Hire employees
and contractors in South Korea

Capital city
Seoul
Currency
South Korean Won (KRW)
Population size
51,709,098 (2019)
Language spoken
Korean
01

Grow your team in South Korea with Remote

Remote currently offers contractor payment and management services in South Korea. We are busy building our own entity in the country to provide you with best possible employment solutions for your employees.

  • Capital city
    Seoul
  • Currency
    South Korean Won (KRW)
  • Language spoken
    Korean
  • Population size
    51,709,098 (est. 2019)
  • Ease of doing business
    Very Easy (2020)
  • Cost of living index
    81.20 (2021)
  • Payroll frequency
    Monthly
  • VAT – standard rate
    10%
  • GDP - real growth rate
    2.0 (2019)
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Facts & stats

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, and of course, a vibrant entertainment industry that has given us the delights of K-Pop.

South Korea Map
South Korea risks illustration

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.
03

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

Date Holiday Name Extra information
New Year’s Day
Seotdal Geumeum
Korean New Year
Independence Movement Day
Children's Day
Buddha’s Birthday
Memorial Day
National Liberation Day of Korea
Chuseok
National Foundation Day
Hangul Day
Christmas Day
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
For customers of Remote, all employee payments will be made in equal monthly instalments on or before the last working day of each calendar month, payable in arrears.
04

Competitive benefits package in South Korea

Remote can help you provide a competitive and compliant benefits package for your employees in South Korea. If you have questions or would like to offer a custom benefit, let us know and we can help.

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05

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
  • 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%
    • 12 million - 46 million KRW - 16%
    • 46 million - 88 million KRW - 26.4%
    • 88 million - 150 million KRW - 38.5%
    • 150 million - 300 million KRW - 41.8%
    • 300 million - 500 million KRW - 44%
    • 500 million - 1 billion KRW - 46.2%
    • 1 billion and up - 49.5%
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Types of leave

Paid
time off

15 days - For all employees who have worked 80% or more of one work year 12 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 have worked less than 80% of one year.

11 days - For all employees who have worked for a month every 30 days from the commencement of work but who have continuously worked for less than 1 year or who have 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, 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 paternity 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):

    Leave of Absence for Family Care: 90 days per year and must be used in periods of 30 days or more at a time

    Family Care Leave: up to 10 days and the period is included in the period for Leave of Absence for Family Care

  • 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
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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 3 months is commonplace.

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