It is noteworthy that in Korea the system for supporting the unemployed is actually called “Employment Insurance”, since the government aims not only to help those in need, but also to actively encourage re-employment and promote retraining and skills development. Recipients of unemployment benefits are required to register for job placement, be available for work and a penalty is imposed if they reject job offers, or leave their job voluntarily. You may lose your entitlement to coverage if you have to leave your job due to misconduct or as a result of a labour dispute. There is an incentive for early re-employment however and expenses incurred during your job search will also be reimbursed.
Unemployment benefits are provided only for short periods of 90-240 days. Firms are given financial incentives to invest in employee training, seek alternatives to massive layoffs such as reducing hours of work, offering training and relocating workers, and companies that employ “marginal” workers such as women and the elderly also receive special treatment under the system.
All employees under 65 can be covered, with the exception of those newly employed after reaching age 60, casual workers whose term of employment is less than 80 hours a month and the self-employed. An insured person must contribute 0.45% of his or her annual wages before tax. Employers must contribute between 0.7% and 1.3% of the annual payroll, depending on the type of business. In order to qualify you must have been covered by the system for at least 6 months during the last 18 months, be registered at an employment security office and demonstrate your willingness and ability to work. Benefit is equal to half of the insured person's average daily earnings during the 3 months immediately before unemployment. The benefit is payable after a 7-day waiting period, for 90 days to those with between 6 and 12 months of coverage; for 240 days with more than 10 years of coverage or aged 50 or older or disabled. The minimum daily benefit is 90% of the minimum wage (18,072 won). The maximum daily benefit is 35,000 won.
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