Getting Unemployment (Insurance) in S. Korea, Part 1

I know I don’t write much. I’ll try to write more. But here is a sneak peek at what has been going on lately.

So, a few months ago, my company let me go after my probationary period. It happens sometimes, no shame in it.  But now, I was stuck without a job, and without an income. I was terrified. I had a new apartment that I had moved to for the job, things to pay for. What was I going to do?

When doing the “exit interview” at the company, I was told about unemployment insurance in Korea and to apply for it. Yes, the same thing we have back home in the US, I could get here. Despite looking online, I couldn’t find any resources in English on what to do. So I figured I’d carve my own path and then tell others about my experience. I hope this helps someone.



Now, I believe this only applies to those with F-series visas. The reason for this is that with an E-series visa (E-2, E-7), you are sponsored by your company to be in Korea. Once your job ends, your visa ends as well and you gotta go back, or apply for a different visa. At that point, you’d have to speak to immigration about applying.

In order to qualify for unemployment, you must have been paying unemployment insurance through your company for the past 6 months (180 days, with no breaks). If you are a freelancer, you do not count. You probably aren’t paying into the national system of the 4대보험. If you, like me, switched jobs in those 6 months, you must have had been paying at the old company too to qualify, as you will need documents from them as well when you apply. Even if you quit that job, it’s OK. The government goes by the last job’s conditions.

Now, if you took a couple of weeks or months break between jobs, you might not qualify. It has to be within the last 180 days. You also must be let go/fired/or terminated from your company. If you left of your own freewill, you do not qualify.


How Much Do I Get?

From what I’ve seen, the amount you get is usually half the average of your last 3 months pay, or the daily rate of 46,760 won, depending on your job and stuff. I’m trying to figure that part out, but I think it’s the half the average of your last 3 months. The daily thing is for another type of worker.


How Long Do I Get It For?

The period of time you get to be on unemployment depends on how long you’ve been paying into the system. The basic (and shortest) length is 90 days. I’ve been paying for about 7-8 years, so I get 5 months (150 days).


Necessary Documents

So, to get started, you will need some papers.

From the company you just left, you will need an 이직확인서 (Letter of Termination of Employment) and the 피보험자 상실신고서 (Letter of Dismissal). If you were only at your last company for less than 180 days, you will also need only the Letter of Termination of Employment from the previous company (one before the one you got fired/let go from). They will not automatically generate these documents, you must ask them to give them to you or send them to the Employment Benefits Organization.

You can only get these documents after you receive your last paycheck from your last employer (that’s what my last employer told me). This, like me, can be almost a month after leaving the company. So make sure to have an emergency fund ready. (Like, two-three months worth)


In the next post, I will cover what to do with these documents and how to apply. Otherwise, this will get too long, no?

See you soon!

Categories: korea, life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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