Employees of private schools, public schools, companies and government offices are all required to make monthly contributions to a pension plan, regardless of if they are Korean citizens or not. The employers can choose between the national pension plan and several other plans put forth by private insurance companies, and the monthly premium varies according to which plan they pay into. For national pension, the employer matches the amount contributed by the employee every month.

While not all private schools put into a pension fund, it is required by law and more and more private schools are getting on board. If an instructor’s school chooses to join up to a pension plan, the employee will have no choice in the matter of whether he or she contributes or not; it will automatically be deducted from their salary. Teachers whose employer did not belong to a pension plan at the beginning of their contract may be required to pay into the plan retroactively if their employer joins up anytime into their contract.

Previously, foreign employees were not able to recover pension contributions when they left Korea, but several years ago the Korean and Canadian governments reached a reciprocal accord on national pension contributions which enabled Canadian citizens to recover both their contributions and the contributions made by their employer.

Just last year, the United States joined Canada in a reciprocal social securities agreement with South Korea, but as of yet, no other countries have made such agreements, and as such, citizens of countries other than Canada and the USA are unable to recover their Korean national pension contributions.

Recovering Pension Contributions

In order to recover their pension contributions as well as contributions made by their employers, Canadian and American teachers are required to show proof that they are permanently leaving Korea. Usually a one-way ticket out of the country will suffice. The pension contributions will be sent by electronic wire transfer to an account in the employee’s home country, usually the day after the teacher is scheduled to depart.

Teachers whose employers put into the national pension fund can at any time verify the amount that has been contributed, both by themselves and by their employer, by calling or visiting any National Pension office. Their pension account number is the same as their alien registration number, which is found on the alien registration card which every teacher is required to get within 90 days of arriving in Korea.

Visit the National Pension Corporation website for information on Pension offices in your area.