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Author Topic: Having MAJOR difficulties with my hagwon and my contract finishes in one week!  (Read 7672 times)

Offline col89

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Hi, I need some help and really soon because I finish my contract in six working days (next Friday) with my hagwon.

In short, with bullet points, here is my story:

- My hagwon has never given me one pay receipt, despite my countless requests for them. Apparently, "Korea doesn't do it this way." Of course, I know other waygookin that get their pay receipts (in public school and hagwons), so this is utter nonsense.

- I am supposed to be exempt from tax, as it is stated in my contract, but they have been charging me for it, regardless. Furthermore, even if it is a case that I *should* be paying for it, I have been told by the Local Tax Office that I am ENTITLED to get a return on it.

- Also, remembering that I finish my contract so soon, they have not yet booked my flight to return home, and it is a major concern for me because there has been family issues for the last while. It is stated in my contract, that both employer and employee should agree to discontinue the teacher's residence in Korea within THREE days of his/her completion of contract, and yet my boss has been avoiding the situation and making my last few weeks a living hell by pushing it out.

- There is concerns about my bonus salary because, apparently, NH Bank (the local bank they issued me with) have problems with sending money directly to some European countries, with mine included (Ireland). So, I am afraid that they will try and squirm their way out of this one, also.

Please, please, help. I am in dire straits right now, and I don't know what to do. I know for a fact that they will be violating Article 36 and 39 of the Korean Standard Labour Law, as far as it goes with the money and pay statement issues, but with the airfare issue, I don't know what to do next. I have consulted an attorney that has been recommended on Dave's ESL Forum a few weeks ago and he was very helpful, but I have called again today since matters have not improved and the guy who answered was not so helpful at all, just telling me that I should "continue to work hard" and talk to my boss. I have been doing the latter for 11 months now, but with little or no cooperation. If someone could advise me on what to do next, it would be greatly appreciated.

These are just some of the issues that have been broken in my contract, as there has been minor things like what was supposed to be in my apartment, etc. There has also been issues with bullying and isolation, but, of course, that doesn't affect my contract. I just wish to get what is, by right, mine.

Thank you,

A teacher in Geoje-do.

Offline col89

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By the by, just in case another poster notices it and points it out, I posted the same thing on Dave's the other day, but I wanted to post on here, too, and hope that I could get more help on the matter (because I didn't get much help from there).

Here is an update of what happened today:

I have spoken with my boss today, and apparently, they have been "discounting" my pension and insurance, so I should be "saving" 50,000 won per month, roughly. However, because of this, they have said that I SHOULD NOT claim any of my taxes, even though I pay about 70,000 won per month for it, as it would mean that I should give them the money that I "saved."

It does not make sense, no matter what way they put it, and I am so far away from trusting them that I even recorded the entire conversation with them earlier (one hour, in total). I am just wondering what the next course of action should be, because they are definitely doing something out of the ordinary (whether I should pursue a legal case or not).

If anyone can tell me, honestly and bluntly, does this situation sound out of the norm? How exactly could they be "discounting" what I should be paying to the Korean state? Or should I just go ahead and file for my tax return?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 09:17:52 PM by col89 »

Offline skippy

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When does your ARC expire.  What is the date on your alien registration card.   It maybe be six day till your contract ends.  Things are different on the day you have to leave the country.

Second First off, I think in a another thread, I mentioned you are NOT exempt from all taxes.

You still have to pay pension and health insurance.  These two are NOT a tax.  The pension sucks for you, being Irish and you are not eligible for a refund.  Your tax rate should still be under 3 percent, not that bad.   Once again I am pretty certain that only public school teachers get a tax exemption.   Never mind what your contract says of you being exempt from taxes, it can not supersede law. 

But I could be wrong....

Also, in another thread it was commented to you about the pay slip, that yes this is common in Korea.  They deposit it in your bank and usually forget the pay slip.   Before you leave do get a print out of all you bank transactions.  Which should include deposits from your school.  Little confused.  Why do you need the slips?

The plane ticket is a worry.  Last minute details and planning is so common here in Korea.   You need to look into getting your visa extended.   I think a temp/tourist extension might not be possible, as you have no ticket.  Maybe a short work extension, but that still needs help from your present school.   Have you called immigration for advice.

Your bonus/severance is another little worry.   Legally your boss can wait up to 2 weeks after your last day to pay you.   As to your bank.   Go to another one, try KB* or KEB.  I think you might not need to even have an account with them.  I would expect a whole bunch of NOs from ignorant staff on policy.  Keep the banks English service number handy when you go in.  You just might have to pay more fees and you might be asked for proof of your earnings on the money.   If really desperate get a cashier check in Euro's for the money.
Please consider adding some info to your "Personal Text"  Like type of school, visa status, county of origin.  These little bits of info can help people help you.

Offline skippy

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Are you even registered with Pension and Health Insurance....  Did you get an NHIC card?  Have you called the pension office to see if you are registered.


When you mean discounted do you mean they deducted from you pay?  Or they/you chose to not do the pension.

Just used the calculator and did the basic 2,100,000 * 3.3% and got 69,300.  Which is roughly 70,000 won.  I see what your school did.   Your school in which to save money for both them and you, have decided to make you an independent contractor.  When they said you where exempt from taxes, they used a trick to in which to avoid paying health insurance and pension.   Doing so, your tax rate rises to 3.3 percent.  My advice at this juncture of the game, accept the past tax payments, wash your hands of this.   You do NOT want to get a refund set up, because you will likely have to pay back the FULL 9 percent (pension) and 5 percent (health) that should have been deducted each month from your pay.  Do you have roughly 3 million won money lying around?

Once again just accept that the 70k tax per month is gone and paid.  Well hopefully to the tax office.  When they said exempt, they meant pension and health and technically not exempt, a dodge.



Please consider adding some info to your "Personal Text"  Like type of school, visa status, county of origin.  These little bits of info can help people help you.

Offline lotte world

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I have spoken with my boss today, and apparently, they have been "discounting" my pension and insurance, so I should be "saving" 50,000 won per month, roughly. However, because of this, they have said that I SHOULD NOT claim any of my taxes, even though I pay about 70,000 won per month for it, as it would mean that I should give them the money that I "saved."

It does not make sense, no matter what way they put it, and I am so far away from trusting them that I even recorded the entire conversation with them earlier (one hour, in total). I am just wondering what the next course of action should be, because they are definitely doing something out of the ordinary (whether I should pursue a legal case or not).

If anyone can tell me, honestly and bluntly, does this situation sound out of the norm? How exactly could they be "discounting" what I should be paying to the Korean state? Or should I just go ahead and file for my tax return?

It sounds odd.  One possibility is that they have been deducting pension and tax from you (as they should) but not passing it on to the authorities.  This could explain why they won't give you a payslip, so that you have no record of how much has been deducted and for what.  If you call the tax office or pension office they might ask you why they have received nothing, and then demand payment.  Perhaps that's why your boss told you not to call them.  On the other hand, the best people to answer this question are the tax office and pension office themselves.  And really, it could be just incompetence, not villainy.

As an Irish citizen (or working at a hagwon) you are not exempt from tax, so you must pay.  You have asked about this before.  The answer is still the same.

Regarding your flight home, naturally you want to do it asap.  The most important date is the expiry date on your ARC.  You *must* leave on or before that date.  It should be on or a few days after your contract expiry date.  You can extend it up to a month, but to do that you have to have a ticket for a flight within that month...

What I am saying here is that you don't need to leave on the last day of your contract.  You can stay a little longer if you need to, to sort things out.

And finally, who told you NH have difficulty sending money to Ireland?  If it's your boss then don't believe him.  If it's NH, then it's totally believable.  However, you could set up international transfer tomorrow and try, or you can open an account at a real bank.  You need your account number and SWIFT code for your bank back home.  If you send an email to your bank tonight they might tell you what you need to do overnight.

Offline skippy

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To complete the circle....

Also on Dave's ESL cafe....

http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=2814288#2814288
Please consider adding some info to your "Personal Text"  Like type of school, visa status, county of origin.  These little bits of info can help people help you.

Offline col89

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Also on Dave's ESL cafe....

http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=2814288#2814288

Yes, that was needed, because I didn't already point that out in the beginning (look at the first two posts again).

I know about pension, and I am not entitled to that until a later stage (at the Irish pension age like other Irish citizens), but I am talking about tax, as it is completely separated from it.

Regarding the ARC card:

I am giving my hagwon the benefit of the doubt and saying that I should be safe, as there is still a couple of weeks left on it, but knowing what I know right now, it's hard to predict what might happen in the long run. I am just hoping and praying that they are the last-minute type of folk (like I have heard with many hagwons).

I don't have an NHIC card, but I believe that they have been putting money into a pension and as part of the health. It's the taxes that worry me (i.e. income tax), because they were adamant that I DO NOT collect them (or I would have to give them money).

Regarding the discounts, they drew up figures showing that my pension was discounted to about 30,000 and then health down to 20,000, roughly, thus coming together at about 50,000 won. However, on the issue of tax, I was/am paying about 70,000 every month, and yet they were telling me that I was saving money through their particular route, but, in fact, I would be losing about 200,000 won in the long run because there is a figure out of the tax that isn't even counted for.

I am so burnt out with talking about it now. I almost feel like giving up on the whole situation, because I feel like I am going around in circles.  :(
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 10:46:35 PM by col89 »

Offline col89

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Are you even registered with Pension and Health Insurance....  Did you get an NHIC card?  Have you called the pension office to see if you are registered.


When you mean discounted do you mean they deducted from you pay?  Or they/you chose to not do the pension.

Just used the calculator and did the basic 2,100,000 * 3.3% and got 69,300.  Which is roughly 70,000 won.  I see what your school did.   Your school in which to save money for both them and you, have decided to make you an independent contractor.  When they said you where exempt from taxes, they used a trick to in which to avoid paying health insurance and pension.   Doing so, your tax rate rises to 3.3 percent.  My advice at this juncture of the game, accept the past tax payments, wash your hands of this.   You do NOT want to get a refund set up, because you will likely have to pay back the FULL 9 percent (pension) and 5 percent (health) that should have been deducted each month from your pay.  Do you have roughly 3 million won money lying around?

Once again just accept that the 70k tax per month is gone and paid.  Well hopefully to the tax office.  When they said exempt, they meant pension and health and technically not exempt, a dodge.

Just checked the figures that my boss wrote down for me at the very beginning of the year (I wanted to keep them safe, just in case), and my deductions are as follows:

- 3.3% Tax = 69,300
- Health Insurance = 42,300
- Pension = 67,300

Do these figures look correct (genuine question)?

Offline lotte world

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Assuming you are getting 2.1M/m then indeed 3.3% is 69300 (assuming that's the correct tax rate)

The last figure I have for pension is 4.5%, so that's 94500

The last figure I have for health care is 2.71% and 4.78% of that, which is 56910 + 2720 = 59630

Yours seem a little low.  You win!

Offline col89

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As an Irish citizen (or working at a hagwon) you are not exempt from tax, so you must pay.  You have asked about this before.  The answer is still the same.

I called NTS on three separate occasions and told them my nationality and where I was working (in a hagwon), and they said that I am still entitled to it, so either they are making me run around in circles or the situation regarding Irish citizens/foreign teachers working in a hagwon has changed.

Offline skippy

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Do you know for sure.... that you are registered with pension and health insurance....

The simple way to see if you have.    Did you get a little pamphlet like from this webpage...
http://www.korea.net/AboutKorea/Living-in-Korea/National-Health-Insurance-for-Foreign-Nationals
  Just saw the post before the numbers...

Have you ever used the health insurance.  When you went to the doctor did you pay more then normal.

If you are paying for both and are registered and have received them.  Then you should get a refund of some TAX money back.  No refund for pension since you are Irish and no refund on health insurance.   The school was likely charging you too much for tax.   It should be about 2 percent.  So maybe you might get the difference of 1.3 percent back from the TAX office.  If you apply for a refund.  So maybe you might get back 325k won.  How to do that, I do not know....

Once again this is if you have been properly enrolled in the pension and health insurance.

Looking at the numbers, they seem a bit low.  Maybe the school has reported your income as less then what it it is.  So they could pay a smaller rate.  This is a common scam with hagwons.   In a way it is sort of good for you.   You did not have to pay a higher rate for something you do not get till you turn 65.  Same with the insurance.   

Your school also maybe asking you not ask for the refund because if they do, they might get audited.   Which can spell trouble for you.   As you might have to payback the true amount of what you should have paid.

ONCE again are you registered with PENSION and Health Insurance?  NOW IF NOT.... then the troubles start.  Likely the school was collecting the money and not paying it.  They have been cheating you.   You could take this to the pension and health insurance board, but it would mean and fight.  Are you willing to stay longer in Korea.   You need to decide if you want to fight this now or go home.

Please consider adding some info to your "Personal Text"  Like type of school, visa status, county of origin.  These little bits of info can help people help you.

Offline col89

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ONCE again are you registered with PENSION and Health Insurance?  NOW IF NOT.... then the troubles start.  Likely the school was collecting the money and not paying it.  They have been cheating you.   You could take this to the pension and health insurance board, but it would mean and fight.  Are you willing to stay longer in Korea.   You need to decide if you want to fight this now or go home.

I have never had anything seriously wrong with me over here, apart from the odd cold or cough now and again, I have just been paying the norm of 6,000 to visit the doctor, as well as paying for the tiny tablets you get for just about anything. Other than that, I can't really call on it.

Offline col89

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I forgot to say another thing:

The boss said that my working time is only based on the start and end of each month, meaning that it should be counted from the 1st to the 30th/31st (so, not from the teacher's starting date of work to four weeks later, as what I thought it was). This is another concern because I agreed with my boss that I would use vacation days at the very end of my contract to leave a little sooner, but still fulfill my contract and duties as a teacher, and is now saying that I should not be paid for the remaining time because I won't be physically *there*. I started working towards the middle of the first month because the previous teacher was still around then, so now that means the loss of X won.

Again, I have so many insecurities about this hagwon, but for good reason. I don't know what is right or wrong anymore.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 11:53:03 PM by col89 »

Offline skippy

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So I am going to assume you have health insurance.   Generally people do not need to carry the NHIC card with them.  The ARC card will do.  They check on the computer.

So to reiterate.  The numbers do seem low, but it works in your favor.   You cheat the system by paying less.
Pension - sorry you do not get a refund.   There is no agreement between Ireland and Korea on a lump-sum refund.
Health -  hey this one EVERYBODY should have this and get it.  Sorry no refund on this.
Tax - At 3.3% was a touch high.  It should have been about 2 percent.  Which you DO NOT GET BACK.   At 2 percent I would be happy.  Heck even 3.3 I am happy too.

Maybe on the taxes, you can get a minor refund.  Once again, the school was charging you too high of a rate.  Why it was wrong it could be ignorance or a cheat.  Maybe you might get back roughly 300k won from the tax department.  How to do, I do not know.   I suspect why you school is asking you not to get a refund is because if you do they will likely have to pay more money to pension and health insurance and likely a fine.  You could also end up having to backpay the proper amount on pension and health insurance.

As to the plane ticket, well have you looked online for a price and a ticket.   Sometimes the best policy is to do all the work yourself.  Find a cheap ticket,  tell school the price and get the money from them.

The bank.    This I suspect is the usually lazy person behind the counter.    Did you bring in ALL info  and docs you could.  I mean SWIFT code, bank in Ireland address,  you passport,  you ARC, everything.   Over prepare is my motto when it comes to dealing with places like banks and immigration.

Some options are.

1) Get a cashier check
2)  Go to large branch office of the bank.   Look around city/town centers.
3)  Transfer with a better bank.  KEB or Woori I think are considered ok.
4)  Get you money in bills (EURO or whatever).
Please consider adding some info to your "Personal Text"  Like type of school, visa status, county of origin.  These little bits of info can help people help you.

Offline col89

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As to the plane ticket, well have you looked online for a price and a ticket.   Sometimes the best policy is to do all the work yourself.  Find a cheap ticket,  tell school the price and get the money from them.

The bank.    This I suspect is the usually lazy person behind the counter.    Did you bring in ALL info  and docs you could.  I mean SWIFT code, bank in Ireland address,  you passport,  you ARC, everything.   Over prepare is my motto when it comes to dealing with places like banks and immigration.


Some options are.

1) Get a cashier check
2)  Go to large branch office of the bank.   Look around city/town centers.
3)  Transfer with a better bank.  KEB or Woori I think are considered ok.
4)  Get you money in bills (EURO or whatever).

To both highlighted sections: I have done each.

The boss made me run around and look for the cheapest flight I could get over four/five weeks ago, and the cheapest ones I could find (the same one as what the recruiter got for when I arrived in Korea), in the end, did not even please her.

The bank situation was pretty much dismissed from the get-go, as my local NH teller just folded his arms and said "no". Later, I found out that Ireland wasn't one of the countries listed that it could send money to (perhaps, for expenses and/or extra high charges, I don't know).

I'll talk to my boss again tomorrow and see if they can send it through another bank account that they have, or if it would be possible to just give it directly through cash-in-hand.

Offline Deesh

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With regards to the tax/pension/insurance issues, I'd just cut my losses and forget about them.

Your school have more than likely been diddling things but it's not going to get sorted in your remaining time here - and if you make things difficult for your school, they'll undoubtedly make things even more difficult for you.

And the amounts that you have been deducted don't seem unreasonable, even if your school haven't been following proper procedures.

I think you should make your air ticket your number one priority and not worry about the rest whatsoever, or at least until the airfare is sorted.

Offline nomusaKimmy

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Hi

I'm not a teacher nor waygookin... I just happend to read your post browsing internet, and I thought I could be a bit of help regarding labor and employment law.

1. employer's duty of issuing payslip

Unfortunately, no laws stipulate employer's duty of issuing "pay receipt"(payslip/detailed statment) in Korea.
FYI, it's forced by law to issue "employement contract" stating wages, working hours, holidays, leaves and other working conditions, but not for payslip. You mentioned about the article 39 in Labor Standard Act, but it's about "employmenet certificate" which attests your employment.

2. Taxes and Social insurance contributions deducted from your salary

There are mainly 4 items that are deducted from your salary - ①income tax, etc., ②national pension contribution, ③national health insurance contribution, and ④employment insurance contribution. For foreign workers, everyone should pay income tax, etc., and it's voluntary to join employment insurance, so normally NP(National Pension) and NHI(National Health Insurance) are in question.

As for NP, whether you're obligated to pay or not is pretty much up to your nationality, because it's designed based on reciprocity - agreements between countries. And the nationality to be eligible for the "lump-sum refund" you mentioned includes only 14 countries, and I'm afriad Ireland is not one of them (please check out http://english.nps.or.kr).

As for NHI, it's basically obligated for all foreign workers with some exceptions(when you're covered by foreign insurance plan which is available in Korea /or when your employer pays your medical expenses). For the exceptions, your employer should report in advance with evidencing documents.

So, in short, income tax etc.,(not sure.. about 15%?) + NP contribution (4.5%) + NHI contribution (about 3%) are supposed to have been deducted from your salary(E2 visa, national of Ireland).

There is no such thing "discount" on taxes or contributions. It's more likely that your employer has deducted these from your salary, and not properly paid government (if this is the case, they will be fined soon.)

NP and NHI are such complicated plans that even Koreans are always confuesed. I hope everything goes well with you and you go back home with good memory with Korea.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 03:13:47 PM by nomusaKimmy »