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Hagwon ignoring my resignation letter and several questions
« on: January 03, 2013, 02:50:51 pm »
Last month on the 18th I put in a resignation letter which listed several contract breaches as the reason for my wanting to leave. Primarily it was after I realized that my pension had not been paid into for several months. I had a talk with my boss and she insisted that it was only "Korean culture" that it was paid late and that she would pay it as soon as possible and everything will be fine. Everything else that I had listed was not addressed. I have sent in a new request to the pension office to see if it has been paid, but as of yet my boss has not brought anything up. She did say that if I left early I would have to pay back my flight to Korea, which is stated in the contract, but I told her that it was her that broke the contract so I shouldn't have to pay.

I have been looking for a new job for about six months, nearly leaving this one twice. Well, I finally found one but the start date is March and my contract here is not up until April. I have told the new employer my situation and she told me to try and get a letter of release or start new paperwork again.

I need advice and some questions answered.

1. How can I collect my pension with my contract not completed?
2. Can my boss withhold my pay from my last paycheck for the flight here?
3. Should I just do a "midnight run" and sort all my paperwork out and come back?
4. Should I contact the labor board?
5. Will quitting this job without a letter of release affect getting a new Visa for March?
6. My girlfriend quit her job and was able to get on a D10 visa but she had a LoR, is that an option in this case?

I have already booked my tickets to the Philippines for the day after my next payday. I felt like I gave my boss plenty of options and time, even telling her that I would be willing to stay 45 days if it would help her have time to find a replacement. She was very aggressive with me during our talk and so I have given up hope on any sort of one on one talks.

My plan up until reading on another thread that my pension needs to be closed or my contract finished to collect, was to leave a note with my recruiter (who was no help at all in resolving this) stating that I had left as my resignation had stated and hope to collect my pension before leaving.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 03:38:33 pm by jmanthing »


  • sheila
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 1480

    • November 23, 2009, 08:32:58 am
    • Gangnamgu, Seoul
Re: Hagwon ignoring my resignation letter and several questions
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 03:19:57 pm »
1. You can not collect your pension when you're going to be starting a new position in Korea right afterward. If you mean severance, she would not have to pay it since in almost every contract that I've seen, it clearly states that without finishing the full contract, the company, school, hagwon, or whatever are under no obligation to pay you any severance money, even pro-rated unless you have that specifically written into your contract.
2. Same thing for your flight as above... you're not completing your contract which is the stipulation for getting flight money. Even though you are saying 'she broke the contract', you're the one who actually put in your resignation so officially you would be the one breaking the contract. She may be in violation of the contract which you had agreed upon but she didn't break it.
3. I would not advise you doing a midnight run since that's going to greatly impact your credibility with any employers in your future in Korea. Even the one that you've got a hold on right now might give you the big old f'u when they find out you've left without fulfilling a contractual obligation to giving notice and staying a certain amount of time before quiting.
4. I would contact the labor board in relation to your pension. You could also have the pension office call your hagwon and find out what is going on.  Usually when they get an official call about missing money, the ball gets rolling pretty quickly. If there are other issues with your contract or workplace which are worthwhile for the labor board to listen to and you think you have a good case, go ahead and contact them... or even find some legal help.

*Contacting your recruiter in this case will do absolutely no good. You've been there for 10 months... they usually get paid when you get there and at the three or six month mark. After that, you're on your own basically.
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Re: Hagwon ignoring my resignation letter and several questions
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 05:50:26 pm »
Thank you for your response. I am referring to pension and not severance. I know that I am not completing. It does say in the contract that if I leave that I will have to pay back the cost of my flight to Korea. I am going to be leaving Korea for a month to travel so I think that will be fine to collect the pension. I just need to know if I can collect it without a release letter.

I have spoken to my future employer about the situation, she is american and has advised me to contact the labor board and the immigration office, but that whatever happens I have been offered the job.

I honestly just want out of this job with the pay for the days I have worked and with my pension. I am just concerned about getting another visa if my boss decides to not work with me at all. I guess regardless of anything I will be contacting the labor board next week.

My main concern is, can I get my pension without completing my contract if my boss doesnt cooperate and I end up leaving without a LoR?
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 06:18:19 pm by jmanthing »


Re: Hagwon ignoring my resignation letter and several questions
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 10:27:16 pm »
Thank you for your detailed response. There has been a lot of different information that I have read online and I was starting to panic. I am planning on taking a month off and have already booked my flight for after what would be my next payday.

I told my boss that even if they did pay into my pension that I still want out of the contract and that is what they seem to be ignoring.

I was hoping that I could get paid, cancel my visa and collect my pension all without my boss becoming wiser, but I do not have any documentation that I have paid into the pension. I don't really have any documentation at all.

I am light on funds at the moment and am living in an apartment provided by my boss. My new job doesnt start til the first part of March, so I am trying to find some balance between tolerating this job and the time I'll be without a place to live.

Would you recommend getting some kind of documentation that I have been paying into the pension before contacting the labor board? I have already made arrangements to have my things moved to a friend's place asap.

*Mostly I am worried that if I bring in the LB that my boss will withhold from my last paycheck the cost of my flight to Korea. Which is why I am considering the midnight run.

So thats the big question, get my new FBI check for a new visa then take the money and run, or LB...
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 12:32:23 am by jmanthing »


Re: Hagwon ignoring my resignation letter and several questions
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 05:15:39 pm »
These are the reasons that I included on my resignation letter.

•   Training was not provided as is stated in Clause 9, section B
•   I was not provided a TV or telephone in my apartment. Clause 12, section B
•   I was not provided Medical Insurance for my first three months of employment. I was simply told that it should be here “soon”. Because of this I had to pay for my first medical visit in full which was expensive as I had a serious infection.  Clause 10, section A
•   My director attempted to have me pay for my sick days. It is explicitly stated in my contract that I have three sick days. I had to go home and bring my contract back. This is very unprofessional. Clause 11, Section B
•   My director attempted to changed vacation days after several employees had purchased tickets. Clause 11, Section A (the korean teachers were the ones to get her to change it back)
•   I was made to sign a warning letter that contained many false claims such as that I am not prepared or kind to the other teachers or students. I objected to signing but was told to anyway. I have a unique activity planned for every one of my classes each day. I have over 300 worksheets and activities that I regularly use. Moreover, I am always dressed professionally and treat others courteously. Also, I have never been invited to any of the weekly meetings.
•   Most importantly, I recently checked my pension fund and discovered that only two months have been paid into it.


Those are just the main reasons. Really though the lady is a nightmare. She comes by nearly daily to tell me that my face is either ugly or scary or that I look sick, she finds the most ridiculous reasons to have me redo work. I nearly left for an EPIK position three months ago but they were not going to give me a signing bonus so I passed on it.

None of these things alone are enough to make me want to quit, but the pension not being paid into just sent me over the top. So I applied with my girlfriend to a couples position at a really nice place and got it, otherwise I would ride it out til April.

I haven't received an email back from the Pension office reporting what has been paid yet, so I don't know if my boss has actually corrected herself. I guess I should have just contacted the LB instead of putting in my 30 days. The thing is that she hasn't mentioned anything about it or any of the other reasons that I brought up for wanting to get out of my contract.

Perhaps my only option now to get out with my money is to do the midnight run but I need to know what I need to take with me to the airport to cash out. I feel bad because I thought that I would be giving me boss an opportunity to find a replacement and she would see that this option is actually cheaper for her than paying me my completion and flight home but I was wrong.

I am getting my paperwork sorted now for another FBI check. I was told I don't need another apostilled diploma or transcript.

So will I be able to get my pension and cancel my Visa if I do the run or do you recommend I still contact the labor board? My payday is the 5th of February and the flights for the 6th.


Re: Hagwon ignoring my resignation letter and several questions
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 07:22:44 am »
Unless you've told her the specific date you're leaving... aka im leaving right after pay day.......
a midnight run is still an option.   She might have your resignation letter, but how can she physically stop you from leaving?  Sure she might report you to immigration, but what would come of that??

I worked for a very similar boss in a satellite city of Seoul..  A lot of what you describe with your boss happened to me too.. like being told to sign papers acknowledging my supposed guilt, pension issues etc. 

HOWEVER, it was worth it - financially et al... just to hold out to the end of my contract.
You've made your choice it appears.. but I would have stayed until the end of the contract both for the severance pay, and because it's easier to take your director to court and win if you've worked there for the full year - call it holding the moral high ground.  The pension payments are a matter of law, but as has been said before, the other incidental stuff is kind of murky.  Best to ask someone who is Korean / government official.  I know I lost a ton of money because it came down to my word against theirs.     

Echo the previous comments - best not to work for the gf's boss - if they go under.. you're both screwed.  But if you need a job, best doesnt matter.