You Asked ( 27-02-2013)

Update: February, 27/2013 - 05:26

Dear Editor,

1. Will a female be able to start work at a company when six-months pregnant and qualify for six-months' worth of maternity leave to be paid by the company?

2. In what year did Viet Nam legislate for maternity leave to be paid by the company and how many months were granted?

Bailey Lennon

Dear Bailey,

Based on our consultation with lawyer Phung Quang Cuong of NH Quang & Associates, we can give you the following general answers:

1. Yes, a female is able to start working at a company when she is six-months pregnant.

Viet Nam's Labour Code does not ban companies from employing female workers who are pregnant.

Under Article 115, employers are not allowed to ask female workers who are between seven and nine months pregnant to undertake extra-work, night-shifts or business trips.

The code does not limit the rights of female workers to take maternity leave if they start work at a company when they are already pregnant.

The law, which was revised last year, has recently lifted the amount of available maternity leave from four months to six months. It regulates that all mothers can enjoy full payment for their maternity leave for six months, plus one subsidised payment equivalent to double the minimum wage if they have been paying social insurance for at least six months prior to delivery. These payments are paid by social insurance agencies.

For instance, a worker who is six-months pregnant (with a due date scheduled in May) can claim maternity leave for six-months in addition to the subsidised payment if she has joined and paid social insurance fees in full from September 2012. She should consult with the personnel staff or someone in charge of social insurance payment at her company for further details.

2. Before July 1, 1994, Viet Nam did not have any financial support mechanism for female workers during their maternity leave. They were just granted time off work. This was regulated in a decree issued in 1961.

However, in June 22, 1993, the Government issued Decree No 43/CP which temporarily regulated the financial support received by female workers during their maternity leave paid by social insurance agencies, not the employers.

In June 23, 1994, the National Assembly issued the Labour Code which officially regulated specific financial support for pregnant women.

We hope the information is useful to you.

The Editor