South Korea flag South Korea: Operating a Business in South Korea

Work conditions in South Korea

The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 28,303,25128,541,66428,348,936

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 68.84%68.87%69.11%
Men activity rate 77.99%77.73%77.64%
Women activity rate 59.20%59.54%60.11%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labour Force) 2015
Manufacturing 17.3%
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 14.6%
Accommodation and food service activities 8.4%
Construction 7.0%
Education 7.0%
Human health and social work activities 6.8%
Transportation and storage 5.4%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 5.2%
Administrative and support service activities 4.8%
Professional, scientific and technical activities 4.0%
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 3.6%
Financial and insurance activities 3.0%
Information and communication 3.0%
Real estate activities 2.1%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 1.6%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 0.4%
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 0.3%
Mining and quarrying 0.1%
 

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Working Conditions

Legal Weekly Duration
40 or 44 hours per week.
Retirement Age
The minimum normal retirement age is 60. Employees may choose to retire early if the work contract or collective agreement permits earlier retirement.
Working Contracts
Employment contracts determine 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 and entrusted employees.
Labour Laws
Doing Business: South Korea, to obtain a summary of labour regulations that apply to local entreprises

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Cost of Labour

Minimum Wage
Since January 2022, the legal minimum wage is KRW 9,160 (approximately USD 7) per hour (Minimum Wage Commission).
Average Wage
The average salary in South Korea in 2020 is approximately $41,960 a year, $3,500/month (OECD).
Social Contributions
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers: •    National Pension: 4.5% (National pension contribution is capped at a monthly salary of KRW 5,240,000)
•    Health Insurance: 3.924% (currently capped at a monthly contribution of KRW 8,203,680 in total)
•    Employment Insurance: from 1.05% to 1.65% (1.15% to 1.75% starting from July 2022), depending on the number of employees and type of industry.
•    Worker’s Compensation Insurance: 0.73% to 18.63% depending on the industry
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employees: •    National Pension: 4.5% (National pension contribution is capped at a monthly salary of KRW 5,240,000)
•    Health Insurance: 3.924% (currently capped at a monthly contribution of KRW 8,203,680 in total)
•    Employment Insurance: 0.80%

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Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Union negotiations in South Korea take place at the national level, the sector level or the company level.
Unions
Unionisation Rate
10.1% in 2012.
Labour Regulation Bodies
Ministry of Labour

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Latest Update: September 2022

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