Thursday, January 29, 2015

Severance, Exit allowance, Pension and Moving On

It's that time of year, folks. After two years in EPIK, it's time to pass GO, collect $200 and keep on going.

The DMOE sent out the following email which caused much a-fluttering:

Hi - 

If you are receiving this email, you have requested copies of the documents that are necessary to continue employment in Korea after your current contract with the DMOE has ended, or have indicated that you have secured employment elsewhere in Korea through communication with the coordinator's office. As you are probably well aware, we are not permitted to distribute the exit allowance to those NET's that continue employment in Korea after the end of their contracts, whether it be at another MOE or POE, a private institution, or university (article 11, clause 4). Essentially, if you are changing your visa while staying in Korea to reflect new employment, then you are not eligible to receive the exit allowance. At this point, we have asked our financial officer to withhold sending the total amount to your school until you are able to submit substantiating evidence that you will be leaving the country. You will need to submit a copy of an itinerary or plane ticket in your name that shows the date of departure as anytime after the end of your contract (or before, if you are using vacation days to leave early). You may feel free contact us individually if you feel you have a special circumstance that does not allow you to submit said documentation. 

Please understand that this is an incredibly difficult rule to enforce on our end. While we are well aware that merely requesting copies of documents doesn't automatically mean that you will be securing employment, it is the only objective method that we can use in order to enforce this particular rule in the contract. We would appreciate your cooperation in order to give you the allowance if eligible. 

DMOE Coordinators.


1. If you are leaving the country, you get the $1300 exit allowance. If you're transferring your visa to another employer, you don't.
2. To get your $1300 (if you're eligible), send them the receipt of a ticket (plane, ferry, tuktuk, whatever) in your name, leaving the country. 

I took a closer look at our contracts and the above is in there, so there's not really any way around it. 

However, I also found this:

3. Everyone, regardless of what you're doing next, who is ending their EPIK contract, is eligible for severance pay. 

From the DMOE:

Information regarding the severance pay went out in the "end of contract details" email that we sent out when you renounced your renewal contract. I will provide you with the link again. Severance pay is roughly equivalent to 1 month's worth of salary for every year that you have completed. Note that the entire sum is taxed. Your admin office may be able to give you the exact sum total. I might suggest that you ask for a breakdown of your last payments for your records.

So let's break that down. On payday, February 25th (more or less), you should receive the following:

1. February 2015's paycheck (according to the pay scale, your usual amount).

2.1 month's salary (of the amount you were paid in your FINAL year) for each year of your previous consecutive EPIK contracts. (e.g. 2013 + 2014 = 2 months worth of 2014 paychecks)
3. (- taxes)

If you have not yet received your renewal bonus for re-signing for 2014, you should definitely remind your school about that and receive that too. 

As far as I can tell, renewal bonus and severance are NOT the same thing. If your school carried over your renewal bonus to pay it with your severance, it should NOT be deducted from your severance.

So, if you're leaving Korea, your paycheck for February should be about $5000-8000 (depending on your pay scale level and how much taxes are). If you're staying but moving to another job (not EPIK) it should be about $4000-6000. If you're moving to another POE/MOE, you should receive $4000 ~ 6000 + $300 (settlement bonus) from the new POE/MOE. 

On top of that, Australians, Canadians and Americans are eligible for a full refund of their pension payments as follows:

You have been contributing 50% to your pension fund, while the DMOE has been matching that and paying 50% as well up until now. You will be eligible to get a 100% refund ONLY if you are from Australia, Canada or U.S.A., according to the national treaties. You must physically go to the National Pension Office in person, up to one month prior to your departure from the country to request your refund. After the last day of your contract, your school will report the termination of your contract to the pension office. After the school's report and the Immigration Service's confirmation on your departure are complete, your application for the refund will be processed. Please refer to the website for the National Pension Corporation for detailed information about the Pension Plan and the application process for your refund ( - English website available). Also, a telephone consultation service is available at 02-2176-8702.

*Please note: while you can physically submit your application for renewal up to one month prior, your refund request can only be processed starting the day after your contract ends, and it usually takes about one to one and a half months after your departure has been confirmed by the Immigration Office for the funds to be deposited into your account.*

Required Documents
Alien Registration Card
Flight Ticket (departure date must be indicated) - flight confirmation/itinerary printed from the internet is acceptable.
Bank Account Number (domestic or international - international may require your bank's swift code)

*Please note: The DMOE does not provide pension payments. Your payments will come from the National Pension Office.*

You lucky bastards. 

I hope this is clear... If not, please go ahead and spam the coordinators' inboxes.