Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs is preparing an amendment to the Labor Law that will cut the maternity benefits female workers are currently entitled to.
Under the existing law, female workers with babies of under 12 months old are given an hour off during the day, whilst those who are on their menstrual cycles are provided a 30 minute break.
If the proposed amendment is passed by lawmakers, these breaks will be scrapped.
|Laborers work at a garment factory in Hung Yen province, outside Hanoi January 5, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Ha Dinh Bon, director of the ministry’s Department of Legal Affairs, said many companies have asked for these breaks to be eliminated to avoid negative impacts on their businesses.
Bon said that female workers in Vietnam have a longer maternity leave than many other countries in the region, which adds up to six months.
In Malaysia, most companies give their female employees 60-day paid maternity leave, while the figure in Indonesia is no more than 90 days, according to media reports from the respective countries.
If female workers are given these benefits, employers are less likely to consider hiring women, Bon added.
Under the current law, employers are not allowed to ask female workers to work nights, overtime or go on long-distance business trips if they are more than 7 months pregnant or have babies under 12 months old.
Employers are not permitted to sack or unilaterally end contracts with female employees when they get married, pregnant or have babies under 12 months old according to the current law.
The draft amendment will be submitted to the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, in April for consideration.