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South Korea Leave Laws

laws

Holidays

The government mandates only one paid holiday: Labor Day. From 1st January 2020, employers with at least 300 employees are required to provide additional public holidays for their employees. The holidays and national holidays are also applied to paid workers in private workplaces so that all employees can enjoy the holidays fairly. South Korea has three categories of Public holidays:

National celebration days are also flag raising days and are considered as public days off.

National celebration days and National flag raising days:

  • Independence Movement Day – 1st March
  • Constitution Day – 17th July (It is not considered as a day off) 
  • Liberation Day – 15th August
  • National Foundation Day – 3rd October
  • Hangul Day – 9th October

Public days off

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Lunar New Year – 1st day of 1st lunar month – three days off
  • Children’s Day – 5th May
  • Buddha’s Birthday – 8th day of the 4th lunar month
  • Memorial Day – 6th June
  • Chuseok – 15th day of the 8th lunar month – three days off
  • Christmas – 25th December

An employer is required to provide an employee on the average with one or more paid holiday per week. An employer is required to additionally pay fifty percent or more of the ordinary wages to an employee who works during the holidays.

Accruals

PTO (Paid Time Off)

  • Vacation / Annual Paid Leave

An employer is required to provide 15 days’ paid leave to an employee who has registered not less than 80 percent of attendance during one year. <Amended by Act No. 11270, Feb. 1, 2012> The following periods are also considered periods of attendance:

  • A period during which an employee is unable to work due to occupational injuries or diseases;
  • A period during which a pregnant woman does not work on leave.
  • A period during which an employee takes time off on child-care leave.

An employer is required to provide one day’s paid leave per month to an employee who has worked consecutively for less than one year or registered less than 80 percent of attendance during one year, if the worker has offered work without an absence throughout a month. <Amended by Act No. 11270, Feb. 1, 2012>

After the first year of service, an employer is required to provide one day’s paid leave for each two years of consecutive service in addition to the 15 days’ paid leave to an employee who has worked consecutively for 3 years or more. In such cases, the total number of leave days including the additional leave shall not exceed 25.

Rollovers and payout of unused hours

  • Use-it-or-lose-it policy

Within the first 10 days of the six months before unused vacation is to be forfeited. An employer is required to notify each worker of the number of his/her unused vacation days and urge them in writing to decide when they would use the leave and to inform the employer of the decided leave period.

  • PTO payout at the termination

The employer has no obligation to compensate the employee for the unused vacation.

Maternity Leave, Miscarriage or Stillbirth Leave, Parental Examination Leave, Nursing Hours, Paternity Leave, Child Care Leave

Maternity Leave

A pregnant employee is entitled to 90 days of maternity leave or 120 days in cases of a pregnancy with more than one child, before and after the childbirth. In such case, 45 days or 60 days in cases of a pregnancy with more than one child or more will be granted after the childbirth.

If an employee requests maternity leave for any reason such as miscarriage or stillbirth, the employer is required to allow the employee to split up leave and take a part of it any time before the childbirth. In such case, the leave period after the childbirth shall be 45 consecutive days or 60 days in cases of a pregnancy with more than one child or longer.

Employers are required to pay the first 60 days of leave or 75 days in cases of a pregnancy with more than one child.

Employers are not allowed to put a pregnant employee on an overtime duty. Employees are entitled to their previous positions, working benefits and wages on their return from the leave. If an employee who is less than 12 weeks or more than 36 weeks pregnant makes a request to reduce her working hours by two hours a day, the employer must allow her to do so.

Miscarriage or Stillbirth Leave

At the request of a pregnant female employee who has a miscarriage or stillbirth, the employer is required to provide her miscarriage or stillbirth leave as prescribed by the Presidential Decree, except where the miscarriage is caused by an artificially induced abortion operation.

Parental Examination Leave

A pregnant employee is entitled to take time off from work to receive a regular health checkup for pregnant women.

Nursing Hours

A female employee who has an infant under twelve months is allowed to take paid nursing recesses, twice per day for more than 30 minutes each.

Paternity Leave

The employers are required to guarantee 10 days of paid paternity leave. Additionally, employees can make the request to use paternity leave within 90 days after the delivery date. In addition, the new law allows a male worker to divide the leave period and take it on two separate occasions. Act on Equal Employment and Support for Work-Family Reconciliation, No. 3,989 of 1987 (as amended), arts. 18-19.

Child Care Leave

Employees who have a child aged not more than 8 years or in the 2nd or lower grade of an elementary school are eligible for one year of child care leave paid by the Employment Insurance Fund at 40 percent of normal wage.

Sick Leave, Leave due to Occupational Injury or Disease and Family Care Leave

Sick Leave

The employees are entitled to sick leave, but the benefits vary depending on the company and its policy.

Leave due to Occupational Injury or Disease  

The employer is required to provide an employee with leave due to an occupational injury or disease. The employer must provide necessary medical treatment at his own expense or bear corresponding expenses for an employee who suffers from an occupational injury or disease. The employer must provide an employee with compensation for suspension of work in an amount equivalent to 60/100 of the average wages during the period of medical treatment. The employees are covered by a national insurance plan.

The employer is not required to provide compensation for the employee who suffers from an occupational injury or disease due to his own gross negligence.

Family Care Leave

Employees are entitled to maximum 90 days per year of family care leave to in order to take care for a close family member with a medical condition due to a disease, accident, or senility. Leave can be used in smaller portions of time in several occasions.

Jury Duty Leave

Not specified by South Korean law.

Bereavement Leave

  • Not specified by South Korean law.

Voting Leave

Employers are required to provide employees with time to perform their duties regarding voting.

Military Leave

Employers may not penalize employees for work missed due to military obligations.