Republic of Korea

Region: Asia

Disability Definition

According to the Act on Welfare of Persons with Disabilities, the term “person with a disability” means a person who is hampered by substantial long-term impairment in daily life or social activity due to physical or mental disability.

Persons with disabilities governed by this Act shall be persons who fall under the types and standards of disability prescribed by Presidential Decree as persons who have a disability falling under any of the following subparagraphs:

1. The term “physical disability” means a disability of principal external bodily functions and internal organs, etc.;

2. The term “mental disability” means a disability caused by psychological development disorder or mental disease.


The Act on Welfare of Persons with Disabilities recognizes the rights of people with disabilities as equal members of Korean society and outlines anti-discrimination policies so as to uphold these rights.

The Anti-Discrimination against and Remedies for Persons with Disabilities Act was enacted on April 10, 2007 with the purpose “to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in all aspects of life, and to effectively safeguard the rights and interests of individuals discriminated against on the ground of disability, thus enabling them to fully participate in society and establish their right to equality which will ensure their human dignity and sense of value” (Article 1). The act specifically prohibits both explicit discrimination against people with disabilities and “disability-blind standards that cause the disabled persons to be unfairly treated without justifiable grounds, despite the absence of explicitly unfavorable treatment” (Article 4).

Employer Legal Requirements

Employers in government and public institutions must maintain a workforce of which people with disabilities comprise at least 3.4%. Private enterprises must employ at least 3.1% people with disabilities. (Source: Korea Employment Agency for Persons with Disabilities).

Each employer shall provide the following legitimate convenience to the disabled persons so that they can work on an equal basis with persons without disabilities in performing their respective duties:

Installing or remodeling facilities or devices;

Modifying or adjusting working hours to accommodate rehabilitation, function tests, treatment, etc.;

Providing training opportunities or legitimate convenience in training;

Modifying instruction manuals or reference materials;

Improving examination or evaluation procedures;

Installing and operating auxiliary equipment for disabled persons, such as screen readers and enlargement programs, paperless braille handsets, magnifying readers, and print-to-voice converters, and placing support staff, including readers and Korean sign language interpreters.
No employer may assign any disabled person to different tasks against his/her will on the basis of disability without justifiable grounds. (Anti-Discrimination against and Remedies for Persons with Disabilities Act Chapter II, Article 11)

Accessibility Requirements

The Republic of Korea publishes a standard, the Korean Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, that provides the public with clear technical specifications for determining whether content is accessible. South Korean Digital Accessibility Laws: An Overview
Article 11 – Act on the Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities and Remedies for Rights, etc.

Article 18 Act on the Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities and Remedies for Rights, etc.

The owner or manager of a facility shall not restrict, exclude, separate, or reject persons with disabilities when they access or use the facility or evacuate in an emergency.

The owner/manager of the facility shall not restrict, exclude, separate, or refuse to bring in or use assistance dogs and assistive devices for the disabled, etc. into the facility.
The owner or manager of a facility shall not refuse to provide justifiable conveniences, such as evacuation and installation of evacuation facilities, without justifiable grounds for persons with disabilities to access or use the facility or to evacuate in case of emergency.
In applying paragraph (3), necessary matters, such as the step-by-step scope of facilities subject to the application and the content of legitimate convenience, shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree in consideration of the matters stipulated in related laws, etc.

Cultural Norms

Korean views and attitudes towards disabled people are generally negative. Because of this, living with life-long disabilities in Korea means pain for oneself and one’s family. Also, family members think that the disability is detrimental to their social standing and try to hide the disabled person. Koreans believe that having disabilities is the result of the geomantic system of topography used in choosing auspicious sites for graves and houses, sins committed in a previous existence, the fault of an ancestor, or a wicked ghost. (Meaning of life for adolescents with a physical disability in Korea).

Another article expounds at length on Korean culture and its interaction with perspectives on disability.

Business Practices/Examples

Additional content coming soon.


The Korean Employment Agency for Persons with Disabilities provides employment success packages for people with disabilities on an application basis and gives out assistive technology devices. The organization also provides loans for businesses looking to make their workplaces accessible and offers certification services for businesses that wish to become a “Standard Workplace for Persons with Disabilities.”

Supplier Diversity

Additional content coming soon.

Talent Sourcing Resources

Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled – To support disabled people to become independent through professional life, and to professionally support employers in hiring disabled people

Additional Resources

Korean Disabled People’s Institute – Helping people with disabilities to have independent living and work toward realizing a more accessible society for persons with disability.They also put great efforts to make a more inclusive society for persons with disability and create enabling environment for independent living.

Disability Discrimination Acts of Solidarity in Korea – A committee that promotes the establishment of disability rights laws in Korea


Anti-Discrimination against and Remedies for Persons with Disabilities Act

Disability Employment Incetives/Levy

South Korea Disability Resources


Additional content coming soon.
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