The Supreme Court has ruled that if an employee returning from parental leave is given a substantially lower level than before, it is an unfair job change.

There are many more things to consider other than wages, and reporter Han So-hee explains the details.


A man in his 40s, who worked as a manager of a non-food section such as clothing at a Lotte Mart branch, applied for parental leave in 2015.

Mr. A applied for reinstatement for personal reasons after about half a year, but the company said that he had placed an alternate worker in Mr. A's place, and appointed him to be in charge of refrigeration and freezing sales, two steps lower than the previous manager.

[Kim Se-hee / Mr. A's litigation agent (KCTU Court): (Manager) has a personality similar to that of a manager.

The sales person does not have the authority to evaluate personnel or anything like that, and is responsible for practical tasks (such as arranging and arranging items in the store.)]

Mr. A filed an application for relief and was judged unfairly by the Central Labor Relations Commission, but the company is a representative employee. I filed a lawsuit claiming that Mr. A was only given the managerial position, which is the managerial level, on a temporary basis depending on the circumstances of the company.

The courts of the first and second trial ruled in favor of the company, saying, "It cannot be said that Mr. A returned to a job that paid a different level of pay than before the leave of absence," but the Supreme Court was different.

The case was sent back to the Seoul High Court, saying that it was an unfair change of position from a manager who oversees store operation and has the authority to evaluate personnel, to a sales manager who does not have such authority.

The Supreme Court also suggested standards that should be considered not only before and after the leave of absence, but also whether there are any disadvantages in the nature, authority, and responsibility of the job, as well as how much effort the company has made to grant equal duties.