Working Hours & Severance pay

Most institutes require foreign instructors to teach 5 to 6 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and some ask instructors to teach on Saturday mornings as well. University departments usually require instructors to teach 10 to 15 hours a week, and to participate in student activities and in the editing of school newspapers. Research institutes usually require instructors to work 40 hours a week and do occasional overtime without compensation.

Severance Pay

Canadian government offices in Korea receive many questions and complaints about severance pay (taechikum) issues. It is important to make sure that your contract contains a clear statement about severance pay, even if your employer is reluctant. By Korean law, discussed below, all full-time instructors (if you have an employment visa, you are considered full-time), whether Korean or foreign, are entitled to receive severance pay of one month’s salary for each year of employment. Employers cannot ask you to waive this right, nor can they evade it by employing you on an 11-month contract.

The Ministry of Labour has jurisdiction over matters of severance pay. You can reach the Severance Pay Division at 82 (2) 503-9727; the general number for the Ministry of Labour is 82 (2) 500-5544. The Ministry of Labour or the Ministry of Education may, at your request, call employers to remind them of their legal obligations. If you have exhausted all other avenues in trying to obtain severance pay and feel that you need to take legal action, the Canadian Embassy in Seoul can provide you with a list of attorneys.

Severance pay rights are covered by the Labour Standards Act of the Korean Legal Code. English-language translations of the Code are available at the Kyobo Bookstore, located near the U.S. Embassy.