Korean Law?(Update 1, 24/1/2013)

Working as an English Teacher here in South Korea can be quite rewarding at times but you have to have either a lot of skills or know where to get your resources for help.  Teaching contracts here are in a category all to themselves.

First, I would highly recommend you learning WHERE to get help.  Your first stop should always be the Seoul Global Center, NOT Google.  First, most people don’t use the ‘sort by date’ option, so you are more likely to get information that is 2+ years out of date.  Second, you are probably in a position that is SIMILIAR but not exact and the solutions found will not likely apply to you any ways.

Seoul Global Center(SGC), which is run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, is a comprehensive support center for foreign residents in Seoul.
SGC is a one-stop service center for offering daily living, business activities, administrative services, various educational courses and international exchange events. Also provide basic to specialize counseling regarding legal, labor, tax and real estate related issues to help expats settle in Seoul.

They are the experts and especially critical if you need clarification on what you might think is an issue or not.

In Korea, there is a near incomprehensible belief that you never take a sick day off of work.  Really, there are ZERO laws regarding this.  If you need to take a day off, a Korean will simply use his accumulated vacation time.  Now, the government-run programs (EPIK and GEPIK) are well aware of how westerners work and what they are used to.  So in their contracts, there will be some allowance for sick days (some as low as 3 days per contract year) but when it comes to the private hagwons, it is entirely up to that business whether they include them or now.  This ‘optional’ sick time off bleeds into the public system if you get hired for an ‘after school program’ which is in a public school but contracted out to a recruiter/company because the school couldn’t get the budget for a full-time teacher.

Now we all know that there are old and out-dated laws floating around.  Well, while browsing for ‘sick days’ laws I came across this little gem:.

Prohibition from work in Pit

I’m not even sure I want to know.  Who am I kidding…of course I want to know!  Then I can blog about it!  :)

FYI, GalbiJim is a popular website and has only mirrored the Korean Labour Laws.  It was easier to screenshot that then open up the pdf version and do it.


As if on cue, my wife gets horribly sick and throws up about 4 times last night.  Calls to work in the morning to see if there is anyone who can take her classes, unsurprisingly there isn’t.  So she drags herself into the school, barely makes it thought only to find out that the supervisor, who does teach classes, had NONE and could have helped out but did not.  My wife did leave early as one of the other teachers was able to take her last class….guess what, the supervisor still had no classes to teach.  This ‘must sacrifice your well-being for the good of Korea’ mentality will be their downfall.

Author: DragonDon

Having a love of travel has lead me to move to South Korea in 2010. Moving to an Eastern culture from a Western culture is a wild experience and there is never a dull day!

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