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  • Title
    Should a general election day (for election of members of National Assembly) be designated as a paid holiday?
  • Content
    The “civil rights” are citizens’ basic rights protected by the Constitution, and a general election day does not have to be designated as a paid holiday, unless the collective agreement or employment rules provides otherwise.
    However, if a worker requests time off from his/her working hours to exercise right or other civil rights, or to fulfill his/her election right or other civil rights, the employer should not refuse such a request. In this case, the employer can adjust the time requested by the worker.
  • Title
    Is an employer allowed to carry out the measures to promote the use of leave under the Labor Standards Act using internal e-mail instead of written notice?
  • Content
    Article 61 of the Labor Standards Act provides that an employer shall inform each worker of his/her leave balance and urge him/her “in writing” to decide when he/she will take leave and notify the employer of it, and that if the worker fails to decide when to take the remaining leave and notify the employer of it, the employer shall determine the timing of leave and notify the worker of it “in writing”.
    The intention of the provision requiring an employer to urge or notify in writing to ensure that the measures to promote the use of leaves is clearly carried out, thereby faithfully protecting workers’ right and preventing potential disputes between the parties resulting from unclear measures. Given this, giving notification by internal e-mail or posting a notice showing leave balance for each worker on the company’s bulletin board cannot be accepted unless such a method is seen as clearer than sending a “written” notice to each worker.
    ※An employer is not obligatorily required to carry out the measures to promote use of leave. If an employer does not take such measures and a worker does not specify when to take his/her unused leave and fails to take the leave, the employer should pay allowances for the unused annual leave.
  • Title
    If an advance notice period before dismissal is five days short of the 30-day period required by law, does the employer have to pay fives days of dismissal allowances?
  • Content
    Article 26 of the Labor Standards Act provides that “when an employer intends to dismiss a worker (including dismissal for managerial reason), he/she shall give the worker a notice of dismissal at least 30 days in advance of such dismissal”, and “if the employer fails to give such advance notice, he/she shall pay that worker ordinary wages not less than 30 days”.
    As an advance notice period is calculated based on calendar days, not working days, such a period is not extended even if there is a holiday during that period. The first day does not count toward the period of advance notice, thus the period counts from the next day. Even in case the period of advance notice is only one day short of the legally required period, the employer should pay at lease 30 day’s ordinary wages (dismissal allowance).
    * If an employer intends to dismiss a worker, he/she shall notify the worker in writing of the reasons and time of the dismissal.
    * Once an advance notice is given, the dismissal shall not be retracted unless the employer agrees to.
    * The dismissal of a worker shall become effective only upon written notice reaches the worker. 
    * Labor relation between an employer and a worker continues to exist during the period of advance notice. If the worker still works for the employer after the period of advance notice, the employer shall go through the procedure for dismissal from the beginning.
  • Title
    If a worker submits a resignation, when does the resignation take effect?
  • Content
    Retirement (resignation) is a termination of employment relationships through a worker’s unilateral expression of intention, and can be divided into voluntary retirement, agreed-on retirement and retirement due to age limit. As there is no provision in the Labor Standards Act regarding retirement procedures, the procedure should follow the provisions of the Civil Act unless otherwise provided in advance by the parties in employment rules or collective bargaining agreements.
    Under the Civil Act, retirement of a worker shall take effect at the time when the employer accepts the resignation, provided that the worker expressed his/her will of retirement (by submitting the resignation) and the employer has accepted the resignation.
    If the company has not accepted the resignation of a worker, the point of retirement shall be different according to the method of payment. If the wage is paid periodically (monthly), the retirement shall be effective the following period (month) of the resignation. If the wage is not paid periodically, the retirement shall be effective after a month from the date of notification of a worker’s retirement.
  • Title
    What are the requirements to execute interim payment of retirement?
  • Content
    The Guarantee of Workers’ Retirement Benefits Act Article 8 (2) provides that “any employer may, upon request by a worker due to a ground prescribed by Presidential Decree, such as housing purchases, pay such worker a retirement allowance for his/her continuous service period prior to his/her retirement. In such cases, the continuous service period to be used for the calculation of the amount of a retirement allowance accumulated thereafter shall be reckoned anew from the time when the balance is settled.”  
    The following matters are prescribed by Presidential Decree. 
    1. Where a worker who did not own a house has purchased a house in his/her own name;
    2. Where a worker who did not own a house has paid deposit money under Article 303 of the Civil Act or deposit under Article 3 (2) of the Housing Lease Protection Act for residential purpose. In such cases, the number of occurrences shall be limited to one time while the worker works in the same business or workplace;
    3. Where a worker, his/her spouse or a dependent family member living together with a worker or his/her spouse under Article 50 (1) of the Income Tax Act requires six months or more of medical care due to an illness or injury;
    4. Where a worker has been declared bankrupted under the Debtor Rehabilitation and Bankruptcy Act within five years counting backward from the date of applying for the interim settlement of retirement pay;
    5. Where a worker has received a decision for commencement of rehabilitation procedures under the Debtor Rehabilitation and Bankruptcy Act within five years counting backward from the date of applying for the interim settlement of retirement pay;
    6. Other cases falling under the reasons and conditions determined and announced by the Minister of Employment and Labor, such as when damage is inflicted by natural disasters, etc.  
    In addition, other special requirements for interim payment of retirement include: 
    Interim payment of retirement shall only be allowed “upon a worker’s request”. The interim payment of retirement paid one-sidedly by an employer shall not become effective. 
    ②An employer should agree to the interim payment of retirement. It is not mandatory for an employer to execute interim payment of retirement of a worker and the employer can refuse to calculate the interim payment with a reasonable management cause. 
    ※ If the interim payment of retirement payment has been settled with the approval of the worker, years of continuous service shall be calculated from the point of interim payment of retirement payment. The interim payment of retirement payment does not affect the human resources management including the calculation of the paid annual leave and career qualification as the worker has not yet retired.
  • Title
    If a worker shows poor work attitudes and performance, can the employer dismiss him/her?
  • Content
    According to the Labor Standards Act Article 23 (1), it is provided that “an employer shall not, without justifiable cause, dismiss, lay off, suspend, or transfer a worker, reduce his/her wages, or take other punitive measures against him/her.”
    Also, an employer shall prepare the rules of employment regarding the matters pertaining to award and punishment in compliance with the Labor Standards Act Article 93 (11). Such rules shall only be effective if they are fairly exercised by an authoritative body in compliance with collective bargaining agreements and/or the employment rules.
    Poor work attitudes refer to acts which reduce work efficiency or production output as a worker fails to concentrate on his/her duties. Dismissing a worker on the sole ground of his/her work attitudes or temporarily poor performance may not be reasonable, but if it is proved that the worker neglects or fails to make improvements despite that that employer has ordered the worker over several times to correct his/her attitude or participate in training, dismissal of such a worker is considered to have justifiable reasons.
    *In such case, it is advised that an employer should provide the worker with sufficient time to prepare explanatory materials and stand at the disciplinary committee to express his/her opinions on the matter in order to avoid any legal conflicts.
  • Title
    What are corporations required to do for registration? (Article 15-17 of the Act on registration and evaluation of chemicals)
  • Content
    ◦ (Confirmation of registration) Manufacturers & importers of chemical substances should check in advance whether or not they are required to register 
    ◦ (Preparation of documents) Documents for new chemical substances must be prepared prior to implementation of the Act, while documents for existing chemical substances can be prepared within the conditional registration period. 
    - Documents for harmful substances consist of GLP test results pursuant to Article 22, clause 1 of the Act, and documents for risky substances must be prepared based on these. 
    ◦ (Group document submission) In principle, manufacturers and importers of the same existing chemical substances subject to registration must submit their registration application as a group.(Article 15 of the Act) 
    * Doing this will reduce registration costs, as well as prevent social/economic loss 
    - After confirmation, manufacturers and importers must form a consultative group, appoint a leader and prepare documents for submission. 
    - The cost of producing new documents shall be shared between manufacturers and importers.
    ◦ (Sharing of existing documents) In principle, sharing of documents that are already registered can only be used upon permission of the document owner. (Article 16 & 17 of the Act)
    - Upon confirmation by the Minister of Environment, documents for vertebrates do not need to be submitted, without consent of the document owner. 
    ◦ (Overseas manufacturers) Duties assigned to the importer can be given to a pre-appointed* person who is qualified by the environment ministry ordinance. 
    *The purpose of this is to protect sensitive, confidential business information of overseas manufacturers.
  • Title
    In registering chemical substances, what is the purpose of adopting a reporting system and what details are there? (Article 8 of the Act on registration and evaluation of chemicals)
  • Content
    ◦ (Purpose) To find out people who are obliged to report, as well as to confirm usages of chemical substance, changes in manufacturing & import volume etc. 
    - This system allows importers of the same chemical substance to register as a group. 
    *This system is similar to Pre-registration of the EU REACH, which allows sharing of information among manufacturers and importers of the same substance
    ◦ (Reporter) Everyone who manufacturers/imports/sells new chemical substances or existing chemical substances of 1 ton or more 
    ◦ (What to report) usages, as well as manufacturing/import/sales volume must be reported in a consistent format to the Minister of Environment every year 
    - Any changes to the above must also be reported 
    ◇ Chemical substances that are exempted from reporting  
    ① Chemical substances embedded and imported in machines 
    ② Chemical substances imported with machineries for test runs 
    ③ Chemical substances in a solid product that cannot be released during use 
    ④ Chemical substances manufactured & imported for investigation and research 
    ⑤ Other chemical substances designated by the Presidential decree 
  • Title
    What are the major policy changes made to the Act on registration and evaluation of chemicals?
  • Content
    ◦ The enactment of the Act (No. 11789, enacted 22 May 2013, implemented 1 Jan 2015) 
    - The Ministry of Environment enacted and announced the above Act on May 22 2013, to protect environment and people’s health, as well as to sharpen competitive edge of Korea’s chemical industry. 
    ◦ Major policy changes made to the Act 
    ① Toxicity assessment of new chemical substances (previous) ⇒ chemical substance register system 
    - Upon this chance, existing chemical substances are also to be registered. 
    ② Toxicity management (previous) ⇒ toxicity assessment + risk evaluation system 
    - Previously, chemical substance itself was tested for the toxicity. Under the new system, its overall risk is assessed. 
    ③ Toxic, restricted, prohibited substance(previous) + approved substance (extended scope of harmful chemical substance) 
    - “Approved substances” are included in the scope of harmful chemical substance to induce development of alternative substances
    ④ Safety management policy adopted for potentially harmful products 
    Regulations (safety standard, risk evaluation etc.) are set to prevent potential damages caused by chemical products for everyday use. 
    < Changes in management system after enactment of the Act on registration and evaluation of chemicals > 
    Changes in management system after enactment of the Act on registration and evaluation of chemicals
  • Title
    What is waste management pre-guarantee system?
  • Content
    ☞ Legal grounds: Article 40 of the Wastes Control Act
    ◦ ‘Waste management pre-guarantee system is a system to prevent reckless disposal of industrial waste treatment businesses pursuant to Article 40 of the Wastes Control Act. 
    - Waste treatment businesses need to provide a pre-guarantee on proper waste treatment, by either paying contributions to the waste management cooperative, or sign up for insurance and let their insurance cover the cost of waste treatment. This system thereby aims to prevent reckless waste disposal in the event of bankruptcy or shutdown of business. 


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