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Housing dispute + visa expiration date/pension confusion

 
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khawah



Joined: 08 Sep 2015

PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:28 pm    Post subject: Housing dispute + visa expiration date/pension confusion Reply with quote

I hope I'm in the right forum but if not, please redirect me and I'll go there.

I've been searching all over the internet and forums for information before posting here but I just cant get any solid answers. I'm still contacting labor board and other offices regularly with what little time I have between my working hours but even they keep redirecting me elsewhere or have hours I can't work with based on my schedule.

It's possible I've been over-thinking myself into a panic but here's the situation:

I worked at my hagwon for a full year and resigned a second contract in February. Due to mistreatment, I've reached my limit and quit, giving the 60-day notice as stated in my contract. This has lead to a number of issues and general confusion regarding: fees they are allowed to claim legally or not, pension, and how the timing/dates around my visa expiration works.

1. My labor contract mentions a "housing contract" that I am responsible for if I quit. After signing my second contract, I moved into a different apartment still provided by my school but I didn't sign any contract for it. My labor contract states I am liable for all fees incurred by the school* including twice the realtor fee, remaining rent and deposit. If there is no signed housing contract under my name, so is this legal?
*Note, they are hiring someone who won't take over housing.

2. If I have given them a 60-day notice promising I will work and they hire someone within two weeks, am I still owed the remaining salary within the notice time? I've been told since I gave a 60 day notice, I'm owed 60 days worth of pay even if they let me go sooner but I'm not sure if that's accurate.

3. If my school doesn't give me a letter of release, what documents can I obtain/ask for that prove when my last day of my early termination is? For example, my contract states my last day is in February and I've quit and have agreed to leave no later than November, how can I prove to pension what my last day is when they will see on my contract it says February?

4. My visa/ARC is technically valid until March 2016, but once I quit my job, does that become void and revert to 14 days (from last day of the contract termination) or am I clear to stay in Korea without employment until the date listed on my ARC?

.

I've had a headache trying to find out answers and I want to avoid my school withholding what it owes me until my visa expires and I'm forced to leave before I can resolve anything.

I'm sorry if anything I've written is incomprehensible - I've been having a hard time wrapping my head around all the separate issues and it's left my brain scattered.

Any solid advice, experience or resources would be greatly appreciated.
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Fallacy



Joined: 29 Jun 2015
Location: ex-ROK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based upon what you wrote, you have completed a bit more than 6 months of a contract. What is unwritten is whether you will try to stay in the ROK and find another job, or leave. That distinction needs to be made, as it will have relevance for your present and future status with immigration. Regardless, we will need to have a look at that contract to see exactly what it states, so consider posting a copy of it in the Sticky for review to determine: a) what you may owe; b) what you may be owed. Pension can be refunded after you put in an application, and whatever they have on record as funds paid to them will be given to you. The LOR should be available on request, so let us know if your employer has refused.
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matthews_world



Joined: 15 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When in Korea, don't think that your situation is so unique. You have the advantage of having a few teachers come before you have encountered the same types of problems.

This being said, contracts are what they are and be translated differently by different individuals.


First of all, you didn't say how long you've been there which would be the prerequisite for a lot of advice we give you.

Money - that's for you and your boss to decide. Your probably going to have to pay for flight, if that was an issue (didn't read all the long post).

Lease - Do you finish your year? I wouldn't leave the country, if you so decide, until they reimbursed your deposit (again, didn't read all).

After the last day, you can remain there or find other living options. I recommend small sleeping room hotels which are very cheap (goshiwons) which can be found in any populated area or couchsurfing. Again, if your lease is up before the 60 days, do this.

I'd wait and work out the payment with your boss to show good faith (release letter, etc) How badly you need another job depends on how your boss sees you so be careful with going to Labor Board too early. At this agency, you may or may not be able to switch to a D-10 which would allow you to stay in Korea for 6 months?? to look for another job.

Actually, noone would know besides the Labor Board who can help mitigate any case. It all depends on the agent that handles your case.
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khawah



Joined: 08 Sep 2015

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fallacy wrote:
Based upon what you wrote, you have completed a bit more than 6 months of a contract. What is unwritten is whether you will try to stay in the ROK and find another job, or leave.


Ah, right, right. I've been here for 18 months all with the same school. Finished my first contract and am half way through the second. I don't plan to find another job or return to Korea.

I'll consider posting my contract for sure.

matthews_world wrote:
First of all, you didn't say how long you've been there which would be the prerequisite for a lot of advice we give you.

Money - that's for you and your boss to decide. Your probably going to have to pay for flight, if that was an issue (didn't read all the long post).

Lease - Do you finish your year? I wouldn't leave the country, if you so decide, until they reimbursed your deposit (again, didn't read all).


I've been here for 18 months, same job the whole time. I finished one year and lived in one apartment provided by my school the entire time. Once the new contract started, they offered to let me move into a different apartment (also provided by them) via an agreement that was no more than a kakaotalk chat from the previous employee saying it's cleared out and the door code. No contracts signed and my school had me list my renewed ARC address as the school's, not even this apartment's.
As far as a lease goes, I don't know what the situation is and am going to ask my employer to see a copy of the apparent housing contract this week. I paid a small deposit already as stated in my labor contract and I agreed to that but not the full key money which they are asking for now as part of the "incurred fees by the school" I apparently owe.

I'm not looking for another job or intending to return to Korea once this is over.

I'm not aiming for flight money home either or anything additional from my school like that, just the standard severance and pension however possible and I'm not sure how my visa works in regards to an earlier termination date and the expiration date on my ARC. (As in, do I have time to stay and try to collect these things or once my contract terminates do I need to rush and hurry within 14 days.)

For the record, I am on moderately amicable terms with my boss, as much as one can be when quitting an establishment. I'm not trying to cheat them out of anything but based on their track record with previous employees I want to make sure I understand things properly so I'm not cheated.
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Fallacy



Joined: 29 Jun 2015
Location: ex-ROK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

khawah wrote:
I don't plan to find another job or return to Korea.
That helps.
khawah wrote:
ARC address as the school's, not even this apartment's.
Odd. Potentially illegal, yet seems like good news.
khawah wrote:
I paid a small deposit already as stated in my labor contract and I agreed to that but not the full key money which they are asking for now as part of the "incurred fees by the school" I apparently owe.
Getting that deposit back from the employer may prove difficult if not impossible. The contract may have an operational clause on this matter. Under no circumstances should you give the employer any additional money. If the employer believes that you owe key money, then expect them to withhold your salary and severance as leverage. In that case, you may currently be working for free.
khawah wrote:
I'm not sure how my visa works in regards to an earlier termination date and the expiration date on my ARC.
You can stay, particularly if this turns into a dispute. Once your employer alerts immigration of your termination, then you become terminal as well, but there are ways to extend this. Contact immigration for Q + A related to your situation. They have hotline staff who can speak English.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need input from ttompatz, the go-to poster for any and all legality oriented issues.
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Keeper



Joined: 11 Jun 2012

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The deposit you already paid is the school's now. Don't give the school any more money. What they may try to do is deduct something from the pay they still owe you. They can't touch any money that is in your pension account (NPS).

How much money does the school now owe you (pay)? Did you pay the utilities and are you out of their place? If no, then I would think those are now legal deductions.

You need to head to immigration ASAP and the clock is ticking. Find out from them how much time you have but I think it's likely 2 weeks from your last work day. Other teachers grab a D-10 visa after getting a letter of release from the employer but you are going to leave so don't bother with either of those.
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matthews_world



Joined: 15 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PRagic wrote:
You need input from ttompatz, the go-to poster for any and all legality oriented issues.


Be proactive on this issue.

He could ask the school to the Labor Board beforehand and let them know he was mistreated to give them a yellow flag. They might help keep the hagwon owner in check so that he can recoup his wages. (If the Labor Board does this then that's another question.) Perhaps there are other teachers that have had the Labor Board work for them in this manner.

Also, arranging to get back your housing deposit might be tricky. Cover your bases and have a Korean help contact your landload politely in advance of your departure so that he can find a new tenant and everything can go smoothly. They don't like dead periods where they aren't getting income and need to pay their bills. They might try to keep part of what you paid in this instance. Landlords will definitely try to delay giving back deposits if they know you are leaving. Then you'd have to find a way to wire the money back to yourself.

Again, we don't know how much you paid or how you worked this out with the school. Just be proactive.

Your case is pretty much cut and dry if you're going home.

You might get half of a bonus since you completed a contract already with same employer.

Definitely empty your pension a good month in advance to ensure deposit before leaving.

Also, even if you think you might have a small inkling of returning, get a written reference from your letter and a stamped certificate of completion. Might need them in your country to describe any 'holes' in your C.V.
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radish kimchi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are the moral obstacles. The original poster has a combination of issues they must address. I will go over each variable and then conclude what to do.


1 YEAR CONTRACT RE-SIGNING

Working 1 year doesn't really play into this unless you are worried about pension. So the first thing you should do is make sure the school has paid into pension.

"how can I prove to pension what my last day is when they will see on my contract it says February"

Why do you feel you need to prove anything to pension? Pension is to be given when you leave Korea. You wouldn't need a letter of release if you are planning on leaving Korea for good.


AIRFARE

Some teachers expect airfare as part of the job/perks of teaching overseas. While transportation should be provided by the school, if you are not actually using the airfare and pocketing the money then consider this morally a bonus.


Did you stay in Korea between contracts? Did they pay for you to leave and return? If so, how much did they contribute? Need more info on this to determine the importance. So far, you got 1.5 years and want a release letter. If I could get a job while staying in Korea, I would rather ask for train fare or help moving my stuff by going to the post office or hiring a delivery person. Consider that your transportation.


APARTMENT

Normally, the school should get you a place to stay. If you decide after a year to gamble, then you gamble. Korea has got to be the worst place to handle apartment rent as a single person. If you are married to a Korean and can stay in Korea, then there are merits to this.


Your realistic option is to ask the landlord to find another tenant and cut your losses. If you don't have a Korean significant other or speak Korean then you have doubled your gamble and lost. Considering the new teacher doesn't want to take over the housing, then you have an expensive lesson you have learned about renting in Korea. Don't do it again unless you are better prepared to deal with the consequences.


SALARY

This is the one thing I would hold out on because labor board can help in the end if the school wants to cut costs. Make sure pension has been paid, any transportion money is agreed on, and do your best to get a release letter. Apologize for any inconveniences and work with the school the best you can. If they don't pay in the end, then you can continue the fight after you leave the school, but you should be in Korea and that means you need another school to go to.


VISA/LETTER OF RELEASE

As mentioned with the salary, this is more important than 2 months pay because it means you can stay in Korea and try to collect if they choose not to be nice about it.


So, forget the airfare and apartment issues when talking with the school. Focus on the letter of release and pension for now. If you pile on the others then the school will be less cooperative. However, if it seems like they can get away with just giving you a release letter then they are going to jump on it.

After you have discussed this with the school, see what you can do to find a new tenant. Get some Korean friends to help talk with the landlord. Don't involve the school in this.
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