The revised Vietnam Labor Code in 2019 was passed by the National Assembly on November 20, 2019 and took effect on January 1, 2021. This new law has many regulations changed, in order to support and protect the rights of workers in the best way.

Enterprises and employees need to grasp and understand the new contents in this Code to exercise their labor rights and obligations in accordance with law. Here are the new points that need the most attention in the Labor Code 2019.


1. Employees are allowed to authorize others to receive salaries instead

The Labor Code 2019 stipulates: “In case the employee cannot receive a direct salary, the employer may pay the wages of the person legally authorized by the employee.”

Previously, the Labor Code 2012 did not stipulate this content. However, in the case of sick workers, accidents cannot directly receive salaries… allowing authorized workers to receive wages is essential.


2. Supplementing the form of signing an electronic labor contract

In order to catch up with the trend of industrialization 4.0 and the development of science and technology, the conclusion of labor contracts is no longer merely in the form of text, words or behavior. Article 14 of the new Labor Code further recognizes the form of signing labor contracts through electronic means and is as legally valid as conventional written contracts.

In addition, in cases where the two parties agree by another name but have the content of showing paid employment, wages and the management, administration and supervision of one party, it is still considered as an employment contract.


3. Employers are not allowed to sign labor contracts to deduct debts

“Forcing employees to perform labor contracts to repay debts to employers” is clearly stated in Clause 3, Article 17 of the Labor Code 2019 on acts that employers are not allowed when concluding and performing labor contracts.

Therefore, the employer does not have the right to force the employee to sign an employment contract for the purpose of deducting debts.


4. Roadmap to increase the retirement age for employees

Compared to the 2012 Code, the retirement age of workers has been significantly increased. In addition, specific jobs are also more clearly regulated about retiring before the age.

Article 169 of the new Labor Code specifies: “The retirement age of workers under normal working conditions is adjusted according to the roadmap until the age of 62 for male workers in 2028 and full 60 years for female workers in 2035. From 2021, the retirement age of employees under normal working conditions is 60 years and 03 months for men; 55 years and 4 months for women. After that, every year increases by 03 months for male workers; 4 months for female workers.”

However, for persons with impaired working capacity or those who do heavy, toxic, dangerous or particularly heavy, hazardous, dangerous work or work in places with particularly difficult socio-economic conditions, they may retire at a lower age but not more than 05 years of age than specified in paragraph 2.


5. Seasonal labor contracts cancelled

In Article 20 of the latest Labor Code, labor contracts are concluded only in one of the following categories:

  • An indefinite-term labor contract is a contract in which the two parties do not specify the term and time of termination of the contract.
  • A term-defined labor contract is a contract in which the two parties determine the term and time of termination of the contract for a period not exceeding 36 months from the effective date of the contract.

As such, the content of the seasonal contract or under a job with a term of less than 12 months has been cancelled.


6. Increase national day holiday time 02/09

In order to create conditions for workers to have more time to participate in activities to celebrate the National Independence Day, increase political significance, and enhance national pride. At the same time, meeting the aspirations of workers needs more time to rest, family reunions and help children, students and students prepare for the opening day of the new school year.

Point đ Clause 1 Article 112 of the Labor Code 2019 stipulates that on The National Day holiday on September 2, employees will be entitled to 02 days off (September 2 of the calendar and 01 adjacent day before or after).

Therefore, the total number of upcoming annual holidays and Tet holidays will be raised to 11 days. Employees will be off work but still enjoy the full salary during these holidays and Tet holidays.


7. Detailed Payslips must be made when paying salaries to employees

In order to increase transparency and clarity when paying workers’ salaries, the latest Labor Code 2019 adds that when paying wages, employers must notify detailed payrolls to employees, which clearly state the wages, overtime wages, night work wages, contents and amounts deducted (if any). In terms of the form of pay, the employee and the employer agree on their own, can pay the salary from time to time, product or stock.


8. The right to unilaterally terminate the employee’s contract

Under the current Code, employees can only unilaterally terminate the contract when working with a definite-term labor contract, seasonal labor contract or under a certain job with a term of less than 12 months when it is in the cases specified in Clause 1, Article 37 of the Labor Code 2012.

However, with the new Labor Code, in order to overcome the limitations and difficulties of employees, Article 35 of the Labor Code 2019 allows employees the right to unilaterally terminate the contract without reason but only to notify the employer in advance as follows:

  • At least 45 days if working under an indefinite-term labor contract.
  • At least 30 days if working under a definite labor contract with a term of 12-36 months.
  • At least 03 working days if working under a definite labor contract with a term of less than 12 months.
  • For some specific occupations and jobs, the time limit for notice shall be prescribed by the Government.

In addition, Clause 2 of Article 35 stipulates that in some cases, employees have the right to unilaterally terminate labor contracts without notice, specifically as follows:

  • Not arranged according to the right work, place of work or not guaranteed working conditions as agreed.
  • Not paid in full or on time.
  • Abused, beaten or verbally abused by an employer, humiliating or acts affecting health, dignity and honor; Forced labor.
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Pregnant female workers have to quit their jobs.
  • Full retirement age, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties.
  • The employer provides dishonest information that affects the performance of the employment contract.


9. Increase overtime hours by month

In the short term, the normal working hours of employees will remain the same in accordance with the current Code. However, there will be a roadmap to adjust the reduction of normal working hours at the appropriate time in the coming time.

For overtime hours, in Article 107 of the Labor Code 2019, the National Assembly has decided not to increase overtime hours during the year. Specifically as follows:

“Ensuring that the overtime hours of employees are not more than 50% of the normal working hours in 01 day; if the working hours of the week apply, the total number of normal working hours and overtime hours shall not exceed 12 hours per day; no more than 40 hours per month; no more than 200 hours per year, except in special cases, no more than 300 hours per year.”

The only difference between the Labor Code in 2019 and 2012 is that the number of overtime hours in the month increased to 40 hours instead of 30 hours and more specifically the cases of overtime up to 300 hours per year such as production and processing of products are textiles, garments, leather, shoes, electrical components, electronics, agricultural processing, forestry, fisheries; electricity supply, telecommunications, oil refining; water supply and drainage.


10. Regulations on apprenticeship and apprenticeship period of employees

Unlike the 2012 Code, the revised Labor Code has supplemented the provisions on the duration of apprenticeships and apprenticeships of employees. The apprenticeship period of the employee will last no more than 3 months and the apprenticeship period of the employee according to the training program with each level will be carried out in accordance with the Law on Vocational Education.


11. Regulations on probation

The probation period agreed upon by the two parties is based on the nature and complexity of the work but can only be tried once for one job and guarantees the following conditions:

– No more than 180 days for the work of the enterprise manager in accordance with the Law on Enterprises, the Law on Management and Use of State capital invested in production and business at the enterprise;

– No more than 60 days for a job with a professional title requiring professional and technical qualifications from college or higher;

– No more than 30 days for jobs with professional titles requiring professional qualifications, intermediate technical qualifications, technical workers, professional personnel;

No more than 6 working days for another job.

At the end of the probation period, the employer must notify the test result to the employee.

During the probation period, each party has the right to cancel the probation contract or labor contract concluded without notice and without compensation.


12. Regulations on payment of non-used annual leaves

The Labor Code 2019 stipulates: “In case of quitting, losing their jobs without annual leave used or not taking all the annual leave days, the enterprise shall pay wages for non-used annual leaves.”

Thus, if the employee is still working at the enterprise but has not taken the full annual leave, the enterprise shall not pay wages for the non-used annual leaves.

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