Lawmakers vote to maintain working hours and raise retirement ages

22-Nov-2019 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:02 AM Print This Post

National Assembly deputies today, November 20, voted to maintain a standard workweek of 48 hours, plus the annual maximum overtime of 300 hours a year applicable to Vietnamese workers, while increasing the respective retirement ages for male and female workers to 62 and 60.

The draft amended Labour Code gained landslide support, with 435 deputies out of the total 453 present casting their votes in favour, nine against and nine abstentions. It will take effect on January 1 next year.

The new law still regulates that normal working hours shall not exceed eight hours per day or 48 hours per week.

The employer has the right to determine the working hours on a daily or weekly basis, provided that the daily working hours do not exceed 10 hours per day, or 48 hours per week where a weekly basis is applied.

However, the State still encourages the employer to adopt a 40-hour work week.

With respect to overtime work, it is the duration of work performed at any other time than during regular working hours, as indicated in the law, collective bargaining agreements or internal work regulations of an employer.

The employer has the right to request the employee to work overtime when the employer obtains their consent and ensures that the number of overtime working hours does not exceed 50 percent of the normal working hours in one day.

For weekly work terms, the total normal working hours plus overtime working hours must not exceed 12 hours in one day.

However, the law has increased the monthly cap from 30 hours to 40 hours. While the annual overtime cap is still 200 hours under regular circumstances, it can be increased by up to 300 hours under special circumstances, such as for employees in labour-intensive sectors, including textiles, garments, footwear and electronics, as well as the food-processing industry involving agricultural, forestry and aquatic products.

Lawmakers decided to add an extra day off either before or after Vietnam’s National Day, which falls on September 2. According to many deputies, the longer holiday will help give working parents more time to relax and prepare for their children’s academic year, which formally starts on September 5.

Hikes in retirement ages

Lawmakers agreed to raise the current retirement ages of 60 for men and 55 for women to 62 and 60, respectively, based on a specific schedule.

The retirement ages will be hiked to 60 years and three months for men and 55 years and four months for women, starting from January 1, 2021.

Then, the retirement ages will rise by three months and four months per year for men and women, respectively, until they reach 62 for men by 2028 and 60 for women by 2035.

Under the new law, the early retirement will not exceed five years for those with a reduced working capacity or those working in dangerous conditions or doing physically demanding jobs.

Those with a high degree of expertise, working in leadership roles and in a number of special cases can retire no more than five years later than the normal retirement age.

The editing board of the amended law earlier stated that hiking the retirement ages is a necessary move, in line with Vietnam’s changing demographics.

The ratio of the working age population is decreasing, and the ratio of dependents is rising, while the average lifespan for the Vietnamese people has also increased, currently at 71.1 years in men and 81.3 years in women.

The number of people entering the local job market has been growing at a slower space in recent years. In 2013, Vietnam had 53 million workers, but five years later, the figure had inched up a mere two million to 55 million, according to the general Statistical Office.

Therefore, a hike in the retirement age is deemed necessary to prevent a labour crunch in the next two decades, as a result of an aging population.


Category: Economy, Vietnam

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