Contracts in South Korea

Overview by

The Active Population in Figures

Main Indicators 2004200520062007
Labor Force 23417000237430002397800024216000
Labor Force (Annual Growth, %) 2.001.401.001.00
Rate of Activity (%) 59.859.759.759.8
Unemployment Rate (%)

Source: KOSIS of Korea National Statistical Office

Note: Jobs growth has declined despite economic recovery due to so-called ?mismatch? in the domestic labor market where companies suffer labor shortages and job seekers delay employment in anticipation of a ?better job?.

Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labor Force) 2007
Legislators, senior officials and managers 2.4%
Professionals 8.7%
Technicians & associate professionals 11.1%
Clerks 14.1%
Service workers 12.4%
Sales workers 11.3%
Skilled Agricultural, forestry & fishery workers 6.9%
Craft & related trades workers 10.3%
Plant, machine operators & assemblers 11.0%
Elementary occupations 11.6%

Source: KOSIS of Korea National Statistical Office


Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
The recruitment process takes place more and more via Internet. Selection is made on the basis of a job interview.
Recruitment Agencies
Public Employment Offices: HRD Korea (Human Resources Development Service of Korea),
Private Human Resources Firms: HR Korea, Adecco Korea, Korn/ Ferry International Korea, Incruit Corp.
Recruitment Websites
Employment Permit System (EPS) of Ministry of Labor
WorkNet of Korea Employment Information Service (KEIS)
World Job of Human Resources Development Service of Korea
Human Resources Development Service of Korea

The Contract

Type of Contract
In Korea, the contract determines if the employee is part of the regular or non-regular staff. Permanent employees form the regular staff. Among the non-regular staff, there are different types of contract: part-time workers, temporary workers, dispatched workers, fixed-term contract workers, entrusted employees.
Breach of Contracts
  • Retirement
There are several forms: General retirement, Pre-retirement, etc.
  • Dismissals
If an employer intends to dismiss his/her workers for managerial reasons, he/she is required to meet and follow strict conditions and procedures.

First, the employer should have urgent managerial reasons and make every effort to avoid the dismissal. The employer should also select the workers to be dismissed according to rational and fair criteria and notify the trade union or the workers' representative of the dismissal at least 50 days before the dismissal and consult with them in good faith.

Even in case there is a justifiable reason for dismissal, the employer should notify the worker of the dismissal at least 30 days in advance and if he/she fails to do so, should pay the worker at least 30 days of his/her ordinary wages.

  • Other Possible Methods
Collective dismissals (possible for economic reasons);
Disciplinary dismissals;
Labor Laws
Labor Insurance Law
Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Wages Increase (12.6%), Collective agreement (82.2%), Others (5.2%) in 2005
  • Legal Framework
- Public mediation by Labor Relations Commission: organize a mediation committee composed of three members. In case the mediation fails to solve the dispute within the mediation period, the union can take industrial action. In case of arbitration: Industrial action is forbidden for fifteen days. The Labor Relations Commission should organize an arbitration committee with three public interest members. If a party considers the arbitration award made by the Regional Labor Relations Commission to be against the law or beyond the authority of the Commission, it may file for a review of the decision with the National Labor Relations Commission within ten days of the award being made. If the party is still dissatisfied with the arbitration award or decision made by the National Labor Relations Commission after review, it may file an administrative suit within fifteen days.

- Private mediation: by a person or a group other than the Labor Relations Commission, under agreement between both parties or collective agreements.

  • Procedure
Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act

Judicial Structures

  • Legal Framework
Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act
  • Competent Legal Body
One National Labor Relations Commission and 12 Regional Labor Relations Commissions in major cities and provinces.
Labor-management experts (labor tribunal lay members).

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
The negociations in Korea are made up on the national level, or the level of industrial sectors or the company level.
Unionization Rate
10,3% in 2006, 10,3% in 2005, 10,6% in 2004 and 11,0% in 2003.
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), which presents around 3429 unions in 2006
Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) which presents around 1,143 unions 2006
Regulation Bodies
Ministry of Labor

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