People gather at a traditional festival in Triều Khúc Village, Hà Nội during the Tết holiday. A draft revision to the labour code would not give employees Monday and Tuesday off as paid holidays when Tết falls on a weekend. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hùng
HÀ NỘI When the Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) holiday falls on a weekend, workers should still enjoy the following Monday and Tuesday as paid public holidays, business associations said at a workshop on revisions to the labour code on Tuesday.
The workshop, hosted by the Việt Nam 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 Tết. 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 Trương Văn Cẩm, general secretary of the Việt Nam Textile Association. "Therefore, companies should allow them to take paid days off when Tết falls on weekends to win their loyalty."
“Many fashion suppliers in southern provinces even let their workers to take Tết leave until the middle of the first lunar month," he said.
Đỗ Thị Thuý Hương, a representative of the Việt Nam Electronic Industry Association, agreed the change was unnecessary.
According to Phạm Minh Huân, 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 Tết.
Mai Đức Thiện, 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.
Bùi Sỹ Lợi, vice chairman of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee, said he supported the draft amendment, noting that even with the addition of the holiday, Việt Nam would still have only 11 public holidays per year, fewer than other countries in Southeast Asia.
“The NA Steering 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.” VNS