important as it allows everyone to see the different perspectives and actual information surrounding a particular facet of our business and lives. It does make sense to me that as an instructor I need to understand the laws that may impact my business and that I should put myself in compliance with these laws in order to protect that business. It only makes good business sense. Murphy's law says that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Best for us to know the laws and regulations and develop our best practices in accordance with these particular constraints.

JMHO

Patrick
Patrick "Kaponookalani" Campbell, Ph.D.
KAJUKENBO - Professor Kai Li - ETS / HKA
Kenpo - SGM Rick Alemany 
DZR Jujitsu - ETS / AJI
BJJ - ETS / USFBJJ / Master Joe Moreira
Combat Sambo - ETS / GCA / GM Alan New 
JKD / Kun Tao - ETS / IMB / G. Savelli
Royal Hawaiian Lua - ETS PA / Olohe Eli

Offline Jason Goldsmith

  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
    • Tactical Kung Fu and MMA
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2014, 03:18:57 PM »
Sifu Patrick,

I am actually in the medical field, and am familiar with both MD interns (paid, which I will be next year) and unpaid interns (such as in psychology, nutrition, etc).  For both types of interns, they are again there to learn and receive active teaching from their seniors who are present.  They aren't given the keys to the place and told to run it.  Many, many martial arts instructors have unpaid black belts teach without the senior instructor directly supervising them.  If there isn't direct supervision with the goal of education, then you are in violation of the law. 

Unpaid interns in social work, nutrition, psychology, etc are all there to learn, and there are very strict standards to ensure that those students are being taught and metrics are being met and measured (ie you have to chart they are learning to be in compliance with regulations set by the governing organization for that profession). 

Black belt instructors teaching for free in exchange for free lessons are not the same as above.  Most people view black belt as "the degree," and in fact giving them free classes in exchange for teaching after black only supports this point (which the IRS tax lawyers have made in the past with a high rate of success).  You are giving them something in exchange for labor--that is by definition paying someone and technically has to be reported.  Many people do this all the time and don't report it, but when you have a business level of scrutiny goes up. 
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Offline Jason Goldsmith

  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
    • Tactical Kung Fu and MMA
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2014, 03:20:05 PM »


@ everyone else. I think these kinds of discussions are important as it allows everyone to see the different perspectives and actual information surrounding a particular facet of our business and lives. It does make sense to me that as an instructor I need to understand the laws that may impact my business and that I should put myself in compliance with these laws in order to protect that business. It only makes good business sense. Murphy's law says that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Best for us to know the laws and regulations and develop our best practices in accordance with these particular constraints.


That is my big fear as well, and why I pay my students.  For the black belts who teach once/week, the tuition to the gym and their pay is roughly equivalent.  It's just that it is all accounted for so I can't get in trouble.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Offline Patrick Campbell

  • Sifu
  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 694
  • Train the way you fight!
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2014, 03:55:25 PM »
 

[/quote]

That is my big fear as well, and why I pay my students.  For the black belts who teach once/week, the tuition to the gym and their pay is roughly equivalent.  It's just that it is all accounted for so I can't get in trouble.
[/quote]

That's definitely a prudent business practice on your part and I think it makes perfect sense. Thanks for the insight and sharing this aspect of your business with us.

patrick
Patrick "Kaponookalani" Campbell, Ph.D.
KAJUKENBO - Professor Kai Li - ETS / HKA
Kenpo - SGM Rick Alemany 
DZR Jujitsu - ETS / AJI
BJJ - ETS / USFBJJ / Master Joe Moreira
Combat Sambo - ETS / GCA / GM Alan New 
JKD / Kun Tao - ETS / IMB / G. Savelli
Royal Hawaiian Lua - ETS PA / Olohe Eli

Offline kajukenboboymom

  • White Belt
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2014, 04:46:26 PM »
We were all taught for free, no tuition, in a donated space. Not one of us gave it a second thought to then in turn, teach for free. Personally, the only dread I'v experienced teaching would be in making sure I understood the techniques more than well enough to show them to others! I am more than willing to share what little I know to anyone willing to learn. (Folks who refuse to fend for themselves drive me bonkers, but that's a whole other subject!) I'm certainly not the fittest, strongest, fastest, coordinated,or by any means smartest member of our group. That being said, teaching imparts a confidence not to be gained elsewhere, and an appreciation for the techniques. We all have our strength and weaknesses, I see and can name something each member,from beginner to advanced, including myself, can do that the others cannot. I believe teaching, and being present for other assistant instructors, has a lot to do with that appreciation of talent, skills, and attitude.
As to the subject of it being illegal to have unpaid instructors, it distresses the hell out of me, that there is just one more area of govt intervention into private enterprise.  Rank promotion and requirements seem too personal an area to have Uncle Sam play third wheel.
Donna Akers
2nd degree
donna guiffrida
cqb kajukenbo
brown belt

sgns1173

  • Guest
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2014, 04:50:53 PM »
If you hire your black belt as an instructor and is considered an employee of your martial arts school, as the owner you have to pay: Workers compensation insurance; Unemployment insurance; Temporary disability insurance; Half of his/her social security; and deduct employee’s portion of social security; Medicare; State and federal taxes.  Now if he/she fits the category of a contractor, then he/she his responsible.  Doing business in Hawaii can get very expensive. 

Oh, sorry, I forgot one more piece to the puzzle, a I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form for purpose of verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.  This form needs to fill out with two authorized identification before being employed. 
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 05:19:24 PM by Kalihi/Palama Boy »

Offline cirillo

  • Moderators
  • Blue Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 402
    • Wun Hop Kuen Do
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2014, 06:20:59 PM »
I am sorry, but I can't stand it anymore.  Just so that everyone knows, there are many ways to have individuals do nearly any job without being paid.  They just must have a different job than somebody who is paid.  We do it all the time and our hiring is supervised and regulated by the State of Texas, meaning that they are careful how we do it.

In terms of how I do it, since I do this ALL the time.  We call them trainees and their work is part of their training.  We create a program of education, which they must fulfill.  Often this involves coursework (attending classes would be fine), writing documents, oral presentations and so on.  As long as your 'trainees' are doing a 'different' job than someone that is paid, they don't have to be paid.  If you wish to have unpaid people teaching classes, within the law, you will need to create this type of program or something similar.  However, it is relatively straightforward and comes down to how you set things up, not something too difficult.
Sifu Jeffrey D. Cirillo,  7th Degree Black belt in Wun Hop Kuen Do under GM Al Dacascos and 3rd Degree in FaChuan (Blossom Fist) under Sifu Bill Owens with over 35 years experience in the martial arts.
College Station, TX

Offline Jason Goldsmith

  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
    • Tactical Kung Fu and MMA
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2014, 09:19:04 PM »
If you hire your black belt as an instructor and is considered an employee of your martial arts school, as the owner you have to pay: Workers compensation insurance; Unemployment insurance; Temporary disability insurance; Half of his/her social security; and deduct employee’s portion of social security; Medicare; State and federal taxes.  Now if he/she fits the category of a contractor, then he/she his responsible.  Doing business in Hawaii can get very expensive. 

Oh, sorry, I forgot one more piece to the puzzle, a I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form for purpose of verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.  This form needs to fill out with two authorized identification before being employed.

I hire my instructors as contractors because they provide their own skills and pick their own hours. 
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Offline Jason Goldsmith

  • BlackBelt
  • Brown Belt
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
    • Tactical Kung Fu and MMA
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2014, 09:27:11 PM »
I am sorry, but I can't stand it anymore.  Just so that everyone knows, there are many ways to have individuals do nearly any job without being paid.  They just must have a different job than somebody who is paid.  We do it all the time and our hiring is supervised and regulated by the State of Texas, meaning that they are careful how we do it.

In terms of how I do it, since I do this ALL the time.  We call them trainees and their work is part of their training.  We create a program of education, which they must fulfill.  Often this involves coursework (attending classes would be fine), writing documents, oral presentations and so on.  As long as your 'trainees' are doing a 'different' job than someone that is paid, they don't have to be paid.  If you wish to have unpaid people teaching classes, within the law, you will need to create this type of program or something similar.  However, it is relatively straightforward and comes down to how you set things up, not something too difficult.

Correct, but it has to be a visible program.  In your case (I am assuming grad students), the whole program is above reproach, and often grad students are paid a stipend as well.  Additionally, they earn a degree, from an accredited, regulated entity.  Also, a trainee in academy may work for free, but they have a supervisor (they are a TA, not the head instructor of a class, for example) and their are strict educational objectives that are measured.

This is different than giving one of your black belts (someone who in many regards has completed their training) a key and having them basically run part of your for profit business several nights a week.  If they are teaching, and thus generating revenue, and you aren't actively supervising them and making their teaching a learning exercise, then you run into a program.  Most of these black belts also sign up new instructors, clean the mat after, close the gym down, etc. 

As you said, they having to be doing a demonstrably different job than the paid employee.  Most black belts teaching don't do anything demonstrably different from the head instructor of a gym.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Offline Tony49

  • Blue Belt
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
    • White Tiger Martial Arts Academy
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay Instructors
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2014, 09:29:26 PM »
Thank you Sifu Ron for brining up this discussion, as I believe this will bring awareness to all of us in the Martial Arts.

As someone who has recently registered as an LLC here in California, I appreciate Sifu Jason bringing his opinion on labor law to the discussion, as it will directly effect me at some point in the future, which I will need to take steps in order to protect the LLC and comply with the law.    You have just laws and unjust laws,  the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. things are not as black and white as other might like them to be, and that is what the courts are for.  We all know people can take each other to court for just about any perceived offense, but doesn't mean a law was broken or someone will pay a fine and go to jail. 

It appears the labor law cited by Chief Antonio, was to prevent abuses...which not all cases are such, but apparently enough people had taken volunteerism to the point to where individuals were being taken advantage of, and in that case such laws are needed.    As for the *tradition* of instructors being able to teach classes for free,  as a character building experience is not something that is unethical, although it may be contrary to modern labor laws.  In my opinion, *tradition* i.e. the handing down from generation to generation, trumps this particular law, if there is no abuse, especially when the instructor is able to exercise their free will to volunteer their time for the betterment of their fellow-man.   GM Scott mentioned he has had no problems with his instructors or the state of Hawaii in this regard, and am sure there are many, many more just like him, after all, the teaching for free/volunteer has been around a lot longer than modern labor laws.   I suppose you would have to prove instructors are not volunteering, and just continue the tradition until taken to court, or perhaps have a waiver or agreement that if chosen, instructors volunteer their time as a part of the curriculum.   Either way, I am glad that this subject has come up, as times are changing, and being aware of the possible violations of labor law will definitely help me out in the future.  I also believe people should be compensated for their time, but what kind of compensation should be left to the parties involved, not the IRS or other money hungry outsiders  :-\



Somewhere in the FLSA they mention waivers and how they are not acceptable.  Like I said before the Government is not going to come looking for these violations.  They are going to only hear about it when a well educated and disgruntle volunteer/instructor decides to call them.  Then they will investigate and make a determination of weather that person truly is a volunteer. 

By the way, if you do want to pay your instructors be careful on classify them as Independent contractors.  You will most likely loose if you require them to teach a set curriculum and dictate the hours they have to keep.  As for interns also be careful, many companies have been getting away with not paying for years.  Recently here in California these interns have been suing and winning at least minimum wage for their hours worked.  When I was a student teacher.  I got paid the same amount as a regular 1st year teacher but then again I had a full class schedule and not just one class.  Best thing to do is always talk to a lawyer and look for case law.
Antonio Lucero

Diony/Cacoy Canete > Alfredo Bandalan Sr.
Bandalan Doce Pares > Black Belt

Emperado > Tiwanak > Brown > Alfredo Bandalan Sr.
Bandalan Hawaiian Kenpo > Black Belt