Contract Condition

Hagwons vs. Public Schools

Hagwons vs. Public Schools

Hagwons vs. Public Schools

These are only the Generalized Pros and Cons and the choice is up to you! Therefore YOU should research the school thoroughly before signing a contract. Best advice is that you have to talk to the current/previous foreign teachers and find out if the pay is always on time, what the school and director is like and if they are happy in terms of both working and living there.

Hagwons (Private Language Academies)


  • More jobs than public schools and mostly central city locations.

  • You can start work at any time of the year. Schools do not start and end, they run continuously year-round.

  • Better salary (expect anywhere from 2 to 2.5 million won.)

  • Small class size (expect 10 or fewer students.)

  • You will have fellow foreign English speaking colleagues.

  • You typically will have a boss who speaks English, which is not usually the case in public schools.

  • Higher English level from students

  • Afternoon to evening work hours (good for night person)


  • Less vacation (expect 10 days or less.)

  • Bigger workload as gets paid much

  • It’s a business, meaning you are dealing with a “director” whose main concern is making money first.

  • Prefer Caucasian (foreign-looking) teachers.

  • Nonfulfillment of a contract (delayed payments of wage, pension/insurance, sick leave and etc.)

Public Schools


  • Better vacation time (18 days plus public holidays)

  • Smaller workload (You will only be teaching conversation and will therefore will not be grading papers or testing students on a regular basis.)

  • Co-teachers (You will have a Korean co-teacher to help you in the classroom. But some teachers want autonomy though.)

  • Stability (these jobs offer a worry-free one-year contract with medical insurance.)

  • Traditional work hours (Expect to work from 9 to 5.)

  • Morning to afternoon work hours (good for morning person)


  • Limited number of positions available due to the drastic budget cuts last few years.

  • Competitive and strict application process

  • You usually can only have two possible start dates: March, when the school year begins, or August, when the second semester starts.

  • Can’t choose preferred locations.

  • Less pay (expect around 2 to 2.2 million won.)

  • Large class size (expect to teach 25 to 30 kids at one time.)

  • Lower English level from students

  • You might be the only foreigner in the school.

By |2017-12-07T07:10:13+09:00September 25th, 2017|Application Process, Contract Condition|0 Comments

Living Costs in Korea and How Much Can Save?

Living Costs in Korea


How Much Can Save?

living costs in korea

We averaged the general numbers of the living costs in South Korea so that you can expect how much money you can save based on simple formula of Make – Costs – Save.

Here is a breakdown for your quick look.

How Much Make Monthly? $1,900

  • The average starting salary for a 1st year ESL teacher in Korea is around 2.1m KRW per month which is about $1,900 USD. (the conversion rate, 1 USD = 1,100 KRW)

How Much Cost Monthly? $900 ($830 – $1,020)

  • Accommodation: $0
    Your school provides a furnished free housing!
  • Tax: $60
    3.3% of your monthly income
  • Pension: $85
    You pay 4.5% of your monthly income, and your employer matches the 4.5%. Canadian and American citizens can get then total 9% pension amount back when they leave Korea. South Africans have the right to opt out of paying pension, as they do not qualify for getting pension back. Australian, New Zealand, British and Irish employees are required to pay into the pension plan, but unfortunately won’t be able to get it back.
  • Insurance: $45
    You pay 2.24% of your monthly income, and your employer matches the 2.24%.
  • Utilities: $90 – $180
    You will pay utilities between ₩100,000 and ₩200,000 per month ($90–$180) for use of electricity, gas, phone, and internet.
  • Transportation: $50
    Public transportation in Korea is quite clean/advanced/affordable. A one-way ride on the bus or subway is around ₩1,200 ($1), depending where you live.Cabs charge a starting rate of $3 when you hop in, and a 20-30 min cab ride will be around $12-20.A monthly pass averages around $50. If you live within walking distance of work, you might only pay about $25 or less per month for transportation.
  • Food: $200 – $300
    It all depends on how much you want to embrace the local food or not. Eating Korean food is not only cheap, but it’s abundant and healthy. Bibimbap (mixed rice), Kimchi Jjigae (kimchi stew), and Mandu (dumplings), all of which you can get for under ₩6,000 ($6). Most Korean meals are also served with free side dishes. 간편식Cooking will reduce your food costs, especially if your ingredients consist of Korean produce as rice, spinach, onions, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, pork, beans. Fruits and dairy products are expensive in Korea. Buying in bulk at Costco is a great way to save money on food. Costco’s business in South Korea is booming, where the warehouse giant has 16 locations in South Korea, making it the sixth largest Costco market in the world. And its online shopping mall is at
  • Shopping/Heath/Beauty/Nightlife/Travel: $300
    It all depends how much you spend on these extra activities.

How Much Save Monthly? $1,000 ($880 – $1,070)

  • The bottom line is that you’d save around $1,000 monthly after all the costs/expenses considered!
  • This means you can have a rewarding life in Korea in terms of Work, Live, Play and Extra Savings when you get back to home!

By |2020-03-24T00:26:03+09:00September 13th, 2017|Contract Condition, Korea Living, Settle Down|0 Comments

Korea ESL School’s Free Housing

Free Housing

free housing provided by ESL schools in Korea

Free Single Studio Apartment

  • Schools will provide a free single studio apartment (one room plus a small kitchen and bathroom) with basic household furnishings of bed, blanket, pillow, wardrobe, cooking utensils, kitchen table, chairs, two-burner gas hot plate, refrigerator, washing machine, TV, air conditioner, high speed internet and etc.. Couples will be provided with a 2 bedroom apartment.
  • The composition of furnishings can be different by employer so you need to check with the school for exact items being provided while reviewing contract.

Korean Style Apartment – Villa

  • The apartments usually come in the form of a high rise apartment or a “Villa”. Korean villas are actually three or four story apartment buildings that tend to be quieter than the bigger complexes. The apartments are mostly clean, comfortable and furnished with basic needs. And they are usually located near the schools for easy access/commute.

Korean Style Bathroom

  • The bathrooms are almost universally consist of a toilette, sink, medicine cabinet, and a removable shower head. ‘Western Style’ showers are typically only found in newer apartments. The shower is usually the bathroom area itself – not a bathtub or shower stall with curtains or glass walls. The floor will be angled towards a drainage unit and when the shower is on, you’re essentially using the bathroom itself as a showering stall; meaning, when you take a shower your entire bathroom gets soaked. It’s nothing to worry about though, the floor is completely waterproof and tiled from top to bottom so getting the walls, floor and even the sealing wet is perfectly fine! You’ll even see the benefits to how quickly you are able to clean the bathroom!

Utilities and Hanging Rack, Oven, Coffee Maker, Trash Bag

  • Teachers will pay for the monthly utilities (electricity, gas, water, internet) and the bills usually amount to about ₩100,000 – ₩200,000 ($90 – $180).
  • Koreans do not use dryers, so you must hang your clothes to dry near a window (there will be a drying rack that hangs down from the ceiling) or you can set up a clothesline in your bathroom, or get a hanging rack to effectively dry your items, especially during the humid summers.
  • Most of apartments that teachers live in do not have an oven to bake in. If this is something that is important to you, we highly recommend purchasing a toaster oven through.
  • Coffee makers will not be provided but you can find them for a relatively cheap price at stores like emart or HomePlus.
  • The Korean trash disposal system is incredibly particular, and it is very important that you abide by it. You will need to purchase particular government trash bags to use, which are usually found at convenience stores (this is how people pay for trash disposal). Often there are video cameras with surveillance as to who is disposing what and where, so make sure to do your best here.

By |2017-12-07T07:10:16+09:00September 12th, 2017|Contract Condition, Korea Living, Settle Down|0 Comments

Severance Pay in Korea

Severance Pay

severance pay

Severance Pay Eligibility and Details

  • If the employee finishes one-year contract successfully, they get paid for an extra month of work, severance pay, which is equal to one-month’s salary. Therefore, at the end of a one-year contract, they will get their monthly salary plus severance pay. Also, they have to pay the appropriate severance payment tax at the end of year.
  • To be eligible for severance pay, the employee has to complete a one year contract at least and must be employed full time (more than 15 hours/week or 60 hours/month).
  • Severance pay is calculated as an average wage for 30 days of the last 3 months of pay.
  • The amount should be paid within 2 weeks of termination of contract.
  • After one year, severance pay accumulates on a month by month basis being prorated based on a 1 year calendar, 365 days.
  • Severance pay is stipulated by Korean law (under article 34 of the Labor Standard Act of Korea) therefore severance pay is not a right that can be waived. Even if your contract states that you will not receive severance pay, you are entitled to it.
  • Article 22 of the Labor Standard Act of Korea stipulates that a foreign worker cannot be discriminated against even if that employee violates immigration law. In other words, even if you are working in Korea illegally, you are entitled to severance pay.

How to Cope with the Severance Pay Denial in Steps

  1. The first step is to approach your employer regarding your severance pay, and attempt to resolve any difficulties at an early stage in a friendly and professional manner without need of further difficulties.
  1. In the event that your employer refuses to pay you, your next step will be to contact the Ministry of Employment and Labor. Please refer to how to contact info below and note that your employer legally has 14 days to pay you before they are in violation of the law, so even if your employer has stated that they will not pay you, you must wait 14 days before filing a complaint. Once you arrive at the Ministry of Labor, you will need to state your case to an officer of the Ministry. You will also need to have documentation in the form of pay stubs for at least the last three months, in order to calculate your correct severance amount. This is also proof that you have been employed as a full time worker.
  1. A representative from the Ministry will contact your employer and schedule an interview. You will typically be required to attend that interview, which should be scheduled within two weeks. Your employer must attend the meeting or forfeit the case. If you meet the legal qualifications outlined above, you will win this hearing and the Ministry will “recommend” that your employer pay you. The ministry has no real authority and can not enforce its verdict, but a favorable ruling here will virtually guarantee your victory if a civil case is needed.
  1. The next step, in most cases unnecessary, is to file civil charges against your employer in an effort to collect your severance. This is done by going to the Ministry of Justice and filing your case. You do not need a lawyer for this, although an interpreter is recommended. Action will be taken with a few weeks. Your employer will be required to attend a hearing, and with the recommendation of the Ministry of Labor against them, they will be required to pay the severance amount. The court can and will enforce this by seizing property from your employer and selling it if your employer still refuses to pay.

How to Contact NLCC (National Labor Consultation Center) of Ministry of Employment and Labor

The NLCC of the Ministry of Employment and Labor provides counseling service on employment & labor administration such as wage, retirement pay, dismissal, trade unions, occupational safety, equal employment, general labor matters, etc. Phone counseling service is available from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 18:00.

NLCC (National Labor Consultation Center) Homepage
Domestic Phone: 1350 (ext.4)
Overseas: +82-52-702-5089 (ext.4)

By |2020-03-23T23:54:14+09:00September 12th, 2017|Contract Condition|0 Comments

Korea ESL School’s Sick Leave

Sick Leave

sick leave

Taking a Sick Leave is ok but REMEMBER …

Koreans do not take frequent sick leaves due to illness. But exceptions are there for foreign teachers. The employment contract includes generally 3 sick leaves in a year.

Teachers are required to notify the employer and submit an accompanying proof of illness from a doctor.

If you are taking sick leave, then, do remember that you might be visited by your employer and he or she would take you to hospital. So, you cannot take sick leave for short vacations.

Since your co-workers are automatically the often-unwilling recipients of your classes if you call in sick, it’s not a good idea to do so unless you really are sick. Hangovers, or just having a bad day, won’t be acceptable excuses for missing teaching to either coworkers or management.

Legally, for any sick day taken, your employer can deduct a day’s salary unless you present an official note from a doctor. In practice, most employers don’t ask for this note unless someone has been absent for more than one day or has a history of one-day illnesses.

By |2017-12-07T07:10:16+09:00September 12th, 2017|Contract Condition|0 Comments

Korea ESL School’s Free Airfare to Korea

Free Airfare to Korea

free airfare to korea

Private School

  • Most private school (hagwons) employers offer prepaid flights into Korea from the teacher’s closest international airport. A smaller number of schools in this sector offer a full airfare reimbursement which the teacher receives shortly after arriving.
  • As for the flight home at the end of the contracted term; this benefit is no longer standard practice and varies from school to school. Some employers offer teachers a flight home at the end of the contracted term while others don’t and the teachers are required to purchase their own flight home.

Public School

  • Public schools offer an airfare reimbursement upon arrival or, an entrance allowance which equates to 1.3 million KRW to enter Korea and another 1.3 million KRW at the end of the contract to exit Korea and return home (exit allowance).

By |2017-12-07T07:10:16+09:00September 11th, 2017|Contract Condition|0 Comments

Korea ESL School’s Paid Vacation

Korea ESL School’s Paid Vacation


Paid Vacation in Korea ESL schools

Most private schools grant paid five days vacation in the summer and five days vacation in the winter in addition to 13-15 Korean National Holidays.
Public school teachers can expect 4 weeks of paid vacation time in addition to 13-15 Korean National holidays.

Official Korean National Holidays

Koreans officially follow the Gregorian calendar, even though there are a few holidays that are based on the lunar calendar. During the official holidays, offices and banks are closed but palaces, museums, most restaurants, department stores, and amusement facilities are open. Seollal and Chuseok are the most important traditional holidays for Koreans, so millions of people visit their hometowns to celebrate with their families during these times. On Seollal, Koreans hold a memorial service for their ancestors and perform Sebae, a formal bow of respect to their elders as a New Year’s greeting.

  • Solar New Year’s, January 1st 
  • Independence Movement Day, March 1
    This day commemorates the Declaration of Independence proclaimed on March 1, 1919, while under Japanese colonization. A reading of the declaration takes place in a special ceremony at Tapgol Park in Seoul, where the document was first read to the public.
  • Children’s Day, May 5
    On this day, parents dress up their little ones and take them to children’s parks, amusement parks, zoos, or to the cinema for a full day of fun and games.
  • Memorial Day, June 6
    Memorial Day is set aside to honor the soldiers and civilians who have given their lives for their country. The largest ceremony is held at the National Cemetery in Seoul.
  • Liberation Day, August 15
    This day commemorates Japanese acceptance of the Allies’ terms of surrender and the resulting liberation of Korea in 1945.
  • Foundation Day, October 3
    This day commemorates the founding of the Korean nation in 2333 B.C. by the legendary god-king Dangun. A simple ceremony is held at an altar on top of Mt. Manisan in Ganghwado Province. The altar is said to have been erected by Dangun to offer thanks to his father and grandfather in heaven.
  • Christmas Day, December 25
    Christmas is observed as a national holiday in Korea as in many other countries.
  • New Year’s (Seol-nal), 1st day of 1st lunar month, plus the day before and after
    Lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal) is one of the most important traditional holidays of the year; the holiday is much more significant than January 1st. Most businesses are closed, and people take several days off from work to visit their hometowns to be with their family. On the day of Seollal, everyone gets up early, puts on their best clothes, and bows to their elders as a reaffirmation of family ties. Feasts are held with specially prepared food such asttokguk and manduguk. People play traditional games, fly kites, or spin tops.
  • Buddha’s Birthday (Seokka Tanshin-il), 8th day of 4th lunar month
    The 8th day of the 4th lunar month. Elaborate, solemn rituals are held at many Buddhist temples across the country and lanterns are hung in the temple courtyards. The Sunday before Buddha’s birthday these lanterns are lit and carried in parades in the evening.
  • Harvest Moon Festival (Chuesok), 14-16th days of 8th lunar month
    Chuseok is one of the year’s most important traditional holidays. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Chuseok is often referred to as Korean Thanksgiving Day. It’s a celebration of the harvest and thanksgiving for the bounty of the earth. Family members come from all over the country to visit their ancestral homes.

Fun Korean Holidays for Couples and Friends

Korean people like making up special days so much that there is a holiday on the 14th of every month! Korean holidays are usually for family to spend time together, but here are major special days specifically for couples and friends.

Recently, these days are becoming commercial days that help many companies make a lot of money. Some people don’t like to celebrate it and spend a lot of money on it. However, the thought that people want to give gifts to lovers and friends is beautiful. Now you too can celebrate these days and confess your heart to your lover and friends!

  • February 14th: Valentine’s Day
    Valentine’s Day is celebrated in South Korea, but usually women give chocolate to men.
  • March 3rd : Samgyubsal Day
    You know how much Korean people love samgyubsal! The number 3 has the same Korean pronunciation as ‘sam’, so that’s why it is celebrated on the 3rd.
  • March 14th: White Day
    This is when the women reap what they sowed on Valentine’s Day by receiving gifts from men. However, women like to receive chocolate more than candy.
  • April 14th: Black Day
    This day if for single people. It’s a rather depressing day where singles eat a sticky, black-bean paste noodle dish called jjajangmyun and wish they had a love interest. Black coffee and black clothes are also needed.
  • June 14th: Kiss Day
    This is a good day to confess feelings to a crush and start a new relationship with your lover. Many companies, ranging from lipstick brands to breath mint makers, do their best to capitalize, offering special promotions.
  • July 14th: Silver Day
    Couples exchange silver rings and discuss future plans of marriage.
  • November 11th: Bbeabbea Day
    Because of the shape of Bbeabbearo, which look like the numbers of the day 11/11, it’s the day lovers and friends exchange Bbeabbearo with each other to wish that their relationships grow tall like Bbeabbearo.

By |2017-12-07T07:11:00+09:00August 17th, 2017|Contract Condition|0 Comments

Korea ESL School’s Deductions from Salary

Deductions from Salary

deductions from salary

From your salary, you are going to get the deductions of Income Tax, Pension, Health Insurance and others.

Check out how much you are going to get deductions from your salary from this article.

1. Income Tax (3% ~ 5%)

  • All teachers working in Korea on an E-2 Visa pays Korean taxes. It is your employer’s responsibility to file your taxes on your behalf, and it will be automatically deducted from you monthly pay check. 
  • Current rate is 3% to 5% of your salary depending on how much you make each month.
  • Public school teachers are exempt from paying income taxes during their first 2 years of employment. In order to request the Income Tax Exemption teachers must submit a ‘Residency Certificate’ that was issued by the appropriate government office from their country of citizenship. Canadians and Irish are not eligible for the income tax exemption.
  • Teachers need to submit their Residency Certificate to their school’s administrative office at the beginning of the contract (before the first salary is paid). The worker in charge of taxation will then submit it to the appropriate governing tax office
  • Those that worked for their first year at a hagwon or private school and then transfer to a public school, will only be able to claim 1 year of tax exemption with a valid Residency Certificate. 
  • Unfortunately the benefit is only applicable to those who are public school teachers and therefore employed by the government. Those that work for private institutions and after-school programs are not eligible.
  • If you pay income tax deductions out of your salary every month, then there is a possibility that you’re eligible for tax return or refund.
  • Foreign residents just like Korean nationals, are required to submit their tax forms on a yearly basis between Jan. 25 and Feb. 10. The employer must calculate the tax amount for the year and collect or refund the balance between what was withheld and what is due.
  • The year-end tax settlement is March 10th for employees.
  • The National Tax Service (NTS) has an English website at The website offers automatic tax calculation service and a comprehensive tax guide in English.
  • The National Tax Service (NTS) publishes ‘The Easy Guide for Foreigners’ Year-end Tax Settlement‘ each year. ‘The Easy Guide for Foreigners’ Year-end Tax Settlement’ is published in December of the tax year. You can find an online copy of the guide on the National Tax Service website.
  • For more information or to inquire about specific tax-related issues in English, call the Tax Service English Hotline at 1588-0560
  • For information about global income tax returns, contact International Tax Resource Management Office of the NTS at 02-397-1444
  • Even though you are paying Korean taxes, you are not exempt from filing taxes in your home country.
  • There are specific policies on foreign-earned income which will discern whether or not you are required to pay tax in your home country on the income you earn in Korea.
  • You’ll generally be exempt if you (1) spend a certain number of days in the year working abroad and (2) you are paying taxes in Korea (which you are). Each country uses different terminology, but the concept is more or less the same. Further information is available through the tax agency in your home country.

2. National Pension Scheme (4.5%)

  • Current rate is 9% (4.5% will be deducted from teachers salary and another 4.5% will be paid by employer).
  • Due to Social Security Treaty of America (effective, April 2001), Canada (effective, May 1999), American and Canadian citizens can get their pension upon returning home. You can ask for a refund from the National Pension Corporation at the end of contract for the first 2 years. If you don’t ask for such a refund, it will be added to your pension period.
  • South Africans have the right to opt out of the pension plan.
  • Although Korean schools are required to pay into the Korean National Pension scheme, many employers fail to do so because there is no government office in place to monitor or enforce the rule. Schools that don’t offer the pension plan tend to offer higher salaries to compensate for the difference. Additionally, just because a specific school doesn’t pay into the scheme does not mean the school itself is not credible or financially stable.

3. National Health Insurance (2.24%)

  • Current rate is 4.48% (2.24% will be deducted from teachers salary and another 2.24% will be paid by employer).
  • The insurance will cover most of basic medical and dental necessities and the medical coverage won’t start until you receive your Alien Registration Card, which usually takes 2-4 weeks after your arrival. It is advised that all teachers buy travel insurance with medical coverage for 30-45 days following arrival in Korea in case.

4. Housing Deposit

  • Generally between 400,000 KRW to 900,000 KRW depending on schools policy (usually deducted from first three months salaries but may be negotiable).
  • This deposit is to cover any unpaid monthly service, utility, telephone charges and etc. at the completion of contract and employer agrees that payment of remaining amounts of the deposit will be made to employee at the end of contract period after all outstanding monthly service, utility, and telephone charges have been paid.

By |2020-03-23T23:42:33+09:00August 16th, 2017|Contract Condition|0 Comments
Go to Top