VCN - The draft revised Labour Law is being reviewed by relevant units to be submitted to the National Assembly for approval in October 2019. Fisheries enterprises propose to the keep working hours of 48 hours per week instead of 44 hours as in the draft.
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Increase costs of enterprises
According to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), in this draft, it is proposed to reduce the working hours from 48 hours per week to 44 hours per week.
According to information from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), fisheries enterprises proposed the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to keep the working hours in the revised Labour Law at 48 hours per week as per current regulations.
According to VASEP, the reduction of extra hours in the context of enterprises facing many difficulties will increase the burden and impact on enterprises and the economy.
Currently, even if Vietnam regulates the standard working time of 48 hours per week, enterprises in many industries, such as textiles and fishery, leather and footwear, have to arrange overtime working of 300 hours per year as prescribed. Some enterprises violate the regulations on overtime work to deliver goods on time, avoid contractual fines or deliver goods by plane.
If reducing from 48 hours per week at present to 44 hours per week, enterprises will have to increase costs for 4 hours per week from normal working time to pay overtime at least 150%, 200% or 300% of the unit price, which depends on the extra day. For an enterprise with 2, 000 employees, it will have to pay an additional VND 5 billion per year.
Moreover, according to research by the International Labour Organization (ILO), high-income countries tend to set standard working hours lower than those of middle and low-income countries. Asia is home to many countries regulating the longest working hours, while many countries (32 percent) have no limit for weekly maximum working hours and 29 percent of countries have working hours at a high level (60 hours per week or more). Only 4 percent of countries comply with ILO recommendations and set international labour standards with a maximum of 48 hours or less per week.
Per capita income is low
Compared per capita income and working hours in some ASEAN countries, Vietnam's development and per capita income is lower than other countries in the region, while most countries still maintain a standard working time of 48 hours per week.
According to VASEP, the draft revised Labour Law introduces a regulation on payment for overtime work by progressive method, while working hours are expected to decrease, increasing costs for labour and raising the burden on Vietnamese enterprises and reducing their competitiveness.
Foreign enterprises are concerned about high increases in Vietnam's labour costs after the regulation on reduction of working hours is issued, especially when Vietnam's social insurance premiums are at a high level in the region and Vietnam’s minimum regional wage has increased steadily over the years. This makes many foreign enterprises leave from Vietnam and other enterprises that are planning to invest in Vietnam due to the US-China trade war change their investment to other countries in the region.
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Considering the effects and adverse impacts on Vietnamese enterprises in particular, for the Vietnamese economy in general and considering the correlation of other countries in the current status of economic development similar to Vietnam, VASEP proposes to keep the number of working hours in the revised Labour Law to 48 hours per week as per current regulations.
By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang