President Moon has also promised to regulate employers' abuse of so-called "voluntary separation programs" (also referred to as "early retirement programs"). Under President Moon's proposed changes, a company would not be permitted to create a so-called "blacklist" which lists the targeted employees whose resignations the company wishes to accept under the program. Most significantly, a two-week cooling off period would be imposed, during which employees could withdraw their submitted application forms.


It is a prevalent practice among companies in Korea to prepare a "blacklist" when designing a voluntary separation program. Expressly prohibiting a "blacklist" will have a significant impact on companies' current practices. Moreover, a mandatory two-week cooling-off period is an entirely new exception to the existing jurisprudence on voluntary resignation, whereby a resignation letter is treated as an offer which cannot be withdrawn once accepted. Overall, companies will likely find it more challenging to use voluntary separation programs as a way of effecting restructurings.