|People gather at a traditional festival in Trieu Khuc village of Hanoi during the Tet holiday
The workshop, hosted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), gathered opinions of labour experts and business associations about draft amendments to the 2012 Labour Code, including the controversial draft regulation on the reduction of holidays.
Under the revisions, workers will have a five-day break for Tet. However, if it falls on a weekend, they will not have paid days off on the following Monday and Tuesday.
Many employers recommended not changing the current regulation despite doubts about its impact on enterprises’ business activities.
“For the garment industry, many workers are from the countryside," said Truong Van Cam, general secretary of the Vietnam Textile Association. "Therefore, companies should allow them to take paid days off when Tet falls on weekends to win their loyalty."
“Many fashion suppliers in southern provinces even let their workers to take Tet leave until the middle of the first lunar month," he said.
Do Thi Thuy Huong, a representative of the Vietnam Electronic Industry Association, agreed the change was unnecessary.
According to Pham Minh Huan, former Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the regulation was established in the 1994 Labour Code to allow employees to fully enjoy the biggest holiday of the year and ease traffic pressure before and after Tet.
Mai Duc Thien, deputy head of the ministry’s Legal Department, said the draft amendment was suggested because the break for the holiday – usually in late January or early February – was too long and comes as the rest of the world has already started working [after new year holidays]. This break affects business activities and export orders.
The ministry plans to add a public holiday on July 27, also known as the Vietnamese War Invalids and Martyrs’ Day, to pay tribute to the country’s heroes.
Bui Sy Loi, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, said he supported the draft amendment, noting that even with the addition of the holiday, Vietnam would still have only 11 public holidays per year, fewer than other countries in Southeast Asia.
“The NA Standing Committee has discussed the change but has not come to a conclusion," he said. "To make a final decision, we are seeking people’s opinions and evaluating social factors since working may be a better way to pay tribute than taking a day off.”