the National Pension Act,
a lump-sum refund may only be paid to non-Korean nationals if they are nationals
of countries with social security systems that pay corresponding contribution
refunds to Korean nationals or if provided for by an agreement. All foreigners
are eligible for a lump sum refund of Premiums paid, if they are from countries
that have 'totalization agreements' with Korea, and if the foreigner leaves Korea
or meet other eligibility requirements, (N.B. Australians do not) The United States
and Canada have negotiated totalization agreements with Korea. The U.K. has negotiated
a contribution only agreement. This means that a foreigner from the U.K. who is
employed in Korea may benefit from the elimination of dual coverage, but will
not get a lump sum refund. In Korea the refund is processed by the National Pension
Corporation, in Canada by the Human Resources Development Org', in the U.S. by
the Social Security Administration. If you submit your application in your home
country, that agency will forward it to Korea. Many teachers do apply in Korea
before leaving the country and arrange the refund as well. Countries such as New
Zealand, Australia and South Africa have not signed any agreement therefore citizens
from these countries cannot claim any refund or reciprocal payments after paying
Korean Pension tax.
I work for a university and have heard I don't get Severance Pay. Is this legal?
Are you in the National Pension Program, or a "Private Schools' Pension"
program. Most (English version) teachers contracts do not indicate.
and Pension are different. The pension programs have been in a state of flux the
past 5 years as the government tries to pull many different programs into a single
unified entity (for financial purposes, as many of the government-supported pensions
were projecting insolvency).
secondary and tertiary education institutions are allowed to provide pensions
outside of the government-supported programs (government programs mostly now unified
in the "National Pension Program" - which is roughly similar to the
US Social Security Insurance program in many respects). These private pensions
are operated by insurance agencies, very similar to company pension programs back
in North America. However, unlike in North America (so far as I know), in Koreaparticipation in a private pension program exempts the employee and employer
from the National Pension Program. But there has to be a specific law on the books
allowing that "type of employer" to offer a private pension program
- such as is the case for private secondary and tertiary (middle/high and college/university)
secondary/tertiary schools that provide pensions under the private schools pension
law are exempt from the severance pay law.
- I have three possible reasons
(1) university/colleges are politically
very powerful, many school heads are politicians, (2) long-term employees in private
pension programs will receive considerably more money under the private pension
than they would under a government-supported pension (interest accrues from day
one on both employee and employer payments, and it is available as a lump sum
at time of employment termination, though employees do not receive employer's
share prior to vesting (5 years as employee?)).
(3) from the earliest days
of education in Korea, schools have had severe economic problems - and since teachers
typically "worked" less than 45 weeks per year yet were paid for 52,
there seemed no logic in paying them for 56 weeks (the 13th month). Hence, employees
in both public and private primary/secondary/tertiary schools are exempt from
the severance pay requirements.
contract (in Korean) that states that you get severance pay, the courts would
order a school to pay. (If you can afford the lawyers fees!) There are several
recent instances of this. However, English
versions of contracts are often
poorly translated, and are NOT legally binding.
Private language school "Hagwons" are not part of this exemption (one
could argue that most expats in Korea work in "language centers" that
aren't really any different from private profit-oriented language schools)
Some univ/college do pay severance pay, because (a) they don't put their expat
and part-time Korean teachers in the private pension, but pay the National Pension
Program because of less
paperwork headaches (b) they consider it unlikely
that the expats will ever vest in the private pension, and therefore not receive
employer's share (I don't know if they get their employer's share back from the
insurance agency, and don't care to consider all the possible official and unofficial
issues that question might raise).
ask the school whether you are in the National Pension Program (gukmin yeon-geum)
or the Private Schools' Pension (sarib hakgyo yeon-geum). And ask someone to read
the Korean version of your contract to see if it mentions severance pay (dwaechi-geum).
to Rob Dickey JD for this.
to Korean Index list