South Korea


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  • Health Insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Pension
  • Worker Compensation Insurance
Payroll Frequency
Employer Taxes
16.34% - 34.84%


South Korean Won (KRW)
Date format



Employer Payroll Contributions

4.50% National Pension (taxable monthly income capped at 5,030,000.00 KRW)
3.83% National Health Insurance (monthly contribution capped at 7,047,900.00 KRW)
1.05% – 1.65% Employment Insurance
5.76% Long term care insurance (monthly contribution capped at 345,600 KRW)
0.70%-18.60% Worker Accident Compensation Insurance (rate is dependent on the type of business)
0.50% Resident Tax
16.34% – 34.84% Total Employment Cost

Employee Payroll Contributions

4.50% National Pension (taxable monthly income capped at 5,030,000.00 KRW)
3.825% National Health Insurance (monthly contribution capped at 7,047,900.00 KRW)
6.86% Long term care insurance (monthly contribution capped at 345,600 KRW)
0.80% Employment Insurance
15.99% Total
Income Taxes

Minimum Wage


The National Minimum Wage in South Korea is 8,720 KRW per hour.


Payroll Cycle

The payroll cycle in South Korea is generally monthly, and payments are usually made on the last working day.

13th Salary

There is no legislation for 13th-month payments in South Korea.

Working Hours


Standard working hours within South Korea are 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, up to a maximum number of 52 working hours per week.


All hours exceeding the standard 40 hours are paid as overtime and are regulated by employment contract/collective agreements. In general, overtime is paid at 150.00% of the standard salary rate, increasing to 200.00% for night work (after 10 pm). There is a maximum total number of overtime hours per week of 12 hours.

Leave & Public Holidays

Paid Time Off

Paid leave in South Korea is outlined in the employment contract as a minimum of 11 days paid leave a year, following completion of 1-year service, in addition to public holidays. This leave increases to 15 days paid leave when the employee is in the second and third years of service. From the third year and onwards, one additional day of paid leave is added to the entitlement upon completion of every two years of service up to a maximum of 25 days paid leave.

Public Holidays

There are 12 public holidays.

Sick Days

There are no statutory sick leave entitlements in South Korea.

Maternity / Paternity Leave

Maternity Leave

All female employees are eligible for maternity benefits, consisting of 90 days paid leave, increasing to 120 days for multiple/complicated births. The maternity leave is generally taken 45 days before the due date and 45 days after.

The maternity payment is made by a combination of social security/governmental payments and employer payments. For larger companies in South Korea, the employer should pay the maternity pay at 100.00% of the regular salary rate for the first 60 days. After which, the social security/government will provide support allowance for the remaining 30 days (capped 2 million KRW per 30 days) and with the employer having the option to provide the sum of money for any difference to the employee’s regular salary rate. For small companies, the social security/government supports the employer throughout the 90 days.

Paternity Leave

The father is entitled to mandatory paid paternity leave of a total of 10 days, five paid by the employer and five days paid by the social security/government, from the date that the child is born up to 90 days.

Parental Leave

Parents of children under the age of eight can request a period of full-time or part-time childcare leave of up to one year. A request for leave should be sent to the employer at least 30 days before the start of the leave period, with an allowance paid by the social security/government.

Other Leave

For any Work-related injury, employees are entitled to receive three months of paid leave with 70.00% of the employee’s regular salary.


Termination Process

The termination process is standard in South Korea and is usually based on two main reasons for termination. There is a requirement for the employer to prove a “justifiable reason to terminate” and that this reason is legally acceptable, as depicted within the Korean Labour Standards Act. Also, when laying off an Employee in Korea, the employer must prove that an “urgent managerial necessity exists” before an employee is laid off.

Notice Period

According to South Korean General labor law, there is no mandatory notice period unless stipulated by your employment contract /company manual. However, it is common practice to provide one month’s notice.

Severance Pay

In South Korea, severance pay is mandatory if applicable, but the amount differs based on the length of service, one-month regular salary pay for every year of service completed.

The employer must make this final payment within 14 days of the termination.

Probation Period

Probation periods in South Korea for permanent employees are generally between 1 and 3 months. It is rare for employers to terminate a contract once the probation/training has been completed since the company must pay unemployment.



Any foreigners coming to work in South Korea will need to be registered with the local immigration authorities within the first three months of their stay. The type of work permit and employment visa differs by the role in which the employee will be undertaking. To allow an employee to stay in South Korea for more than 90 days, the appropriate visa needs to be sought:

  • E-1 Professor Visa is aimed at foreigners to deliver lectures or do research in their field; it is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.
  • E-2 Foreign Language Instructor is aimed at foreigners who wish to teach a foreign language at a company/school/education infrastructure. It is valid for two years and can be renewed every two years.
  • E-3 Research is aimed at foreigners that a public or private institution invites to research natural science or advanced technology; it is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.
  • E-4 Technological Guidance is aimed at foreigners that a public or private institution invites to provide expertise in natural science or high technology; it is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.
  • E-5 Special Profession is aimed at foreigners that are Architects, lawyers, physicians, accountants, and other internationally licensed professionals and hold Korean government permission to practice their field of expertise is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.
  • E-6 Culture and Art are aimed at foreigners that participate in musical, artistic, and literary activities; it is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.
  • E-7 Specially Designed Activities are aimed at foreigners invited to participate in activities designed by the Korean Ministry of Justice through a public or private organization. It is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.
  • D-5 Long-Term New Coverage is aimed at reporters working for foreign media (broadcast, newspapers, magazines, etc.). The single-entry visa is valid for three months and can be renewed in one-year intervals.
    Alien Registration Card (ARC) Most people that are staying in South Korea for more than six months also need to obtain their Alien Registration Card (ARC).



The standard rate of VAT in South Korea is 13.00%

Date of Updates
January 1, 2021


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