Apr 4, 2011

Korean Labour Law Checklist for Employers and Employees

The Korean Ministry of Labor created this list with revisions by Sean Hayes and IPG.  I will update the list periodically. The checklist is intended for all employers that employ five or more workers.

The list contains many generalizations, thus, don't take this as the end all list.  I suggest, also, clicking on the label to the right entitled Korean Employment Law.


This note that Korea's Labor Law is evolving rapidly, thus, this list may not reflect recent changes.  

KOREAN LABOR STANDARDS ACT
  • A Korean company should conclude a labor contract with every worker whom it directly employs.
  • An employer, when concluding a labor contract, should clearly state terms of employment prescribed by the act. (Fine up to 5 million Won)
  • An employer ordinarily, employing ten workers or more, should prepare rules of employment and submit them to the Ministry of Labor. (Civil fine up to 5 million Won)
  • An employer ordinarily, employing ten workers or more, should keep workers informed of the rules of employment by posting or keeping the rules where workers can have free access to them. (Civil fine up to 5 million Won)
  • Wages should be paid at least once per month on a fixed day. (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million Won)
  • If a worker retires, an employer should pay the wages, compensation, and other money or valuables within 14 days. (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million Won)
  • An employer should preserve a register of workers and other important documents regarding labor contracts for three years. (Civil fine up to 5 million Won)
  • An employer should additionally pay fifty percent or more of the ordinary wages for overtime work, night work (work provided from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) or holiday work. (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million Won)
  • Over-time work is done based on agreement with workers. Overtime should not exceed 12 hours per week. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • An employer should not require a pregnant worker and a worker aged less than 18 years old work from 10 P.M to 6 A.M. and on holidays. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • For each minor under 18, an employer should keep, in the workplace, a certificate proving the child's family relationship and the written consent of the child's parent or guardian. (Civil fine up to 5 million Won)
  • An employer should allow a worker more than one-day holiday with pay per week on the average.  (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • An employer should grant 15 days' paid leave to a worker who has registered more than 80 percent of attendance during one year. After the first year of service, an employer should grant one day's paid leave for each two years of consecutive service in addition to the leave for the first year. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • An employer should grant one day's paid leave per month to a worker whose consecutive service period is shorter than one year, if the worker has offered work without absence throughout a month. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • Working hours per week should not exceed 40 (or 44) hours excluding break hours. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • Working hours of a person aged between 15 and 18 should not exceed seven hours per day and 40 hours per week. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • An employer should grant a pregnant female worker 90 days of maternity leave before and after childbirth and should allocate 45 days or more after the childbirth. The first 60 days of leave is paid. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • Employer should not dismiss any worker during a period of temporary interruption of work for medical treatment of an occupational injury or disease and within 30 days thereafter and any female worker before and after childbirth during a period of maternity leave and within 30 days thereafter. (Imprisonment up to 5 years or fine up to 30 million Won)
  • An employer should give advance notice to a worker at least thirty days before dismissal. If the notice is not given thirty days before dismissal, ordinary wages of thirty days or more should be paid to the worker in lieu of notice. (Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 10 million Won)
  • If an employer intends to dismiss a worker, the employer should notify the worker of the reasons for and day of dismissal in writing.
EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT BENEFIT SECURITY ACT OF KOREA

  • An employer should pay workers who retire 30 days or more of average wages for each year of consecutive service as severance pay.
    (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million Won)
  • If an employer intends to choose a type of retirement benefit scheme or change the chosen type into a different one, the employer, if there is a labor union composed of the majority of worker, should obtain the consent of the labor union, and if there is no such labor union, should obtain the consent of the majority of workers. If an employer intends to change the contents of a retirement benefit scheme, the employer should consider the opinion of workers in the same way as above. (Fine up to 5 million Won)
MINIMUM WAGE ACT OF KOREA

  • An employer should pay a worker a wage not less than minimum wage.
    (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million Won)
  • An employer should keep workers informed of the minimum wage by posting it where workers will have free access or by other appropriate means. (Civil fine up to 1 million Won)
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT ACT OF KOREA

  • An employer, senior workers, or other workers shall not engage in sexual harassment at work. (Civil fine up to 10 million Won)
  • An employer shall conduct educational programs in order to prevent sexual harassment at least once a year pursuant to act. (Civil fine up to 3 million Won)
  • An employer shall not discriminate, in recruitment and hiring, based on gender. When recruiting and hiring female workers, an employer should not present nor demand certain physical conditions such as appearance, height, weight, etc., unmarried status, and other conditions determined by the ordinance of the Ministry of Labor which are not required to perform a certain job for which the employer intends to recruit or hire. (Fine up to 5 million Won)
  • An employer should keep documents related to recruitment and hiring as determined by the act for 3 years. (Civil fine up to 3 million Won)
  • An employer should pay an equal wage for work of equal value in the same business regardless of gender. (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million Won)
  • An employer should not discriminate against men or women in managing welfare programs, training, deployment, and promotion. (Fine up to 5 million Won)
  • An employer should not discriminate against men or women with respect to retirement age, retirement and dismissal. (Imprisonment up to 5 years or fine up to 30 million Won)

ACT ON THE PROTECTION OF DISPATCHED WORKERS OF KOREA

  • An employer should not use a dispatched worker who is offered by a person who did not acquire the permission for worker dispatch undertakings from the Ministry of Labor or who violated restrictions on employment and reasons for worker dispatch as prescribed by the act. (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million)
  • The length of a dispatch period of a dispatched worker should not exceed two years in total. (Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to 20 million Won)
  • An employer should directly employ a dispatched worker if the employer uses the worker in excess of two years. (Civil fine up to 30 million Won)
  • An employer should selects a person in charge of the management of using dispatched workers, prepare a ledger for management of using dispatched workers and preserve it for three years. (Civil fine up to 3 million Won)

ACT ON THE PROTECTION OF FIXED-TERM AND PART-TIME EMPLOYEES OF KOREA

  • When an employer drafts a labor contract with fixed-term or part-time employees, the employer should clearly state in writing matters determined by the act. (contract period, working and rest hours, wages, holidays and leave, place of work, jobs to do, and etc) (Civil fine up to 5 million Won)
  • An employer should hire fixed-term employees for a period not exceeding two years.
  • If an employer hires fixed-term employees for more than two years, the fixed-term employees are considered as workers who have made a labor contract with no fixed-term.

THE PROMOTION OF WORKER PARTICIPATION AND COOPERATION ACT OF KOREA

  • A Korean company with 30 or more permanent workers should establish a labor-management council, draw up bylaws governing the organization and operation of the council, and submit related documents to the Ministry of Labor. (Failure to establish the council: Fine up to 10 million Won) (Failure to submit the bylaws:Civil fine up to 2 million Won)
  • A labor-management council should be composed of an equal number of members representing the employer and the workers, respectively, the number of which is not less than 3 nor more than 10. There should be a chairman and a secretary for the council.
  • A labor-management council should hold meetings once every three months. The council should draw up and keep minutes of its meetings.
    (Failure to hold meetings:Civil fine up to 2 million Won)
  • A company with 30 or more permanent workers should have grievance handling members consisting of three members or less representing labor and management. (Civil fine up to 2 million Won)
  • A grievance handling members should draw up and keep a ledger relating to the receipt and handling of grievances and should preserve the ledger for one year.
  • An employer should seek resolution of the labor-management council on matters determined by Act. The council should notify workers, without delay, on matters on which resolutions are made. (Failure to seek the resolution: Fine up to 10 million Won)
  • The hours spent by a member to attend the labor-management council and engage in activities directly related thereto are regarded as hours devoted to work.
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Sean may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com
http://www.ipglegal.com/