Laying off an Employee in Korea: Korean Law on Corporate Downsizing & Redundancy

Reducing the headcount in Korea can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly without the use of an accountant and a proactive attorney. Article 24 of the Labor Standards Act of Korea governs the dismissals of employees for managerial reasons. This is the main applicable law for making an employee redundant. For a general article on terminating an employee in Korea please see: Terminating an Employee in Korea. For an employer employing “employees” in Korea to legally terminate under Article 24 of

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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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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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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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Non-Compete Clauses in Korean Employment Agreements and Korean Business Sales Agreements

Non-compete clauses in Korean employment contracts are enforceable in Korea, but there are some limitations and requirements that must be met for them to be regarded as lawful and, thus, enforceable. A Non-Compete Clause is a type of restrictive covenant that is designed to protect the business of an employer from competition from a particular party. These clauses are, typically, utilized after the completion of the sale of a business or after termination of employment. The following article shall, specifically,

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Filing a Petition to a Korean Ministry of Employment & Labor’s Labor Office in South Korea

Filing a petition to the Korean Labor Office in Korea in your area is the first step for some employees in Korea who assert that their labor rights under Korean Labor Law are violated. In many cases, it is advisable to not file with the Ministry of Employment & Labor’s (MOEL) Labor Office, but file, directly, to a Korean District Court. This discussion of the proper forum for a dispute in a Korean labor law case is beyond the scope

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Dismissal of Employees in Korea: Supreme Court of Korea Precedent

The Korean Supreme Court ruled, in March of 2018, that a company may terminate employees for one incident of employee gambling. The case is a precedent that may make it easier for employees to terminate employees that violate certain company rules without the need to provide notification and an opportunity to improve. The case stems from the termination of bus drivers that were caught on one occasion gambling prior to driving buses. The lower courts ruled, in short, that gambling

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Wrongful Termination in South Korea

South Korea is not an “at-will” employment country, which means that an employer may not dismiss an employee for any reason nor without warning or notice. Under the Korean Labor Standard Act, an employer who has five or more employees may not dismiss or suspend from work any of its employees without “justifiable cause.” And even the employer can establish justifiable cause for dismissal, in Korea, the employer is still required to give a minimum of 30-days advance notice (or

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Korean Labor 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. Please note that Korea’s Labor Law is evolving rapidly, thus, this list may not reflect recent changes.   KOREAN LABOR

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