South Korean Labor Law
In recent years, South Korea has experienced an influx of foreigners with working visas. Unfortunately, the quality of working conditions for foreign workers seems to have degenerated on an inverse scale every year. Therefore, it is important for expats to possess a fundamental knowledge of Korean Labor Laws. In being informed, you may better prevent potential labor issues and protect yourselves in the event of unfair labor practices inflicted by employers.
Minimum Wage in Korea
The minimum wage in Korea was raised from 8,590 KRW in 2020 to 8,720 KRW in 2021. Employers who violate the minimum wage act may be penalized by imprisonment for no more than three years or by a fine not exceeding 20 million KRW.
Prohibition of Offsetting Wages with Advances
An employer shall not offset wages with an advance or other credits given on the condition that an employee offers work. So, for example, your employer should not deduct your medical fee from your monthly wage but instead pay your full wage first and receive any fees incurred by you. Violation of this article may be punished by a fine not exceeding 5 million KRW.
Advance Notice of Dismissal
In the event that an employer intends to dismiss an employee, he or she must provide a notice of dismissal at least 30 days in advance or compensate the worker for an ordinary wage for 30 days.
While this article applies to all places of employment, only an employee who works at a workplace which employs five or more people is entitled to file a complaint to remedy an unfair dismissal without notice. In this case, he or she can still argue for the accrued wages for 30 days to the department of labor. Employers who violate this article may be penalized by imprisonment for no more than two years or by a fine not exceeding ten million KRW.
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