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Employers to decide on Tet bonuses after difficult year

Update: January, 26/2015 - 08:32

Pham Minh Huan, deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, spoke to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) about Tet bonuses this year.

As Tet draws near, wage-earners are expecting Tet bonuses from their employers. What will those bonuses look like?

In 2014, generally speaking, Vietnamese enterprises were facing quite a lot of difficulties with production. However, according to reports from ministries, sectors and localities, most enterprises have made plans to give Tet bonuses to their employees, and the bonus this year will be the same or higher than that of last year. Tet bonuses from foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises will be the highest. They are followed by State-owned enterprises.

Could you tell us more about what workers around the country can expect for their bonuses?

On average, Tet bonuses won't rise as much this year as in previous years. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs conducted a survey of 13,189 enterprises with 2.5 million employees in 63 cities and provinces nationwide and an investigation of wages in more than 2,000 enterprises in 17 provinces and cities in 3 key economic regions. The results showed an increase of 6 per cent compared with the previous year. In the years before 2013, the increase was about 13 to 15 per cent. If we subtract inflation, 4.08 per cent, a worker's wage and their real income in 2014 did not improve much. For reference, a worker's monthly wage, on average, is VND 5.11 million ($240).

Regarding 2015 New Year's bonuses, for both the calendar year and Tet, I should say they are a little bit better than in 2014. Notably, over 80 per cent of enterprises in the survey showed that during the new calendar year, the bonus each worker received was VND 1.55 million (on an average) - equal to 140.7 per cent of 2013's. In the survey, most enterprises said they would give each worker about VND 5.03 million as a bonus during Tet - an increase of 15 per cent compared with that of the previous year. So in the context of production difficulties, this is an indication of the great efforts on the side of the employers and of the employees.

However, some people complain that they will receive a small amount – VND 30,000 ($1.4) – for their Tet bonus. What are your comments on that?

Concerning the lowest bonuses, it very difficult to give the right answer, as the bonuses vary from one enterprise to another. A report from one province said one enterprise was giving employees VND 30,000 each. If this is true, it is great worry.

At this time, we have not received reports on Tet bonuses from about 20 per cent of companies. We have already sent official letters asking the provincial departments of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to go down to these enterprises and ask them to give Tet bonuses to their employees. The Tet bonus is a traditional Vietnamese gift from employers to employees.

Do you think workers' salaries will be better this year than last year?

Generally speaking, salaries were stable and saw an increase of about 6 per cent in 2014. Workers' salaries are about VND 7 million ($333) per month on average. However, salaries could be different for people working in bigger companies. And salaries of people who work for FDI enterprises are VND 4.8 million per month on average, while private enterprise workers make about VND 4.3 million per month.

Workers' incomes improved quite a bit in 2014. According to a survey conducted in 2,000 enterprises, on average, workers make about VND 5.1 million - an increase of 6 per cent over the previous year. In 2015, our policy on salaries will be improved. For example, salaries will be based on the market economy and negotiation agreements. At the same time, starting in 2015, enterprise owners will be given the autonomous right to decide employees' salaries based on these principles: labour productivity, the enterprise's business production, and mutual benefits between the State, enterprises and workers. — VNS

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