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Severence Pay
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Paul Roberts



Joined: 02 Dec 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:16 am    Post subject: Severence Pay Reply with quote

Hi there!

I need some help. I am coming to the end of a contract in Masan. The contract finishes in february. When I initially took the position as a teacher at my current school, I noticed that there was no mention of severence pay. I took this up with my agency. They pointed out that my contract stated 20 hrs teaching per week. They informed me that 20 hrs was very low and this was the reason why I wouldn't be getting severence pay. I thought - great, it will give me more free time during the week. On my arrival I discovered that although teaching time was 20hrs, total working time/planning time (requested by the director) was around 42 hrs per week. For a while I let this go. As it is my first time in Korea I wasn't sure whether this was normal. After a while I took the matter up with the director. A few heated arguments later and hours had been lowered - slightly. They were very quickly increased again as business began to improve. As my contract ends in February 2004, I took the matter of severence up with the director once more. He told me that I would not be getting any severence pay as the school was not in a good enough financial situation (although winter camp is in AUSTRALIA!!) My very kind director did say however, that if I was planning to stay another year (thus benefiting him more) then after 2 years he would give me severence pay!

Where do I stand?? I have had a friend contact immigration but they have been no help. They just said that it was between me and the director. I thought that it was the law, if a foreigner worked over 'x' amount of hours every week. Is this the case? If so, what is the best course of action to ensure payment? If not, am I in a position to at least negotiate a little??

I would appreciate any help that can be given on this matter.

Many thanks to anyone who has taken their time to read this!

Paul Roberts.
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before anyone jumps on this guy I would like to say that hindsight is always 20/20. The contract wasn't the best and you probably shouldn't have signed it but that's not going to help you now.

Check out the guys at efl-law the have a forum too.

also out the

Ministry of labour as well.

Best wishes.

CLG
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hellofaniceguy



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: On your computer screen!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd visit the office of the labor board and file a complaint, however, they can't do anything about it until your contract is up. Catch 22. You were issued a E2 visa from immigration. That's full time. Period. Immigration will not issue part time visa's to teachers working at hokwons. Your school owner KNOWS the law and he's betting that you are a push over and will accept the......
If he won't pay you severance for the first year, what makes you think he'll pay the second year!?!? Post the name, location and owners name of the school to warn others.
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Gord



Joined: 25 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless the school has at least five fulltime employees, they are not required to offer severance pay. Before we run off on scenarios, have you at least met this minimum?
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Bulsajo



Joined: 16 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming there are 5 or more employees (it doesn't matter whether they are foreigners or not, or secretaries, or bus drivers) the severance is only applicable to full-time workers. 20 hours isn't full-time; 42 hours most definitely is but unfortunately the onus will be on you to prove it as the employer will certainly be waving around the contract which says "20 hours" on it. I believe the minimum is 30 hours.

Did you ever get pay statements with hours, or a schedule, or some sort of proof of the hours you've worked? A good example would be if they required you to be at work an hour before clases and between classes, or if you had lots of homework/grading/prep to do.

Anyway, CLG already gave the best links to get the definitive answer.
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 5:29 pm    Post subject: After the fact... Reply with quote

Why not simply let it go?

You had no problem with it in the beginning when you did not know any different, so why argue about it after the fact?

Your employer gave you a fair answer.

Just because others are working less or more and receive severance pay does not hold any weight in your situation. Granted, you are welcome to fight and complain, but recognize what it is going to do to your relationship with your employer. If you do not need a recommendation letter from your employer and have no plans to work there again, it probably does not matter much to you. However, if you are letting other people fire you up, you may want to take a step back (they are not in your shoes).

The grass is not always greener.

Good luck with your decision.

Austin
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wylde



Joined: 14 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bulsajo wrote:
the severance is only applicable to full-time workers. 20 hours isn't full-time.


i'm on 22 hours and my job is full time with severance
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dominic



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:26 pm    Post subject: Gord Reply with quote

Dude, why are yuo makig up stuff man, that's not helping this guy. Thats a total lie that there has to be 5 full time teachers in order to get severence. All foreign teachers get severence, and if he or she works 3 hours a month but still has an E2, they are full time.
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dominic



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:34 pm    Post subject: Austin Reply with quote

Austin what kind of advice was that? What are u a recruiter? He has to stand up for himself. WHy would he go back to work there at that school, his boss is a *beep* like most in Korea. He has a problem with it because his boss bet on him not knowing the laws here when he signed the contract because this is his 1st year. But when he found out that he was being treated unfairly he said something. I would have a problem with it too. Korean owners are getting real sneaky these days one of the many reasons im leaving this stupid racist country after 3 years. I cant wait to go back home.
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Bulsajo



Joined: 16 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Gord Reply with quote

dominic wrote:
Dude, why are yuo makig up stuff man, that's not helping this guy. Thats a total lie that there has to be 5 full time teachers in order to get severence. All foreign teachers get severence, and if he or she works 3 hours a month but still has an E2, they are full time.

Hey Dude! Rolling Eyes
Total lie?
How do you figure that?
Read it again.
NOT 5 teachers, 5 employees.
That could be a boss, a secretary, and 3 teachers, or some other combination involving bus drivers, cleaning ladies, or whatever. If your school is smaller than that then no- they don't have to pay their employees severance pay.

Do you think severance pay is only something given to foreign teachers?

All employees (Korean and Foreign) are supposed to get it if they're full time and and in a workplace with 5 employees or more.

However there are a couple of loopholes- keep reading.

dominic, where did you get your information from? In the bad old days when the internet was a strange new thing and pc bangs did not exist, I went to a bookstore and (with my girlfriend's help) looked up the laws concerning severance pay in a copy of the labor code and it was quite clear with regard to hours and workplace size and their negation of severance pay . You can find it in most large bookstores. Of course these days you can also find it on the internet.

Furthermore, if you work for more than one year your employer doesn't have to give you severance pay until you are finished working for him, so you do three contracts, you get three year's of severance at the end. Most employers are happy to pay severance pay at the end of each year because if you wait until the end of a multi-year stint they'd have to pay you more money.

Here's why: severance pay is calculated by the average monthly salary for the last three months of your employment, so if you've been getting annual raises you'll get severance for all your years at your highest salary rate.

Most people don't know about this part of the labor law, don't know if they'll make it through another year, or don't know if their employer will try to rip them off at the end- so they take severance pay at the end of every year.

If you somehow happen to get a raise during a year stint, remember- the average of the last three months.

And severance pay- by law- must be paid, and cannot be waived- even voluntarily- by either party, and it DOES NOT need to be put into a contract- if you meet the hours and employee size your employer has to pay it whether it's in your contract or not.

Wylde wrote:
i'm on 22 hours and my job is full time with severance


And as for the full-time hours- yes, the law does say FULL TIME, with full time being something like 30 hours. However there 2 factors in favour of the foreign teacher:

1) I believe there is wiggle room with regard to foreigners and 'full-time' status that goes something like: you are brought over on a work visa and you can only legally work for that employer, and since it is your sole source of income and employment you are arguably a full-time worker for that employer, regardless of your hours and thus are entitled to severance pay.

2) Secondly, if it's in your contract, then it doesn't matter if you don't meet the hours or number of employees because while you may not meet the terms of labor law-enforced severance pay, your severance pay is now a condition of the terms of your contract. The big difference here is if you run into trouble getting your boss to pay- if you dont meet the hours or the number of employees but have a severance pay clause you may very well have the labor dept telling you it is a breech of contract that is not enforced by them but by contract law (i.e.- you'd have to go to court to get your money).

So Wylde- is there a severance pay clause in your contract or not? What about you dominic?

I haven't checked the EFL-Law website but I'm willing to bet that it backs up everything I'm saying because unlike most others I'm not going by hearsay but had the relevant codes translated for me right out of the book, UNLESS the law has changed in the last few years (but I haven't heard anything to that effect here or elsewhere).
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wylde



Joined: 14 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yea...

i work for a government sponsored private high school...

actually not even 22 hours... 22 x 50 minute classes... Cool

i'm sweet bro
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually just something on the five teachers thing, an acquantince of mine was doing some checking about something (I think it may have been pension or health fund related) and found that our director declared less than 5 staff when there were closer to 12.

CLG
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Paul Roberts



Joined: 02 Dec 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankyou thankyou thankyou!

I really appreciate all of your help on this matter - youve been an amazing help!

After reading what you have all posted and doing my own research, I do firmly believe that I am entitled to severence. My school employs 8 staff members - 6 teachers and 2 drivers. I hope that they have all been registered at the school, but if they havent I will have no problems pointing the matter out to the appropriate authorities.

It has been really difficult because this guy has been so nice - I wonder why! Although my contract states 20 hrs I will have no problem in proving otherwise. I have kept all records of teaching schedules, lessons taught etc - and we even have a signing in register when we start the day. I have back-up from a fellow foreign teacher who I have been working with, and hopefully the other Korean teachers who also experience problems with payment on time (which I also do - every month).

My next move is to tell him that I am not staying another year - obviously. I never intended to, I just wanted to look into this matter first before I finalised everything. I will tell him that I am aware of the law and I expect the cash. If he doesnt give it to me then I will take it further. The only problem is when. If he says that he will give it to me and then pulls out at the last minute - where can I go. I suppose that I should get all that clear - ie. if that happens, what is the quickest and most effective course of action!

Thanks very much for all your help. If anyone has anything else to add, that would be great.

Thanks again

Paul

Just as a little extra - to make you laugh. The boss is (as he says) in a terrible financial situtation. However, he bragged today about buying a new Digi camera for the school website that he is setting up. He is also going on a winter camp with some of the kids. He bragged that this is costing 4,000,000w per ticket - digging a bit of a grave me thinks!
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Bulsajo



Joined: 16 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul Roberts wrote:
My next move is to tell him that I am not staying another year - obviously. I never intended to, I just wanted to look into this matter first before I finalised everything. I will tell him that I am aware of the law and I expect the cash. If he doesnt give it to me then I will take it further. The only problem is when. If he says that he will give it to me and then pulls out at the last minute - where can I go. I suppose that I should get all that clear - ie. if that happens, what is the quickest and most effective course of action!


I'd go to the EFL-LAW website CLG has pointed out to you and try to find out what the laws are concerning WHEN severance pay has to be paid, what happens if it is NOT paid on time, and who to contact in the Ministry of Labor if you don't receive it on time.
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the magic number is 14 days. Employers have 14 days to settle money owed to you.

CLG
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