Korean Independent Contractor Risks: Korean Labor Standards Act Basics

The Korean Court System has been less reluctant, in recent years, to deem a Korean independent contractor an “employee” under the Korean Labor Standards Act (LSA). This fact remains true even when an employer in Korea establishes that the independent contractor is aware that he/she was contracted as an independent contractor and, thus, not a regular employee of the Korean company. Upon the establishment of the status as “employee” in Korea, the individual is entitled to all of the benefits

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Top 100 Korean Lawyers & Legal Consultants in Korea

Sean Hayes, head of the Top Korean Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year was rated by LawAsia, one of the leading peer-reviewed publications in Asia, as a Top 100 Lawyer in Korea. Sean Hayes is one of the only non-Korean attorneys on this Korean Lawyer “A-list” and the only non-Korean that was on the list each year the list was published. Sean Hayes is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of

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Exercising Korean Stock Options in Companies in Korea under the Korean Commercial Code

Stock options, in Korea, are often provided to senior foreign and domestic employees of companies in Korea. For stock options, in non-listed/non-public companies in Korea, to be exercisable by employees in Korea (thus a valid option) the option must be approved, in most cases, at a general shareholders meeting of the Korean company. Another article that may be of interest can be found at: Granting & Exercising Stock Options in Korea.   The articles of incorporation of the Korean stock granting

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Korean Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Wages in Illegal Worker Dispatch Cases in Korea

The Supreme Court of Korea ruled in April of 2023 for the first time on the statute of limitation for damages claims based on an illegal dispatch of workers in Korea. The Supreme Court of Korea ruled that the statute of limitations clause under Article 766 of the Korean Civil Code and not the statute of limitations clause under Article 49 of the Korean Labor Standards Act should be applied to unpaid wage claims filed by a subcontractor’s employee against

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Amendment to Korea’s Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Law

Effective July 1, 2023, the scope of application of the Korean Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Law was extended to include, also, the protection of those employees in Korea who are not “exclusively” working for a specific employer in Korea. Prior to the amendment, some employees who worked for multiple employees were not covered by the insurance. To extend the insurance benefit for these employees, the law has eliminated the exclusiveness requirement. The law’s amendment was a reflection on online “platform

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Occupational Safety in Korea: Serious Accidents Punishment Act

The Serious Accident Punishment Act (“SAPA”) was passed by the Korean National Assembly and came into effect on January 27, 2022. With the implementation and recent expansion of the SAPA, we encourage all employers to do a comprehensive compliance audit. Some law firms, including this one, have attorneys and staff that can assist your team in doing a comprehensive audit. SAPA has greatly expanded the list of accidents that are applicable and significantly increased the penalties for breaking the law.

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Korean National Pension Contributions and Tax Deductions for Freelancers and Expats Residing in Korea

Can freelance workers apply for Korean National Pension Deductions when Calculating their income tax? Yes, freelance workers in Korea can apply for Korean National Pension deductions when calculating their income tax. The National Pension System of Korea is designed to provide retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to eligible individuals, including freelancers. Thus, the system applies notwithstanding if you are self-employed or employed by a company directly in Korea. When filing Korean income tax returns, freelance workers can include their Korean

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Without a Korean Employment Contract, can you bring a Claim against your Korean Employer for Breach of Contract or Labor Law Violations?

In Korea, an employment relationship is generally established through an employment contract between the employer and the employee. However, it’s important to note that an employment agreement can be either written or verbal. While a written contract is highly recommended to clearly define the rights and obligations of both the employer and the employee (and is mandated under Korean Law in most situations), a verbal agreement can also create a legally binding employment relationship between an employer and employee in

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Can you claim severance pay from a Non-Korean Employer?

Severance Pay is a payment which the employer is required to pay an “employee” for a retiring, terminated or resigning employees that works for a company in Korea for, at least, one year.  The reason for termination, retirement or resignation does not effect the applicability of the severance requirement.  Even an employee who is fired due to fault can claim severance pay under Korean law. Severance pay is a statutory liability of the employer.  It doesn’t matter whether an employment

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Is a Non-Registered Company Director in Korea an Employee under Korean Labor Law

Many non-Korean workers for Korean and international companies doing business in Korea are hired under the title Director. Many of these workers are, in reality, executive employees working as executive-level managers. Many of these workers are “employees” under the Korean Labor Standards with all of the protections afforded employees. For an article on the dismissal of Foreign Executives in Korea please see: Unfair Dismissal of Foreign Executives under Korean Term Contracts and Dismissal of Employees in Korea. Korean Labor Standards

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