Labor Standards Act provides pseudo
protection to teachers who are employed in South Korea. The reason we say 'pseudo'
protection is because if the employer does not follow the law, there is
is almost nowhere the teacher can go to seek a remedy.
teachers who try to seek remedies via the Labor Office find that dismissal can
be swift, and the rather archaic and unfair Immigration laws mean that
a dismissed teacher has no time in which to lodge a complaint before he/she must
is common to find teachers signing contracts that clearly breach the provisions
of the Labor Law, for example, less annual leave than required by law, but who
are then denied any form of relief. The greatest majority of Labor Offenses are
found in the private education industry (hogwan industry) though complaints about
Universities and government contracts are also received.
Korean government is doing nothing to help teachers in Korea, many who suffer
from internationally unacceptable standards of contractual treatment. This is
not an area of priority for Korea.
recently teachers were forbidden from joining a union. These days some teachers
can join a Union, but the language difference results in the Union from being
able to help. From time to time, teachers talk of implementing a Union - evidence
from various Discussion Forums shows this to be a volatile topic. A further problem
is that the greater majority of teachers come to Korea for a one year contract
inly and then leave to work in Japan or Hong Kong, where conditions are on the
whole, better than Korea.
in Korea for breach of Labor Law.
Generally, where the employer breaks the Labor Law in relation to non payment
of wages, the Labor Office is of some limited help.
Legal help. Always an option but usually cost dictates the teacher is denied relief.
Legal Aid. Unless the complainant earns less than a threshold amount this is not
an option. Teachers are all above this threshold.