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  • Sarah27
  • Newgookin

    • 1

    • September 08, 2021, 02:20:15 am
    • United States
First time contract review help
« on: September 08, 2021, 02:32:57 am »
Hello! This is my first contract that I am looking at for a job I am considering accepting South Korea. This seems like a good option, but I'm not sure yet.

     Side information: The director of this school said she'd buy a Queen size bed for my husband and I (my husband us a dependent). She is also allowing our two small dogs as well. It has been very difficult for me to find a job with a dependent and two dogs. This is in a rural area, and though we do not want to live in a place like Seoul, the population is under 100,000, which we are very nervous about as this is our first time abroad. I am not sure if I can find a job so accomidating or that at least accepts my dependent and dogs, in a bigger city (anything 500,000+ is preferred). I've looked for about a month and I'm willing to wait for a good opportunity in a bigger city, but I'm unsure of how likely I can find a job that will help as much. If this is a good contract, should I just take it and go to the city once a month or so?

     Also, teaching hours are 2:30 pm-8:50 pm with one break in the middle. Should this be something I should ask they include? Please let me know if anything seems alarming. Thank you so much for your help.


1. This contract will be valid for a period of 12 months beginning on January 2nd, 2022, and ending January 1st, 2023.


The employee will act in an appropriately professional manner and be responsible for conducting professional English language classes.

The employee will be required to teach from Monday through to Friday (no Saturdays or Sundays), a total of approx. 30 hours per week. The employee is required to come to work by 20 minutes before the first class.

The teacher’ work will include the following:

3-1. Teaching English

3-2. Development of educational programs and materials

3-3. Grading assessment of students

3-4. Student counseling or evaluation

3-5. Checking students’ homework and diaries.

3-6. Attending at teacher’s meetings, workshops and parents’ meetings



The employer will pay a monthly salary of 2.1 million Won, for regularly scheduled hours. The employer will pay the employee’s income tax and it will be deducted from the employee’s monthly salary. Pay day is 1st of every month. 

The employer may ask the employee to work over time (the employee has an option to refuse and will not be forced). If the employee chooses to do overtime, the employer will pay for the overtime at the rate of 20,000 Won.


The employer will provide the employee with single accommodation in a safe environment with certain furniture items (bed, refrigerator, a gas stove, a washer, and a TV, table, chairs, eating and cooking utensils).

The employee agrees to pay 600,000 won as a deposit. This deposit is to cover unpaid monthly service, utility, and the things damaged by the employee. Employer agrees that deposit will be returned in full to the employee in the event of no outstanding charges. The employer will deduct 200,000 won per month for the first 3 months where the employee makes their total salary (i.e. a full month’s work).



3-1.  Employee will purchase an economy class ticket from the point of hire for passage on a regularly scheduled airline to Korea. The air ticket must be confirmed with the employer in advance of the payment. For the reimbursement procedure, the employee must submit an accredited receipt and flight itinerary to the employer. The employer will reimburse the airfare to the employee in Korean Won to Korean bank after the result of medical check comes out. After the successful completion of the 1 year contract, a return ticket back to the teacher’s home country or any other destination that has been agreed upon between the employer and employee will be provided by the employer.


4-1.  The employer will be covered by medical benefits under the Korean Medical Insurance Union, a Government Health Organization. The cost of coverage will be borne half by employer and half by employee. Payment will be made by monthly deduction from employee’s salary.


5-1.  On completion of the one(1) year contract term, the employee shall receive a severance pay whose amount is equivalent to his/her one(1) month’s salary. The payment shall be made on the last day of the one-year term.


6-1.  The employee will receive 10-working days (including school’s regularly scheduled vacation period) as paid vacation per year.

      The exact date will be set and will be in accordance with the schedule of the school’s working schedule.

6-2  Vacation requests should be submitted 30 days in advance, where possible.

6-3 The employee will be paid for all Korean national holidays and not be expected to work during these days.

6-4  The employee will be paid for all national holidays, and not expected to work in compensation, unless the total number of work days falls below 20 in a calendar month.


7-1.  The employee is allotted three days’ absence per year due to illness, subject to written verification by a doctor.

7-2  Additional days of absence will be counted against remaining vacation or result in prorated payment of salary.


8-1 The employee is expected to dress neatly and appropriately for class and may be requested to conform to the necessary dress code that is to be decided upon by the employer.



The employee must give the employer a written 45-day notice before renewal or non-renewal of the employee’s current contract.

Both the employer and the employee reserve the option to renew the contract.

In the event of that employee continues employment under a subsequent employment agreement with the employer, the return air ticket will be provided at the time of completion of the subsequent contract period(s).


2-1.    The employer retains the right to terminate the contract immediately if:

Both parties agree the employee is unable to discharge the responsibilities or meet the conditions of employment set out herein.

The employee uses illegal drugs or is intoxicated during work hours.

The employee participates in any type of criminal activity or corruption of public morals, which violates the laws of the Republic of South Korea.

The employee’s documents turn out to be false.

2-2.    The employer retains the right to terminate the contract if the employee is late for class on a continuous basis, continuous failure to keep regularly scheduled class hours and repeated absences from classes without a valid reason.


2-3.    If, for any reason, the contract is terminated before the full completion of

the contract period, the employee and the employer must give 45 days notice in writing.  If the employee should voluntarily resign or the contract is terminated because of the misconduct of the employee the following benefits will not be provided. 

The employee will not qualify for benefits such as severance pay and the return airfare.

The employee must reimburse the initial airfare cost back to the employer (if the employee leaves before 6 months)

If the contract is terminated due to the circumstances of the school or the negligence of the employer, such as flagrant disregard of Korean Labour and other laws, severance pay will be provided proportionately, calculated based on 1/12 of the days of completed employment and the return airline ticket will also be provided.

Re: First time contract review help
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2021, 04:12:11 pm »
The contract looks pretty good.
Just a couple of thoughts:

# Class times not mentioned
# Airfare reimbursement only after medical-sounds like you won't get your money back if you fail the medical.
# 45 days notice-I think labor law is 30 days.
# 600,000 won being withheld stinks a bit. Try to get it down to 300,000 won, and take detailed photos of your housing when you arrive.
# Check to see if any 'extra work' like workshops fall on weekends and are they paid.

I'm not a contract expert. Maybe someone else will have a better idea of ok or not.


# No mention of pension contributions (50/50).
# No mention of any re-signing bonuses.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 05:32:22 pm by Kurt Sorensen »

Re: First time contract review help
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2021, 05:30:22 pm »
My main concern about this contract is the health insurance listed (it doesn't seem like it's NHI), and the fact that pension is not mentioned anywhere.

If you're working under an E2 visa, both pension and NHI payments are required by law, and they're tied together so that you can't avoid paying one without paying for the other. The way it works is a certain amount of money is deducted from an employee's pay each month, and the employer is required to match it. So if 50K won is deducted for payment into the pension/NHI scheme, then the employer must also pay 50K won so that a total of 100K is paid. This is non-negotiable.

So what many unscrupulous hagwon owners will do is list their E2 visa employees as independent contractors (IC) in order to avoid these required payments (as well as to avoid additional taxes)... which is illegal.

And what inevitably happens later is the E2 employees will then find themselves owing money for unpaid pension/NHI by the end of their contracts, payments that were supposed to be paid for by their employers. And a year's worth in missed pension/NHI payments is quite hefty.

Seeing a 3% tax rate listed in a contract is usually a smoking gun for this because 3% is the tax rate for ICs, but this contract doesn't even list the tax rate at all. This is another red flag.

So first things first, this employer needs to amend this contract to reflect that he or she will register you properly and not as an IC. Pension/NHI should be mentioned.

As an additional note, there is a possibility that alternative insurance can be offered in lieu of NHI as long as it has equivalent or better coverage, but I cannot confirm. As far as I know, this option is only available to ICs, which is, again, illegal for an E2 to be registered as in Korea, and it will end up costing you heavily later if that's what your employer ends up doing. Pension must also be paid, regardless, and your employer is absolutely required to match those payments. So if he or she says anything about not being responsible for it, or tries to negotiate so that you pay into it fully on your own, it's immediately time to pass.

Same for if the employer is unwilling (or claims to be unable) to amend the contract. And if they do amend the contract and you choose to accept and sign it, you need to check with the pension/NHI office later to make sure you're actually registered properly and not as an IC, and that the employer is actually making the payments. Because if he or she doesn't do any of the above, you'll bear full responsibility for it, and you'll have to file a case with the labor board against the employer after the fact in order to get compensated for it later.

I also consider the required deposit a more minor red flag. It's unnecessary. Many dishonest hagwon owners will pocket that money and justify it later by falsely claiming damages. You can try to protect yourself from this by taking pictures before you move in and after you move out, and by also placing any utility bills in your name, but it's still trouble best avoided.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 09:07:27 pm by Chinguetti »

Re: First time contract review help
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2021, 05:36:23 pm »
Sorry Chinguetti. I was editing the pension stuff  that I had forgotten to mention, when you posted.

Re: First time contract review help
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2021, 05:39:16 pm »
Haha, you've got nothing to apologize for.

I was going to type a wall of text anyway because OP said she was new and this was her first contract, so I wanted to be detailed about why no mention of pension is such a big problem.

Re: First time contract review help
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2021, 07:38:25 am »
The employer will deduct 200,000 won per month for the first 3 months where the employee makes their total salary (i.e. a full month’s work).

While this is a little steep, it is not unreasonable or illegal I believe... When I got here my public school also took out a 600,000 deposit over the course of 3 months.
Then after 1 year, it was returned to me in full in one lump sum.

  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 4057

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: First time contract review help
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2021, 08:12:26 am »
First of all, the salary sucks.  Korean minimum wage full time will be just over 1.9 million won a month.  Secondly, you shouldn't have to pay any deposit since he is already keeping a lot of money by paying you so low.  Oh, I just saw you have a dependent?  The salary will be rough.  I know some folks married though also with one child making over 3 million (one person working) working for rural EPIK and they are struggling.  I mean it's still okay for one person at that salary range for now.  But 2.1 million for two people?  Expect to be broke.  If you are doing it for a gap year till China or Vietnam open up, so be it.  But the pay in relation to the living cost here sucks no matter what the feel good YouTube videos say.  Come for a year if you must, but have it in the back of your mind to exit after the year and have a plan to country hop.  Trust me on that.  Cost of living is high here compared to some other Asian countries.  But Korea is easier to get into with covid restrictions for now.  Just make sure the employer at least agrees to pay your quarantine costs.  If they don't, just stay home.  Honestly, laying out a couple thousand dollars for that is just adding insult to injury and a sign your employer will be nickle and diming you.  (You can already see evidence of that by asking for a deposit and paying only 2.1 million won a month.)

One other note, get the Queen size bed written into the contract.  Otherwise a verbal promise will conveniently be forgotten once you get here.  A lot of hogwon owners are trashbags.  (Of course many others are nice.)