HA NOI (VNS) — Many Vietnamese workers are not able to find their work contracts or have not even seen one. This is despite regulations set out in the country's Labour Code that stipulate employees must be given a copy of their work contract.
Pham Thi Yen, a worker at the Thang Long Industrial Park in Ha Noi, said she lost her copy after she moved to a new apartment a few years ago. While she understood that this might lead to future complications, she didn't think much of it.
"Everything is going just fine. I'm not that worried about it," she said. When asked if she was aware of what was written in the contract she said she could not remember.
Ly Manh Dung, another worker in the Thang Long Industrial Park said he did not know why he had to keep a copy.
"It is not big deal, is it? I still have it, but I never had any use for it until now," Dung said.
He said workers often signed contracts without reading them carefully. Most did not have a clear understanding of all the terms and agreements set out in the agreement.
While some workers are not aware of the importance of keeping a copy, others are afraid to ask for one, not knowing it is in their legal interests to do so.
President of the Workers' Union for industrial parks in northern Thai Binh Province, Le Giang, said that without a contract, it was difficult to protect workers' rights when conflicts arose in a relationship between employer and employee.
"We had to resort to collecting copies of their pay checks every month just to establish there was a relationship at all," said Giang, "it often required a lot more work and time to address a complaint."
Vu Thi Huong, deputy director of a legal consulting centre in Ha Noi said that workers without a work contract created numerous loopholes that could be exploited to their disadvantage. In some cases, employers even modified the duration of workers' contract without them knowing.
"I always advise workers to carefully read the contract before signing and to keep copies with them just in case," Huong said, adding that in recent years, workers' awareness of the matter had improved, but still left much to be desired.
Huong added that the contract was one of best documents to settle disputes between workers and employers. — VNS