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For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« on: July 10, 2020, 07:02:10 pm »
Hi, I was just looking for some advice, I will be contacting the labour board on Monday as I missed them today, but was hoping to get a general idea about my situation before I made that call.

I have two questions, but just a quick bit of background, I re-signed a contract at my current school where I have worked for the last 5 years, this new contract is for a 8 month period and has already commenced. Before I signed I was informed that due to being 8 months I wouldn't receive a completion bonus, which I was Okay about, and which was the only change I was informed about. The contract is a standard EPIK public school contract.

Question number 1, vacation time is stipulated as 26 days, now being 8 months I can understand if this was reduced to say around 16 days as I am only working 3/4 of a regular contract, today I was informed I would only be entitled to 8 days as I am only working 8 months, even though the contract (which has been signed states 26), furthermore if I had been made aware of this prior to signing it is something I would request to be changed, as I have a good relationship with my school.

Any idea on where I stand with this?

Question number 2, I was also informed today, that over the period of my last contract (one which I have completed and I am currently commencing a new contract) I was paid an extra 4 days vacation time, which they intend to take from next months salary, is this legal?

Thank you in advance for any help given, again I will seek official advice on Monday, but knowing the lay of the land prior would put it out of my mind over the weekend.
It's probably worth noting I have no fear of rocking the boat or burning bridges.


Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2020, 08:35:25 pm »
I wouldn't normally post out of office hours but there are quite a few things here that I thought I'd bring up.

First, you should get severance for your 8 months.  You've been with the same employer for over a year so you get any part of the severance over that first year.  From experience, I had worked with Chungnam OoE for 8 years, and finished at a middle school to move to a private hire high school 9 months into the contract.  There was no problem moving.  As I had worked for the same employer (COoE) at a number of schools for the 8+ years, I was given my part severance for those 9 months I was at that one school.  You an entitled to it legally.  That will help soften the blow of any other deductions that your school is trying to do, as it did with me....

...so for question 1, your school is not really wrong with how it is doing this, but it is really tight.  Basically, public schools work a Mon-Sat week.  Saturday is your legal paid day off.  For every month you work, you get an extra day off.  Hence them saying that you get eight days.  One for each month you worked.  As you are not finishing the contract term, you are being prorated to the bare minimum.  So they're not legally doing anything wrong because they could argue that you're not finishing your contract, so you would have received those extra holidays in the remainder of your contract.  :undecided:  As mentioned I finished my contract early, had taken all my holiday during the summer and winter, so had the pro-rata problem and I contacted the Labour Board about it at the time and what they wrote was that my school had not done anything wrong.  Just like this really.  Partially finishing a contract opens up a lot of problems. 

As for part 2, that is kind of wonky.  Each contract should stand alone, especially with something like paid leave.  If you took more holidays in that contract, then once it's expired and completed, then so do the conditions.  They should have rectified that in that contract period.  They can't carry it over to another contract.  Contract law doesn't work like that. It goes from start date to end date.

Aaron, I don't want to diss your school but you are owed that severance.  I've been in a similar situation and there is nothing worse than the admin guy coming in with a page full of figures saying ' you did this and you did that' but from what you've said A:  you should get severance for being there over a year.  The holiday thing is the bare minimum.  The second question seems like they're penalising you for finishing early and invoking earlier contracts to claw back money, which I don't think is right at all!

Be wary about what they are doing here. I had the same thing and even though you've been here years, you still have to be on your toes as some admin will follow what they think is right.  So, it'll be very interesting to hear what Labour say on Monday.  But I think if you get the severance you are owed then that'll make the other thing immaterial. 


Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 07:09:14 am »
If you have worked 5 years then your annual leave is accrued at a higher rate each year, the 26 days in the first year is due to  a change in the Labor Standards Act in 2017.

There is an article that is very detailed on Reddit here:
https://old.reddit.com/r/Korean_Law/comments/fh9fdq/contractual_vs_statutory_holidays_and_leave/

Your problem will be that you have to use the annual leave within 2 years of it being granted under the LSA, so if you worked for 5 years the first 3 years of Annual Leave should have been used by now or paid in cash, which leaves you the last two years of Annual Leave.  The full block of annual leave is granted on the fist day of the next year of the contract so it is not prorated: you get all the days on the very first day of the contract so in year 5 you would receive an additional 17 days of Paid Annual Leave under the LSA, if the contract states that it is 26 days then the 26 days are granted on the very first day of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th yr of the contract.

The reason why is that Annual Leave can be utilized by the Employee in the event they need to have a sick day and there is no sick day allowance in the contract (there is none in the LSA) so the employee can use annual leave if they are ill and their salary remains the same for that period of time.

Your contact will contain clauses that will state if "Red Days" are to be counted against annual leave or not.

 For question number 2, really if you did not use your annual leave in years 3 & 4 then they cannot deduct it, and in addition, they owe you the full amount of 26 days. Really the wording of the contract is critical so I am taking it on good faith that your understanding is the correct legal interpenetration of the clauses.

This reddit article is very good and goes over the check list of what should be paid to you, how Severance is calculated (it is not "one month of pay" your unused annual leave increases the amount etc.) https://www.reddit.com/r/Korean_Law/comments/fhw90m/korean_labor_law_most_foreign_employees_lose_1520/

I wish you good luck,
Cheers


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1928

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 07:57:49 am »
I wouldn't normally post out of office hours but there are quite a few things here that I thought I'd bring up.

First, you should get severance for your 8 months.  You've been with the same employer for over a year so you get any part of the severance over that first year.  From experience, I had worked with Chungnam OoE for 8 years, and finished at a middle school to move to a private hire high school 9 months into the contract.  There was no problem moving.  As I had worked for the same employer (COoE) at a number of schools for the 8+ years, I was given my part severance for those 9 months I was at that one school.  You an entitled to it legally.  That will help soften the blow of any other deductions that your school is trying to do, as it did with me....

...so for question 1, your school is not really wrong with how it is doing this, but it is really tight.  Basically, public schools work a Mon-Sat week.  Saturday is your legal paid day off.  For every month you work, you get an extra day off.  Hence them saying that you get eight days.  One for each month you worked.  As you are not finishing the contract term, you are being prorated to the bare minimum.  So they're not legally doing anything wrong because they could argue that you're not finishing your contract, so you would have received those extra holidays in the remainder of your contract.  :undecided:  As mentioned I finished my contract early, had taken all my holiday during the summer and winter, so had the pro-rata problem and I contacted the Labour Board about it at the time and what they wrote was that my school had not done anything wrong.  Just like this really.  Partially finishing a contract opens up a lot of problems. 

As for part 2, that is kind of wonky.  Each contract should stand alone, especially with something like paid leave.  If you took more holidays in that contract, then once it's expired and completed, then so do the conditions.  They should have rectified that in that contract period.  They can't carry it over to another contract.  Contract law doesn't work like that. It goes from start date to end date.

Aaron, I don't want to diss your school but you are owed that severance.  I've been in a similar situation and there is nothing worse than the admin guy coming in with a page full of figures saying ' you did this and you did that' but from what you've said A:  you should get severance for being there over a year.  The holiday thing is the bare minimum.  The second question seems like they're penalising you for finishing early and invoking earlier contracts to claw back money, which I don't think is right at all!

Be wary about what they are doing here. I had the same thing and even though you've been here years, you still have to be on your toes as some admin will follow what they think is right.  So, it'll be very interesting to hear what Labour say on Monday.  But I think if you get the severance you are owed then that'll make the other thing immaterial.

In my standard public school contract, it doesn't count Saturdays as vacation time, as it specifies within the contract that we only work Mon - Fri, and that Sat / Sun are weekend, and we have to be paid overtime if we are asked to work them. :o
For 6 months, I'd expect 13 days vacation, so would expect around 15 or 16 for 8 months, TBH.


Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2020, 09:04:43 am »
In my standard public school contract, it doesn't count Saturdays as vacation time, as it specifies within the contract that we only work Mon - Fri, and that Sat / Sun are weekend, and we have to be paid overtime if we are asked to work them. :o
For 6 months, I'd expect 13 days vacation, so would expect around 15 or 16 for 8 months, TBH.

Yes, that is what it says in the contract.  But public school teachers are paid on a six-day week regardless of what it says in your contract.  If you ask your admin to work out your daily rate, it will include Saturdays.  Say, if you work on a Saturday, you're already being paid for it and then you're getting the overtime on top of that basic.  We're the same as the Korean teachers in this sense. This was explained to me when I had this issue with my school years ago.

The paid leave/vacation time in the Labour Law is quite misunderstood because they are not the same as we get back home.  Labour Law covers everyone, Koreans, native teachers and Philippine workers etc.  It is the absolute basic human rights of working here.  For every 6 days worked, you get a paid day off.  That is working a Mon-Sat and then get Sunday off.  This is the basic.  That to me is a builder or restaurant worker.  You can't force someone to work every day, so this law protects them.  If that person gets other public holidays off or is paid the overtime by law if they work them, then that is also okay.  The one day extra 'paid leave' for completing a month can be one Saturday.  So in one month, you work no Sundays, and three Saturdays, that is in line with the law.  Our public school contracts are well over what this basic is.  For the OP, he hasn't finished his contract with makes for some difficult maths but by the looks of it, they're giving him the basic, but they can argue that he's finishing early, so they would give him all the holiday if he was completing the contract. 

Out of all the OP wrote, he should get 8 months severance and for Question 2, they shouldn't be fighting holiday from previous contracts.  His question 1, is the bare bones, but legal.


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1928

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2020, 09:31:13 am »
Yes, that is what it says in the contract.  But public school teachers are paid on a six-day week regardless of what it says in your contract.  If you ask your admin to work out your daily rate, it will include Saturdays.  Say, if you work on a Saturday, you're already being paid for it and then you're getting the overtime on top of that basic.  We're the same as the Korean teachers in this sense. This was explained to me when I had this issue with my school years ago.

The paid leave/vacation time in the Labour Law is quite misunderstood because they are not the same as we get back home.  Labour Law covers everyone, Koreans, native teachers and Philippine workers etc.  It is the absolute basic human rights of working here.  For every 6 days worked, you get a paid day off.  That is working a Mon-Sat and then get Sunday off.  This is the basic.  That to me is a builder or restaurant worker.  You can't force someone to work every day, so this law protects them.  If that person gets other public holidays off or is paid the overtime by law if they work them, then that is also okay.  The one day extra 'paid leave' for completing a month can be one Saturday.  So in one month, you work no Sundays, and three Saturdays, that is in line with the law.  Our public school contracts are well over what this basic is.  For the OP, he hasn't finished his contract with makes for some difficult maths but by the looks of it, they're giving him the basic, but they can argue that he's finishing early, so they would give him all the holiday if he was completing the contract. 

Out of all the OP wrote, he should get 8 months severance and for Question 2, they shouldn't be fighting holiday from previous contracts.  His question 1, is the bare bones, but legal.

I get that, but in our contract it specifies that Saturday won't count towards vacation time.
So I think the OP should get more than 8 days vacation for 8 months of work, especially after they signed a contract that specified 26, even though it's an 8 month contract.


Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2020, 09:52:18 am »
I get that, but in our contract it specifies that Saturday won't count towards vacation time.
So I think the OP should get more than 8 days vacation for 8 months of work, especially after they signed a contract that specified 26, even though it's an 8 month contract.

Yes, but by basic Labour Law, it is a paid day off for us and is therefore a 'paid leave' day.  We are paid for not working it.  If you use 10 of your official days over two weeks (only Mon-Fri) then you are still getting paid for not working on those two Saturdays in that period.  As our contract stipulates we work a Mon-Fri week, but Saturday is always included in salary calculations. 

So, if we get 26 days (not including weekends) then that is way over the basic Labour Law requirement. As we get national holidays off too.  I agree with you about the 8 days, it's tight, but it's not wholly illegal.  When I contacted the Labour Office about my problem, they said as such and kept quoting the 'basic paid leave' clause and that how my school did it was not a problem. 


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1928

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2020, 10:07:26 am »
Yes, but by basic Labour Law, it is a paid day off for us and is therefore a 'paid leave' day.  We are paid for not working it.  If you use 10 of your official days over two weeks (only Mon-Fri) then you are still getting paid for not working on those two Saturdays in that period.  As our contract stipulates we work a Mon-Fri week, but Saturday is always included in salary calculations. 

So, if we get 26 days (not including weekends) then that is way over the basic Labour Law requirement. As we get national holidays off too.  I agree with you about the 8 days, it's tight, but it's not wholly illegal.  When I contacted the Labour Office about my problem, they said as such and kept quoting the 'basic paid leave' clause and that how my school did it was not a problem.

I understand that, but our public school contracts are going above, and that contract was what was mutually agreed upon now.
If the school can get away not following the contract, then I'd not follow something in the contract as well, maybe, not working on Wednesdays - like show up to school, but refuse to teach; or just go by was was agreed upon by signing the contract.
It's not like the school didn't know what was in the contract. They are given a copy to keep, and can even read it before we get a copy to sign - this should have been addressed before it was signed, IMO.


Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 11:47:57 am »
Thank you everyone who replied and offered advice, I spoke to the labour board today.

1. The 8 days vacation entitlement is correct, as that complies with the basics of labour law.

2. I will receive 8mths towards a severance payment, which is all fine and well.

3. Regarding the overpaid vacation days, my school can deduct these from next months salary, the alternative is they would just take it from the severance payment.

My take away from this, is for anyone accepting a contract running less than 12 months, to help their school or for what ever reason. I would have a new contract drawn up specifically regarding the period of work and how this affects vacation days and other benefits, so that everything is explicitly stated in black and white and thus avoid any unwelcome discoveries.


Re: For someone more knowledgeable about contracts than me.
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2020, 12:12:26 pm »
Thank you everyone who replied and offered advice, I spoke to the labour board today.

1. The 8 days vacation entitlement is correct, as that complies with the basics of labour law.

2. I will receive 8mths towards a severance payment, which is all fine and well.

3. Regarding the overpaid vacation days, my school can deduct these from next months salary, the alternative is they would just take it from the severance payment.

My take away from this, is for anyone accepting a contract running less than 12 months, to help their school or for what ever reason. I would have a new contract drawn up specifically regarding the period of work and how this affects vacation days and other benefits, so that everything is explicitly stated in black and white and thus avoid any unwelcome discoveries.

Good to hear Aarron.  Thought that would be the case for two out of the three.  Getting the severance would lessen the blow of all that other stuff, I suppose.