What are the
Typical Wages and Benefits for English Teaching Jobs in Korea?
Wages of course depend on where you work, generally
language institutes pay less than public schools and
high schools, and
universities pay the most.
Annual pay increases also are dependent on your
employer. Public schools
and universities may have automatic cost of living
raises, but private
institutes may not. In the university the author worked there
was always a annual
salary increase of about 4 percent per year.
Average starting salaries can range from 1.6 million to
4 million won a
month based on education and experience. For
first time teachers at language schools, starting wages
- on average - tend to be in the 2.1 to 2.5 million won
range. As the strength of the won varies against
major currencies (primarily the US$) schools tend to
adjust their wages accordingly.
Typically the following deductions are made from a
Health insurance– 2.5% of salary
National pension plan- 4.5% of salary
Income tax– 3-4 % of salary
Resident tax– 10% of income tax
Some employers may have a housing deposit, which will
vary from employer to employer. Generally the housing
deposit is between 400,000 and 900,000 won. The deposit
is usually deducted from the first 3 months salaries
(but can be negotiated). The purpose of the deposit to
cover any unpaid monthly service, utility, telephone charges, etc. at the completion of contract. The
employer, after all
outstanding monthly service, utility, and telephone
have been paid, will return the remaining amounts of the
deposit to employee at the end of contract period.
Approximate take home pay after deductions (excluding
Gross wage: 1,600,000 Net pay: 1,408,000
Gross wage: 1,800,000 Net pay: 1,584,000
Gross wage: 2,000,000 Net pay: 1,760,000
Gross wage: 2,400,000 Net pay: 2,112,000
Gross wage: 2,800,000 Net pay: 2,112,000
Gross wage: 3,000,000 Net pay: 2,640,000
Gross wage: 3,500,000 Net pay: 3,080,000
What kind of benefits can a teacher can expect to get?
The insurance covers basic medical and dental needs, but
or cosmetic surgery. Medical care is very inexpensive,
amount of coverage that the patient pays being extremely
compared to other countries. This medical insurance will
allow you to
receive medical attention and prescription medicines at
a fraction of
their original cost.
There are 13 national holidays in Korea and employers
are obliged to
observe them. Just keep in mind that some holidays may
fall on your
regular days off. Regardless of the number of holidays
during any given teaching session, your monthly salary
Generally a teacher at a private language institute can
between 7 and 10 days of vacation per year, depending on
employer. Public schools may have as few as 7- 12 days of school
vacation time per year as dictated by the schools'
calendar, such as
Christmas, New Years holiday, summer vacation etc - and
sometimes much more.
Generally teachers are allowed between three to six
sick days per
year. Calling in sick is not a common occurrence in
Korea, unless one
is really sick. Mental health days are frowned on and
require documentation from a doctor, especially if it
becomes a habit
with specific individuals. The employers have the legal
right to dock
the employee’s pay if they do not have appropriate
Also keep in mind that if you are absent from class,
some one has to
take over for you and that is usually a co-worker or
maybe the owner
or manager of a private language institute. They will
not be pleased if
they have to do their job and your job too!
By law, employers are required to pay an employee one
average salary at end of a 12 month contract. In
are being paid for 13 months for working 12. What a
If the contract is for less than one year, employers are
to provide a severance payment. If the contract is
longer than 1 year,
the amount of severance pay is prorated. For example, an
contract would have 1.5 months salary payment for
a 2 year contract would have a 2 months salary for
If a person works for multiple years it may be possible
the employer) to pay all of the severance payments in
one lump sum
when the employment is ended for good and the contract
renewed for another year.
Most employers willingly pay the severance package
problems. However there have been cases in which
reluctant to do so.
This mainly happens if the employer
employee will not protest too much. If this happens to
the regional immigration office and they will contact
the employer and
force payment. Also, if you are fired just short of the
end of your
contract (and you feel it is unjustified), the employer
may be trying to
avoid paying you the severance amount. You can also
regional immigration office in this case and they will
But before contacting the immigration office, talk
frankly with the
school director or language institute owner or manager.
It may well
be just an oversight, especially for organizations that employ numerous foreign teachers. Employers do not want
situations that prompt immigration officials to
immigration office has the power to do random checks of
institutes and to delay visa processing. These can be
school directors and institute owners.
National pension plan:
Employee’s contributions to the National Pension Fund
are returned to
the employee after leaving the country. It usually takes
month for the paperwork to be processed and the money
to the employees home bank account (or wherever they
To receive the money you have to visit the local Pension
with documents provided by the employer, fill out a copy
and provide information on where to transfer the funds.
be done a day or two before you leave the country.
Many employers will cover the cost of transportation to
economy class ticket) usually by reimbursing the teacher
and from Korea to their home country at the end of the
Discuss this with any potential employer before signing
This information (in greater detail) is also generally
provided in ads
on the Internet.
Most private language institutes, public schools, and
provide housing for their foreign teachers. For the
convenience the housing is usually located near the
school or place of
employment . The housing may be a single accommodation
apartment with two or three-bedrooms (which is shared by
three teachers with a private bedroom for each teacher
and a shared
kitchen and bathroom). Rent payment is provided by the
with the monthly utilities bills being paid for by the
Normally, one would not consider taxes as being a
benefit, but for
some it may be. Yearly tax returns may or may not have
to be filed in
Korea. I never got a definitive answer to this question
there, and have read conflicting reports about the
filing income tax. What ever the legal answer is– don’t
worry about it,
the employers don’t seem to.
In the first two
years in Korea, I did not file a return, but my
employer might have. If the employer did, he didn’t
While employed at the university, an income tax was
filed, but the
university personnel office took care of everything. All
I had to do was
sign a couple of documents.
American citizens are required to file income tax
returns in the U.S.
when working in a foreign country, but can file for an
exemption allows the employee to earn up to $86,000 (at
but things change) without having to pay taxes. Another
the exemption is that the employee must pay taxes in the
country (and in Korea foreign employees do pay Korean
In order to qualify for the exemption, a person
must meet the
“bona fide residence test” or the “physical presence
Evidence for bona fide residence includes proof that a
person has a
home in the foreign country or illustrating you have
settled there on a
permanent or long term basis. Documentation (in your
include a bank account, phone bills, cell phone bills,
or utility bills.
Evidence for physical presence includes documentation
that you were
physically in a foreign country for 330 days in a
month period. This evidence is usually found in your
passport, by the
dated entry and exit stamps or visas.
For more detail information about tax requirements and
foreign income contact the IRS website. (
Canadian citizens also get a tax break if working in
has a tax treaty with South Korea, so if a citizen is
working there with
a legal visa, they are considered a legal resident of
that country (and
are required to pay taxes there) and are not required to
tax, because you can qualify as a ‘deemed non-resident’.
Proof of residence required by the Canadian government
A spouse or common-law partner and dependants who stay
Canada while you are living abroad
Personal property, such as a car or furniture, and
For more detail
information about tax requirements and reporting of
foreign income contact the Canada Revenue Agency
relatively common sight
- employees getting together
after work to celebrate a special occasion.
years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn't do than by the
ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the
trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
Discover." -- Mark Twain