Hire employees and contractors in South Korea

Remote’s guide to employing in South Korea.

  • Capital city

    Seoul

  • Currency

    South Korean won
    (, KRW)

  • Population size

    51,709,098
    (est. 2019)

  • Languages spoken

    Korean

  • Availability

    Remote-Owned Entity in 2022

    We own our own entity in the countries where we operate to shield your company from risk and provide you and your employees with the signature Remote experience.

Facts & Stats

South Korea is one of Asia’s most technologically advanced nations with the modern metropolis of Seoul anchoring a strong culture of innovation and excellence. Employers looking for talent in the manufacturing, professional services, and tech sectors will find a haven of qualified South Koreans. 

Many of the country's workers have experience working with large multinational companies and after the pandemic, flexible working and work from home business models have been rapidly normalized. Traditionally, South Korean business culture rewarded long hours in the office. A combination of younger people entering the workforce and the success of the post-pandemic work from home transition has led to a greater focus on life-work balance.

As the world’s tenth largest economy, South Korea enjoys the 7th highest human development index in Asia, an advanced democracy with extensive press freedoms, the world’s fastest internet speeds, delicious and unique cuisine, and of course, a vibrant entertainment industry that has given us the exceptional delights of K-Pop.

Map of South Korea
  • Capital city

    Seoul

  • Currency

    South Korean won
    (, KRW)

  • Languages spoken

    Korean

  • Population size

    51,709,098 (est. 2019)

  • Ease of doing business

    Very easy

  • Cost of living index

    81.20 (2021)

  • Payroll frequency

    Monthly

  • VAT - standard rate

    10%

  • GDP - real growth rate

    2.0 (2019)

Grow your team in South Korea with Remote

To employ in South Korea, companies must own a local legal entity in the country or work with an employer of record like Remote. Managing payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance in South Korea can get complicated, especially without established local relationships. 

Remote’s global employment solution makes it easy for your company to employ workers in South Korea quickly, efficiently, and in full compliance with all applicable labor laws. We take on the responsibility and legal risks of international employment so you can focus on hiring great talent and growing your business.

Risks
of misclassification

South Korea, like many other countries, treats self-employed individuals or contractors and full-time workers differently and there are risks associated with misclassification.

Employing in South Korea

South Korea’s Labor Standards Act of 2005 spells out provisions for employee protections and workers’ rights for its workforce of 28.3 million. Employees in South Korea enjoy protections against discrimination based on age, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, and race.

Common questions that could come up during the hiring process include minimum wage, overtime rates, and guaranteed paid time off. Remote can help you offer a complete, competitive, and compliant benefits package to your employees in South Korea.

Public holidays

Below are national public holidays applicable for all regions in this country. Remote customers have access to a detailed list of regional public holidays within the Remote platform. Sign up now to access all public holiday information.

Minimum Wage

In South Korea, the minimum wage is reviewed annually and is currently fixed at ₩8,720 Won ($7.63) or 1,822,480 won ($1,594.21) per month.

Payroll Cycle

Wages are paid out on a monthly basis, either on the 25th or the last day of the month.

Onboarding Time

We can help you get a new employee started in South Korea fast. The minimum onboarding time we need is only 20 working days.

Our team ensures your employees are onboarded and paid as quickly as possible while keeping your business compliant with all local employment legislation. The minimum onboarding time begins after the employee submits all required information onto the Remote platform. The onboarding timeline is also dependent upon registration with local authorities.

For all non-nationals of the country of employment, the Right to Work assessment (if applicable) will add three extra days to the total time to onboard. There may be extra time required if we need to follow-up on the right to work assessment.

Please note, payroll cut-off dates can impact the actual first day of employment. Remote has a payroll cut-off date of the 10th of the month unless otherwise specified.

Competitive benefits package in South Korea

Remote supports our clients by offering competitive benefits packages that will help you attract and retain the best talent across the globe! Our benefits specialists have done the research on norms and requirements in each local market and have crafted packages that will allow your employees to thrive, no matter what country they live in. 

Our benefits packages in South Korea are tailored to fulfill the local needs of your employees. Typically, our packages contain some or all of the following benefits:

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Mental Health Support
  • Pension or 401(K)
  • Life and Disability Insurance

Calculate the cost to hire an employee
in South Korea

Taxes in South Korea

Learn how employment taxes affect your payroll and your employees’ paychecks in South Korea.

  • Employer

    • 4.5% - National pension contribution

    • 3.43% - National Health Insurance contribution

    • 1.05% - 1.65% - Employment insurance

    • 0.70% to 1.90% - Worker Accident Compensation Insurance

    • 0.5%- Resident tax

  • Employee

    • 4.5% - National Pension contribution

    • 3.43% - National Health Insurance

    • 0.80% - Employment Insurance

  • Income tax rates

    • Up to 12 million KRW - 6.6% (including 10% local residence tax)

    • 12 million - 46 million KRW - 16.% (including 10% local residence tax)

    • 46 million - 88 million KRW - 26.4% (including 10% local residence tax)

    • 88 million - 150 million KRW - 38.5% (including 10% local residence tax)

    • 150 million - 300 million KRW - 41.8% (including 10% local residence tax)

    • 300 million - 500 million KRW - 44% (including 10% local residence tax)

    • 500 million - 1 billion KRW - 46.2% (including 10% local residence tax)

    • 1 billion and up - 49.5% (including 10% local residence tax)

Types of leave

Paid time off

 Employees who have worked eighty percent (80%) or more of one work year (twelve months) from the commencement of work. Employees who have worked for a month (every thirty (30) days from the commencement of work) but who have continuously worked for less than one year or who has worked less than 80% of one year.

Public holidays

There are 12 paid public holidays in South Korea.

Sick leave

Employers are not obligated to provide time off for non-work-related illnesses but are generally required to provide paid time off if employees fall ill or sustain injuries while on the job and can recover any sick pay made from the government industrial accident insurance fund.

Maternity leave

Female employees are entitled to 90 days of maternity leave before and after childbirth, or 120 in case of multiple births, with 60 days (for single births) paid, and 75 days paid (for multiple births).

Mothers with infants below a year old are entitled to at least 30 minutes of nursing time every day.

Paternity/Parental leave

Employers are obligated to grant at least 10 days of paid leave to employees upon request within 90 days after the employee’s partner’s delivery.

Additionally, employees can request an entire year of childcare leave for a child aged below eight, compensated by the government at a rate equivalent to KRW 1.7 million ($1,489.47).

Education leave

Employees can request to have their working hours reduced to between 15 and 30 hours to focus on their academic career, for up to an entire year.

Other leave

  • Carers’ leave: employees can exercise up to 90 days of family care leave annually to cater to ailing family members
  • Childcare leave: one year leave of absence for a child under the age of eight or who is in second grade or below in elementary school
  • Family-care leave (unpaid):
    - Carers’ leave: employees can exercise up to 90 days of family care leave annually to cater to ailing family members
    - Childcare leave: one year leave of absence for a child under the age of eight or who is in second grade or below in elementary school
    - Family-care leave (unpaid)
    undefinedundefined
    - Fertility treatment leave: three days per year, with the first day of the leave being paid
    - Menstrual leave (unpaid): once a month, given on a request from the employee

Employment termination

Termination process

Employee contracts can only be terminated if a just cause is established, such as dishonesty, negligence, fraud, or any other work-related offences, otherwise, prior notice must be provided before terminating an employee.

Notice period

Employers are required to provide at least 30 days’ prior notice before terminating an employee, except if the employee is contracted to work for less than three months or has committed an intentional offence that sets back the employing organization significantly.

Severance pay

Employees who have worked for at least an entire year are entitled to a severance package equivalent to a month’s wages for every year of continuous employment with the employer.

Probation periods

The Labor Standards Act of Korea does not have an explicit regulation on probation periods. However, the law does state that notice of termination is not required for “Employees under probationary period (of 3 months or less)”, so it is usually until 3 months.

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