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Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« on: June 16, 2020, 05:28:24 pm »
Hello,
I have worked for a hagwon for 320 days.
My boss has now informed us that due to a personal illness issue, she is having to go to the hospital on the 26th June at the latest. By then, I will have worked in the role for 330 days.
She informed us on the 2nd June, giving us only 24 days notice before shutdown.
Being 35 days away from a full year contract, she is breaking the contract, and yet is claiming that she therefore doesn't owe us a penny of severance pay.
During the meeting (which I have recorded) she also went from offering 50% of our flight fee, to 100%, to 0% "due to attitude".
This can hardly be legal, since all I did was ask why we can't have our money if it's her breaking the contract, and not us.
She has broken the rules set out in the contract several times before, and I believe she relies on us being foreigners who can't ask for help - so that she can get away with the rule-breaking.
In the contract, it does say that severance pay will not be provided if the EMPLOYEE terminates the contract, but there is no mention of the EMPLOYER doing it.
This is the same for the flight fee, it says that the employer will provide a FULL ROUND TRIP - and in the event that the EMPLOYEE terminates the contract after 6 months, the employee will owe 50%, and the employer the other 50%.
The Release from Contract section only suggests that the two parties are released from contraxct in case of "Death, war or unforeseen events" but surely she can't use her health problems to get away without paying us what we are due?
I've seen some advice sites talk about if the company has 5 or more employees, in which case there are 4 English teachers, and one secretary (the boss' sister), but she also has recently started a math hagwon, with at least 3 Math teachers - would this count?
We have never signed anything to agree to her breaking this contract - and she has made sure to confirm that we aren't getting this money last Friday 12th June at 9pm, so that we couldn't immediately call the labor board.
In addition to all of this, she has broken several sections of the contract - it mentions Health Insurance, which would be provided to the employee, with the employer paying 50%. She told us that we could pay 123,000 won a month, after being in Korea for 5 months for it to kick in, but she would pay nothing. If we wanted her to pay, it would be a different insurance that would cost us 400,000 or more, and her 400,000 or more. Of course this seemed ridiculous, so we have paid the 123,000, with her paying nothing.
The contract also talks about a base salary of 1.8 million won if the employee THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, does not work 120 hours in a month. During COVID lockdown, we were not working for 10 days in total (excluding weekends) in February/March yet were paid 1.65 million in our March pay.
Futhermore, we have never been provided our 3 sick days a year, despite asking during emergencies. And due to the early closure of the hagwon, we will not receive our paid summer vacation either.
Everything about this is very suspicious - especially since we now have 10 days left until our last teaching day, and she is still taking on new students?!
She hasn't even announced the closure to current students.

Aside from all of this, we will be happy if we can just get our flights fully paid for, as this was completely out of our control or decision. If we can get any severance pay - it will be great, but our main worry is that we have been stranded in Korea - and soon to be kicked out of our apartment.

Please help.
I have a copy of my contract and a recording of our final meeting in which she states that we aren't getting what was promised to us.


Many thanks.

Edit: thanks so much for your advice, everyone. I have already submitted a petition, which was confirmed today as received.
Iíve rang the labor board, who gave me a number for Seoul global Center, but the hours for counselling are 2pm to 5pm weekdays and I arrive at work at 1 and begin my classes at 2 and never finish until at least 6...Iíve tried emailing them instead.
The most upsetting thing is how confident she is that she doesnít owe a penny - which is why the other teachers have given up so easily.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 10:09:41 pm by AnnualChange »


Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 12:51:53 pm »
Man I'd love to hear that recording. This site seriously needs a thread of shame for shady hagwon bosses




  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 4265

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2020, 01:26:50 pm »
no shame. you work for a place for almost a year and your employer makes up some BS to try and stop you claiming the money that's legally yours. absolutely no shame. i wonder, does this kind of shite happen so often in other countries with ESL jobs?


  • AvecPommesFrites
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1022

    • September 04, 2017, 02:19:33 pm
    • Incheon International Airport Immigration Office Detention Facility
Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2020, 03:45:34 pm »
Set fire to the hagwon and trash the apartment.

or

Contact the labour board with the evidence and you have a slam dunk case.  https://www.moel.go.kr/english/contac/contacCon.jsp
Soggy undergarments


Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2020, 04:24:23 pm »
seems pretty standard last minute firing m Go to the labor board. This is so typical and standard that I wouldn't even stress over it. a the labor board should be used to this situation.


Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2020, 08:35:41 am »
Labor board got me on with a lawyer but both the assistant and the lawyer seem convinced that Iíd have to stay here for months and hire a lawyer that would cost more than the airfare that I would get. They seem to think I have no grounds for the severance as itís under a year worked.
They also keep sending me to Seoul global Center who are telling me they canít do anything and I need to go to the labor board.
I guess Iíll just have to hope for the best with the petition and grand power of attorney to someone I know who will be staying in Korea...I also thought I had a slam dunk case but I guess this is why my boss was so confident that she could get away with it...


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1851

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2020, 08:52:55 am »
no shame. you work for a place for almost a year and your employer makes up some BS to try and stop you claiming the money that's legally yours. absolutely no shame. i wonder, does this kind of shite happen so often in other countries with ESL jobs?

It does in Japan at Eikaiwas (Japanese Hagwon)


  • Liechtenstein
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1013

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2020, 02:53:33 pm »
In the contract, it does say that severance pay will not be provided if the EMPLOYEE terminates the contract, but there is no mention of the EMPLOYER doing it.

***If it is not mentioned in the contract it is not in the contract and therefore not applicable***

The Release from Contract section only suggests that the two parties are released from contraxct in case of "Death, war or unforeseen events" but surely she can't use her health problems to get away without paying us what we are due?

***Yes she can use her health problems as they are unforeseen problems***

Read Korean Labour Law. It supercedes a contract between employer and employee. However, don't hold your breath because she can drag this out for a long time. meanwhile, you are in limbo and paying bills with no income.

Sorry, but you signed a garbage contract that turned around and bit you in the butt. Read the labour laws, learn how to interpret a contract and don't be naive or trusting of people who have no interest in you other than as a means to an end. You are disposable and eminently replaceable.

The sadder part of this is that there is some kid fresh outta mommy and daddy's basement with a still wet BA in Basket Weaving that is dying to take your place.


  • NorthStar
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1365

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Mouseville
Re: Employer shutting down with only 24 days notice to us
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2020, 03:54:08 pm »
https://www.epeople.go.kr/foreigners/pps/pps.npaid

You know, simply filing a petition gets this all on record.  You don't necessarily have to go to court.