Tips for Part-time Workers

신지희, 박근후l승인2019.05.22l수정2019.05.27 16:28l369호 1면

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▲ This picture shows what the students were treated unfairly. (Photo from Alba Chunkuk)

 Many students work part-time jobs to earn their tuition fees and living expenses. There are some students that know their legitimate rights as a part-time worker, but there are also many more who don’t. They are often unsure of how to exercise their rights because of the complexity of the labor laws involved. According to a survey of 1,378 people by Alba Chunkuk and Youth Employment Centers in 2018, part-timers without employment contracts accounted for 62.7 percent of the workforce with nearly 38.5% of them being university students. In addition, 41.4% of all university students said they were treated unfairly at work. Nevertheless, 74% said they did not take any action despite being treated unfairly. 55.8% of the students expressed the biggest reason for not taking any action was their belief that employers would not improve even if they filed a report. Apart from that, students were also concerned about angering their employers and as a result, losing their jobs if they complained. Other just said they didn’t know how to report labor-related damage. To get more information about the rights of part-time workers, we interviewed Professor Choi Mi-na of the Department of Labor Law Graduate School of Legal Studies and Public Administration.

 Before starting a part-time job, part-time workers are required to check their employment contracts carefully. An employment contract is an agreement between the company and the employee that states that the company commits to hiring the worker and will pay for their work. It sets out the terms and conditions of their employment agreement and protects both parties should there ever be a labour dispute in the future.

 There are some things that must be included when preparing an employment contract. It should be stated in the labor contract how the wages are calculated and how they are paid, what hours the employee will work, how many holidays and annual paid holidays are guaranteed, where the employee will work and what tasks they will do. Also, it is recommended that two copies of the employment contract be completed with one for the employer and one for the part-timer.

 However, if writing an employment contract is for some reason difficult, it is possible to create them on your mobile phone through an app called the Small Business Work Agreement created by the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL).

▲ This picture shows the working students. (Photo from Etoday news)

There are few things you should know while you are doing part-time work. 

  The first matter involves holiday pay, margin and overtime pay. Holiday pay means getting a day’s wages for a workday holiday. According to section 55 of the Labor Standard Act (LSA), an employer must give at least 1 holiday. During this holiday, the workers can get a day’s wage even though he/she isn’t working. This holiday pay is only given when workers have put in more than 15 hours per week and work continuously and regularly; regardless of any lateness and or early leave. Holiday pay is calculated by taking 1 day’s working hours times the regular hourly rate].

Margin pay, according to section 56 of the LSA, is an allowance for night work that is guaranteed. Night work is defined as between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and the amount is equal to more than half of the normal wage. There is also an overtime allowance. With the agreement of the employer and the employee, working hours can be extended up to 12 hours per week and workers will receive 1.5 times the regular wage for this time as overtime allowance.

 The second important issue you need to know relates to our social insurance institutions such as the National Pension (NP), Health Insurance (HI), Employment Insurance (EI), and Worker’s Compensation Insurance (WCI). Employees who work more than 15 hours per week have to contribute to the funds, while those working less than 15 hours a week don’t. However, every worker must join WCI as it is unrelated to employee work hours. Using WCI, you can get insurance coverage if you need more than 4 days of treatment. To join most social programs, both the employer and employee must make equal contributions, however for WCI the user must pay 100% of the fees. But if you’re company has less than 10 employees, you are eligible for up to 90% of insurance support from the government’s insurance support program.

 The third most important issue you need to understand is the tax refund system. By using May’s general income tax reporting period, workers can receive tax refunds for any overpayment in contributions. To do so, you must first join the National Tax Service’s Hometax page. Go to My NTS and check your income history. Check your business type and income tax. Go to the general income tax reporting page and write in the amounts you are reporting before including your bank account where you wish the refund to be sent.  Then press submit.  You will need a digital certificate issued from your bank to subscribe for the refund service.

 The next matter deals with your probation period. The employer can set a probation period for its new employees. If an employee works less than 1 year or in some jobs, they must be paid 100% of the minimum wage rate even though it is a probation period. However, if an employee has worked more than 1 year, the employer can extend the probation period for an additional 3 months and pay only 90% of minimum wage.

 The last issue you should know more about deals with dismissal notification. According to article 26 of the LSA, an employer must give 30 days prior notification for any dismissal. And based on article 27, the notification must be given in writing on paper. If it isn’t given on paper, the dismissal notification is null and void. When both parties have already set a predetermined contractual period, the employer is under no obligation to give a dismissal notification.

▲ Before doing part-time job, we make sure to check "a standard work contract for part-time job".

 Another matter that comes up at the end of a contract period is that of severance pay. Severance pay is money that a company pays to a worker with more than one year’s service when their contract is completed.  The employee must have worked a 4-week average of 15 hours or more to receive severance pay for a part-time job, but it is not applicable if the employee took an extended period off. Part-time employees are eligible for severance pay even if it is not mentioned in the contract. 

 Any employees who do not get paid for work completed can file a report with MOEL. If the worker’s income is less than 4 million won, he/she can get free legal support from the Korean Legal Aid Corporation. If the employee didn’t paid, most of all, ask to the user and if he refused, then make petition to each region MOEL’s branch office. Employees can sue their employers for any missing wages and collect interest at rates of up to 20% for any late payments. Employment contracts, voice records, job post captures, schedules etc. can all be used as evidence when suing or petitioning the courts.

 Professor Choi emphasized that protecting your rights is the most important thing you can do. Whether laws or policies exist or not, workers must be aware of their rights and must ensure they are used. Sleeping rights cannot be protected. So, why don’t you use these tips and exercise your rights today.


신지희, 박근후  dankookherald@gmail.com
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