How to hire and pay EMPLOYEES IN

South Korea

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Before hiring

EMPLOYEES IN
South Korea

Before hiring employees in South Korea, there are a few important things you’ll need to know. Firstly, in South Korea, employees are entitled to  severance pay  of one month’s salary  for each year of employment if they have worked for at least one year.

It’s also important for employers to know that in South Korea, employees are entitled to 90 days of paid maternity leave, or 120 days in case of twins. Of this, at least 60 days (or 75 days in case of twins) is paid by the company; the remainder is paid by the government.

We know this might sound overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. A solution like Oyster eliminates the barriers for you. With Oyster, you can automate compliance across 180+ countries, easily managing HR and payroll—all in one, easy-to-use platform. 

Get an overview of what you need to know when hiring in South Korea below.

At a Glance

CURRENCY

KRW

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

KOREAN

PAYROLL FREQUENCY

MONTHLY

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

11

(based on region;
see here
)

EMPLOYER TAXES

9.96% TO 28.46%

of gross salary

13th / 14th SALARY

N/A

Good to know

  • Employers in South Korea are not required to provide paid leave for non-work-related illness. Employees generally use their annual paid leave as personal sick days.
  • There is no limit for daily overtime for employees, but the weekly overtime cannot exceed 52 hours.
  • The number of paid vacation days available to an employee depends on their length of employment: 11 days in the first year of employment, 15 in the second and third years, and thereafter an additional day for every two years of employment (capped at a maximum of 25 days).

Employment in

South Korea

Working hours and overtime

Employees in South Korea work eight hours per day, 40 hours per week. 

In South Korea, anything over 40 hours per week and eight hours per day is considered overtime, and is paid at 150% of an employee’s regular wages.

When it comes to working on holidays, employees are entitled to 150% of regular wages for eight hours of work and 200% of regular wages for more than eight hours of work.

There is no limit for daily overtime for employees, but the weekly overtime cannot exceed 52 hours.

Employment contracts
Probationary period

In South Korea, the probationary period is three months. 

Pensions
Notice period

The notice period for dismissals in South Korea is 30 days. Employers can also provide 30 days' pay in lieu of notice. 

IP protection and non-compete agreements

Non-compete agreements in South Korea must be reasonable and limited in scope. Legally enforceable agreements are usually not longer than 12 months, and must include compensation to the employee (monetary or otherwise) in exchange for the execution of the non-compete covenant.

Employment cost calculator

Holidays

01 Jan

New Year's Day

15 Aug

Liberation Day

11 to 13 Feb

Seollal

20 to 22 Sep

Chuseok

01 Mar

March 1st Movement Day

03 Oct

National Foundation Day

05 May

Children's Day

09 Oct

Hangeul Day

19 May

Buddha's Birthday

25 Dec

Christmas Day

06 Jun

Memorial Day

01 Jan

New Year's Day

11 to 13 Feb

Seollal

01 Mar

March 1st Movement Day

05 May

Children's Day

19 May

Buddha's Birthday

06 Jun

Memorial Day

15 Aug

Liberation Day

20 to 22 Sep

Chuseok

03 Oct

National Foundation Day

09 Oct

Hangeul Day

25 Dec

Christmas Day

Employer tax

An employer’s social contributions are between 9.96% and 28.46%. This includes contributions for:

  • National Pension: 4.5%
  • National Health Insurance: 3.676838%
  • Employment Insurance: 1.05% to 1.65%
  • Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance: 0.73% to 18.63%

Individual tax

In South Korea, employees pay between 6% and 42% depending on their income bracket. They also pay a social security tax of 8.97%. 

Termination of employment

In South Korea, employees are entitled to  severance pay  of one month’s salary for each year of employment if they have worked for at least one year. These severance payments apply to voluntary resignation as well as termination for cause.

Start hiring employees in

South Korea

Setting up a business entity everywhere you want to hire a new employee isn’t scalable—it takes too long and the legal fees are high. At the same time, understanding and adhering to the local labor laws and employee expectations can be complex and time consuming. And it’s hard to find reliable information on up-to-date employment information for all the countries where you’re considering hiring. Not to mention tracking down invoices and managing employee contracts over email and spreadsheets—that gets messy fast. 

We can’t afford to take risks when it comes to compliance—we need to make sure we follow the local guidelines, especially when it comes to taxes and legalities. 

With Oyster, you can manage HR and payroll, and automate compliance across 180+ countries—all in one, easy-to-use platform.

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