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Hello everyone

I hope everyone is doing okay with the virus ans staying safe. Today my Hagwon decided to close until the 9th. I was informed that when I come back on the 9th I will have to make a decision on how to cover the days of the new term that will be missed due to the hagwon being closed.

I was told I can eirher choose  red days (only ones that are not national holidays so that only leaves 2) /  my summer holidays which are 4 days. Or was even told I could take a pay cut instead but my boss seems to be pushing with the idea that the summer holidays will be used. I wanted to ask if anyone has any idea if this is infact legal or not. Or had any experience with something similar. I've been left very perplexed with today and just really need some information really and would appreciate any reply that could help.


Thank you!


  • NorthStar
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1113

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Mouseville
Hello everyone

I hope everyone is doing okay with the virus ans staying safe. Today my Hagwon decided to close until the 9th. I was informed that when I come back on the 9th I will have to make a decision on how to cover the days of the new term that will be missed due to the hagwon being closed.

I was told I can eirher choose  red days (only ones that are not national holidays so that only leaves 2) /  my summer holidays which are 4 days. Or was even told I could take a pay cut instead but my boss seems to be pushing with the idea that the summer holidays will be used. I wanted to ask if anyone has any idea if this is infact legal or not. Or had any experience with something similar. I've been left very perplexed with today and just really need some information really and would appreciate any reply that could help.


Thank you!


You know...I don't know.  Everyone is in a tight spot but it certainly is NOT your fault.  Personallyi, i don't think Korea is worth giving up the days off and vacation time.  It is not that great of a place. 



When our boss suggested it we said it's hard to make a decision as it's too early and we don't know what will happen in the next few days. But we also mentioned that we don't want our holiday to be touched as we get below average amount, I think, and it isn't all the employees fault that this has happened.



I'm pretty sure this isn't technically legal, BUT there are a couple of layers here.

As I understand it, if hagwons choose to close of their own volition, they're still required to pay at least 70% of employees' salaries for that missed time. If they close due to government mandate or because one or more of their students/employees tested positive for the virus, they don't have to pay anything; however, they have to seek permission for this. According to what I've read around here and there, though, the MOEL is not likely to hold it against any hagwon for not paying its employees (permission or no permission), given the circumstances.

So you'll most likely have to take the hagwon to small claims court to get reimbursed for any lost wages.

Taking all of the above into consideration, your hagwon either believes that it has the legal right to withhold wages due to the virus scare and is attempting to negotiate with you, the employees, in order to avoid doing so knowing that lost wages could be difficult for some people, or it knows it doesn't have the right to do any of the above but is attempting to take advantage of you.

Either way, they can't legally take your vacation days away from you over this. 

This is my best guess. You're better off posing this question in one of the FB legal groups, though, for specifics and confirmation.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 09:38:12 am by Chinguetti »


I'm pretty sure this isn't technically legal, BUT....

As I understand it, if hagwons choose to close of their own volition, they're still required to pay at least 70% of employees' salaries for that missed time. If they close due to government mandate or because one or more of their students/employees tested positive for the virus, they don't have to pay anything; however, they have to seek permission for this. According to what I've read around here and there, though, the MOEL is not likely to hold it against any hagwon for not paying its employees (permission or no permission), given the circumstances.

So you'll most likely have to take the hagwon to small claims court to get reimbursed for any lost wages.

Taking all of the above into consideration, your hagwon probably believes that it has the legal right to withhold wages due to the virus scare and is attempting to negotiate with you, the employees, in order to avoid doing so knowing that lost wages could be difficult for some people.

This is my best guess. You're better off posing this question in one of the FB legal groups, though, for specifics and confirmation.

Thank you for the reply.  I've tried joining LOFT on FB last night and I had to try and rejoin again this morning. I just want to know if its legal to make us work on red days or take our holiday away from us so hopefully I'll be able to find any advice on this matter if ai get approved. But i really appreciate your reply


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1739

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Not legal contact Seoul global center


  • Piggydee
  • The Legend

    • 2718

    • October 15, 2013, 07:32:43 am
    • South Korea
I have a friend that has to work 4 Saturdays for an entire month to make up for this closure.  So maybe suggest that you will work Saturdays to make up for the lost time.  That's one alternative.  But honestly, yeah I would be real bitter if my vacation days were cut because I covet those.  And if you work hakwon wow, I really feel bad for you.  You only get 5 days summer and they are asking you to give up 4 of those days.  I'd only do it if they paid me double of what I'd work for those days but that seems unlikely.  Try suggesting working on Saturdays.  :lipsrsealed:

Added:  That's another thing on Chinguetti's point. A lot of my friends are also going to have low paychecks for the coming month because of this government mandated closure.  Man it's a tough time to be here right now.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 09:33:32 am by Piggydee »


I have a friend that has to work 4 Saturdays for an entire month to make up for this closure.  So maybe suggest that you will work Saturdays to make up for the lost time.  That's one alternative.  But honestly, yeah I would be real bitter if my vacation days were cut because I covet those.  And if you work hakwon wow, I really feel bad for you.  You only get 5 days summer and they are asking you to give up 4 of those days.  I'd only do it if they paid me double of what I'd work for those days but that seems unlikely.  Try suggesting working on Saturdays.  :lipsrsealed:

Added:  That's another thing on Chinguetti's point. A lot of my friends are also going to have low paychecks for the coming month because of this government mandated closure.  Man it's a tough time to be here right now.

Thanks for the reply. When the metting was happening we suggested weekend but our boss just said nope. And it sucks as we only get 4 days in the summer and 4 in the winter anyway.  This is an improvement as it was 3/3 before. Everyone is in such a mess


Here's a post that actually addresses a lot of the concerns here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/313875475342938/permalink/3075080179222440/

I don't know if you'll be able to see it if you're not part of the group, so I'll quote it below.

This is a link also shared in the post: http://www.newsis.com/view/?id=NISX20200224_0000930030&cID=10899&pID=10800&fbclid=IwAR1i3Pj8E9mk_5X_H9UUVt4qZt_DvxHdCaIK5WF67EbDlTkEDtPFs1rdSsY

Quote
Long read. Can't fit this important point in a meme. But it will affect so many of you and your financial situation while in Korea, so please take the few minutes to read.

I know that many of you feel that all that is going on about the coronavirus is all a big overreaction, but as I've mentioned before, it's irresponsible and potentially dangerous to take on an air of invincibility without looking at the secondary effects.

Specifically, your employment. Or rather an unemployment.

Currently, 94% of hagwons are closed and the MoE has delayed reopening of schools by a week. At a time.

MoE won't be giving an all-clear until the rate of infection stabilizes and that is not happening at the moment.

So it's important to not celebrate a sudden holiday in Korea, especially if you work in a hagwon. Hagwons won't reopen just because the MoE says it is ok to do so. Hagwons will reopen if public/mother confidence is restored and it appears safe to send kids back to school.

More to the point, mothers will be enrolling in online classes for their kids as this prolongs and will have less reason to go back to using hagwons until they feel more comfortable doing so.

So although many of you are yawning at the coronavirus, the schools, and mothers who pay you need time to feel that same level of invincibility or at least comfort.

This means that many of you (and perhaps most or all of you) will have some lean months ahead as school directors stop paying or claiming extended unpaid leave while they point the finger helplessly at the virus or MoE for forcing their hands.

So you need to start having some contingency plans for this and not just hope for the best.

Your bosses will claim that it is beyond their control as to why they have to stop paying you, however, force majeure (불가항력) is the caveat in your contracts that you will need to be looking at and getting some legal help on the actual legal interpretation of that. Force majeure generally has catch-all conditions in contracts which would include epidemics. This could protect your rights but could also protect the employer from fulfilling their obligations depending on how it is worded.

Currently, numerous teachers are voicing concern and seeking legal advice about being placed on indefinite unpaid leave and those numbers will undoubtedly grow.

The legal challenge for a ruling on force majeure in Korean labor law will be a big one and not just for teachers. But it will take time.

The government is talking about provisioning small businesses with a budget to help offset losses but it is still in early phases. And even if private schools become recipients of such funding, you need more than just hope that your boss will honor your salary debt or if he will hang on to it, thinking that you will be too much of a pushover to go ahead with a legal challenge about force majeure and that you might just end up flying back home to get away from all this.

Even packing up and leaving after a month or two of unpaid salary might not be that easy, considering that the list of countries who are banning Koreans or foreigners who have been in Korea from entering their country is growing daily.

Also, many of you might not be in a situation where it is easy to just pack up and leave if this drags on and you are not getting paid. For those of you, you need to be looking into online teaching or some form of online income. Teaching English to Chinese online was booming before all this, but now that more and more kids are being forced indoors, you can bet that online teachers are in higher demand now. You should also be inquiring with your bosses if they have a plan to retain students through online classes, also.

But above all else, look more than a week ahead and don't just rejoice at the fact that you can drink at night and sleep in all day at the moment. Otherwise, mom is going to have to pay more and more visits to Western Union. You don't have to play the victim. You have options


Here's a post that actually addresses a lot of the concerns here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/313875475342938/permalink/3075080179222440/

I don't know if you'll be able to see it if you're not part of the group, so I'll quote it below.

This is a link also shared in the post: http://www.newsis.com/view/?id=NISX20200224_0000930030&cID=10899&pID=10800&fbclid=IwAR1i3Pj8E9mk_5X_H9UUVt4qZt_DvxHdCaIK5WF67EbDlTkEDtPFs1rdSsY


Thank you so much for this!


  • Piggydee
  • The Legend

    • 2718

    • October 15, 2013, 07:32:43 am
    • South Korea
Well let's look at it like this if Trump can shut down the government (which he has) and allow government employees to go a month without pay and Cathay Pacific can ask their workers to work for free for 3 weeks....I wouldn't put it beyond hakwon bosses to find a way to not pay their workers. 


Thank you for the reply.  I've tried joining LOFT on FB last night and I had to try and rejoin again this morning. I just want to know if its legal to make us work on red days or take our holiday away from us so hopefully I'll be able to find any advice on this matter if ai get approved. But i really appreciate your reply

Take LOFT with a grain of salt. While it can offer a lot of useful information, most of the users, including the admin, are not legal professionals, and they're often wrong when regarding situations outside of the norm (which this most definitely falls under). Many users have gotten into a lot of trouble for trusting what LOFT users have told them. A lot of the users there also have a problem with separating their egos from actually wanting to help people. Again, they're not professionals, and it shows. I've seen them boot members and exclude users for incredibly childish and petty reasons, and there's a chance you won't get accepted right now because of the influx of others who share your situation.

I'd recommend these groups instead:

Korea Employment Law Clinic for Foreign Workers
SJ's Legal Cafe
PALS: Practical Advice for Life Situations
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 10:31:19 am by Chinguetti »


Take LOFT with a grain of salt. While it can offer a lot of useful information, most of the users, including the admin, are not legal professionals, and they're often wrong when regarding situations outside of the norm (which this most definitely falls under). Many users have gotten into a lot of trouble for trusting what LOFT users have told them. A lot of them also have a problem with separating their egos from actually wanting to help people. I've seen them boot members and exclude users for incredibly childish and petty reasons, and there's a chance you won't get accepted right now because of the influx of others who share your situation.

I'd recommend these groups instead:

Korea Employment Law Clinic for Foreign Workers
SJ's Legal Cafe
PALS: Practical Advice for Life Situations

They rejected my first request to join so thank you so much for all your replies and information. I really appreciate it!


They rejected my first request to join so thank you so much for all your replies and information. I really appreciate it!

Yeah, it doesn't surprise me at all. By all means, try to gain entry into the group for access to its resources if not for anything else, but don't bank on getting accepted at this time. Or ever. The admin(s) may continue to deny you simply because they didn't like one of your posts in another group or even on your own profile.

If you do manage to gain entry into that group, don't trust anything said in there at face value. It's a hot mess.

Good luck with your own situation. Let us know how everything goes!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 10:38:20 am by Chinguetti »


Yeah, it doesn't surprise me at all. By all means, try to gain entry into the group for access to its resources if not for anything else, but don't bank on getting accepted at this time. Or ever. The admin(s) may continue to deny you simply because they didn't like one of your posts in another group or even on your own profile.

If you do manage to gain entry into that group, don't trust anything said in there at face value. It's a hot mess.

Good luck with your own situation. Let us know how everything goes!

Thank you. They just rejected me again for some reason. I'll definitely try those other groups you mentioned. Thanks again and ill update with any information I get incase anyone else needs the same help


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 3196

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
i'd probably recommend this one: "Korea Employment Law Clinic for Foreign Workers"

https://www.facebook.com/groups/207903433109228/

the guy in charge (Brendon) is an actual lawyer in korea. the other "legal" groups like PALS and LOFT are just run by people who have no legal training

although LOFT can be good for general enquiries (their files section has lots of useful documents)



i'd probably recommend this one: "Korea Employment Law Clinic for Foreign Workers"

https://www.facebook.com/groups/207903433109228/

the guy in charge (Brendon) is an actual lawyer in korea. the other "legal" groups like PALS and LOFT are just run by people who have no legal training

although LOFT can be good for general enquiries (their files section has lots of useful documents)

Thanks for the reccomenddation, I was just checking these out and will definitely try join.


i'd probably recommend this one: "Korea Employment Law Clinic for Foreign Workers"

https://www.facebook.com/groups/207903433109228/

the guy in charge (Brendon) is an actual lawyer in korea. the other "legal" groups like PALS and LOFT are just run by people who have no legal training

although LOFT can be good for general enquiries (their files section has lots of useful documents)

Yes, I do, too, this is the reason why I put it at the top of my own recommendation list.

I still listed PALS because the admin there will usually admit when he doesn't know something and he'll often consult with lawyers or will refer you to someone if he feels it's something beyond his knowledge or capabilities. I've found PALS to be much more helpful to others, and generally more accurate, than LOFT. But yes, you still need to be careful with things said in PALS, too.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 11:11:45 am by Chinguetti »


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 3196

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
aye fair enough. i left PALS purely down to the pure weirdness of that guy in charge. john or whatever his name was. christ. drama city


I get that, too, I think a lot of people left his group for the same reason. He's emotional and isn't afraid to air his dirty laundry, lol, but he says it's for transparency.

I don't really know, he just seems to butt heads with others a lot, especially if they're from LOFT.