ESL South Korea

Severance Pay

Also known as the magical 13th check, severance pay is one of those benefits that makes the ESL package in Korea, more than beneficial.
Many people coming from Western countries will be familiar with the concept.  It’s sometimes called a ‘bonus’ and get’s paid either during Christmas season or during the month of the employer’s birthday.

In Korea, and in the case of foreign English teachers, the 13th payment is made right at the end of your contract and, along with your final month’s salary and any security deposits you might have made during the year, adds up to one big final pay check.

As expected, all contracts have clauses which bind you to certain requirements you have to meet to qualify for severance pay.  Not the least of which is successful contract completion.  You must have been employed for a minimum of 365 days (continuous) after which one months’ severance pay will be paid.

By Korean law all full-time employees, which includes foreigners, are entitled to receive retirement allowance (called “Taechikum” in Korean) of one month’s salary for each year of employment.

Wherever you apply for employment at Korea, make sure that your contract clearly states that you will receive one additional month’s salary for the completion of a one year contract.  Some employers, especially Hagwon owners, have been known to try and get out of paying severance by having naive foreigners sign an 11-month contract or by firing them before the end of their 12-month contact, usually in the 11th month.

So be super careful about working for someone with a bad history regarding severance pay.  As stated numerous times in other articles, do research about your prospective employer (especially if you’re going to be employed by a private organization like a hagwon).

The severance pay can be deposited directly into a nominated bank account without the recipient having to be present to collect it. In this case it is wise to designate an account with an international bank in Korea (like KEB), so that funds can be withdrawn from overseas.

If you paid a security deposit your final pay check might equal up to 4 months salary (12th salary + 13th salary + security deposit + airplane ticket remuneration).

Severance pay is usually paid into your normal designated bank account along with your regular salary.