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Overtime work laws may change

Released at: 08:30, 14/12/2016

Overtime work laws may change

Photo: Duc Anh

Vietnam is considering to increase the allowable overtime work to 600 hours per year in order to remain competitive in the region.

by Le Diem

Vietnamese employee may work a maximum of 600 extra hours per year, according to a proposal from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).

At the moment, it is a maximum of 30 extra hours per month and 200 extra hours per year for a worker, according to Article 106 of Vietnam’s Labor Code. In some specific areas like textiles and garments, leather, aquaculture processing, telecommunications, water and power supplies, overtime is capped at 300 hours per year.

Two plans have been considered, according to MoLISA. One is that the working time of an employee will be no more than 12 hours per day and less than five continuous days of 12 hours working each overtime period. The other is the same but limited to a maximum of 600 hours per year.

The move comes to meet the proposals of private firms, particularly foreign enterprises and also to meet the demand of a large group of laborers who want to work extra hours to increase their income. It is also expected to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese workers with other countries in the region.

The maximum number of overtime hours allowed in Vietnam is currently much less than other Southeast Asian countries. It is now 1,872 hours per year in Thailand, 1,456 hours per year in South Korea, 1,248 hours per year in Malaysia, 865 hours per year in Singapore, 728 hours per year in Indonesia, 540 hours per year in Laos and no limit in Cambodia and the Philippines.

Source: Talentnet Corporation, December 2016.

"We would like to remind that Vietnam's overtime cap is much stricter than anywhere else in the region," said Mr. Colin Blackwell, Vietnam Business Forum (VBF)'s Head of labor sub-committee who is also a judge of the Vietnam HR Awards 2016 which Talentnet Corporation was a co-organizer.

The extra working time in Vietnam does not meet some factors of work requirements of different enterprises such as the high and low periods, according to Mr Ryu Hang Ha, Chairman of Overseas Korean Trader Association. The association suggested that the enterprises could increase the overtime in the peak time for the demand of production and vice versa.

Mr. Taiji Yanai, President of Japan Business Association (JBA) believed that the current limit of overtime working hours should be changed flexibly. "It seems that the current regulation which stipulates same limitation of overtime working would not be appropriate, not only for the various industries who wish to have flexible working practice but also the workers who wish to seek more payment and deepen the specialties on their jobs," he said at VBF held on December 5.

"Therefore we wish the regulation can be diversified based on the situation of each industry," he recommended. Mr Colin Blackwell believed that once the overtime cap is changed, it would help all foreign and domestic businesses to be more flexible and competitive.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked relevant ministries and agencies to consider adjusting the overtime limit following recommendations, with the aim to meet the market demand and international rule.

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