ESL South Korea

Salary Deductions

Income Tax.  Depending on your school this can be anything from 3.3% – 5% of your total salary – which is muuuuch lower than most western countries, so rejoice.  If you work at a hagwon you have to pay income tax, but if you’re employed by the ministry of Education and work for EPIK, there’s a way to legally avoid paying any taxes whatsoever.
The Korean government recently established a precedent whereby foreign workers employed by certain institutions like EPIK do not have to pay tax for their first two years in Korea.  To be able to benefit from this you need to submit two documents to your employers BEFORE the start of your contract: A ‘Residency Certificate’  and a ‘Tax Clearance Certficate’ from you home country, both of which is easy enough to
obtain from your local Tax office in your country.  If you fall under this category, don’t miss out on the opportunity to save a extra few dollars/Won – get those documents.

Medical Insurance.  This is compulsory for anyone employed in Korea and your employer is legally obliged to get you Medical insurance and will usually pay 50% of the monthly bill for you.  Make sure this is included in your contract since its a pretty standard condition for foreign teachers in Korea.  What can you expect to pay?  Usually around 40,000 – 60,000 Won ($40 – $60) per month, for which you get coverage for anything from visiting the dentist to hospitalization.  If you’re married, it’s possible for you and your wife to register as a family and only pay for one person, though both gets coverage.  Very nice (this only works if you teach at the same school though).

Utility Bills.  Water, Gas and Electricity usually runs around 70,000 Won ($70) per month, sometimes more in the winter months when you use the under floor heating all the time.  These bills are usually delivered to your post-box at your apartment.  You can either give them to your employer and have him pay them on your behalf, or do it yourself at a bank.  The Bill payment system is completely electronic, automated and real quick.  Have your employer show you how to do it.

Other Bills.  These include extra perks like Cable TV, Internet and Cellphone Bills.  Almost all foreign teachers will want these luxuries since, again they’re relatively inexpensive and simplifies live in Korea.

Pension Scheme. Your employer will pay 50% of this one for you and citizens from most nationalities can claim it all back by visit a National Pension Scheme office before they depart.  Your employer should help you with this.

Housing Deposit.  This is an initial payment that some hagwon owners might request.  You can usually pay it over two or three months if you want, and if you complete your contract faithfully, you get it all back.