Vietnam’s Employee-Friendly Labor Laws

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Overview. Employers, including multi-national employers with expatriate employees in Vietnam, should be aware that Vietnam employment laws provide strong protections for both local employees and expatriates. There are numerous unique aspects of Vietnam’s labor laws, including distinctions among entitlements depending upon the type of work conducted, as well as the gender of the employee. Many of the country’s statutory requirements, including those pertaining to leave and vacation, provide certain rights to employees who work under “normal” conditions, and greater entitlement for employees who work under hazardous, strenuous, or dangerous conditions. Also, certain preferential treatment is required for female employees and applicants, as well as for those with disabilities.

Employer’s obligations and employee’s rights are located in: 1) the Labour Code of Vietnam, first passed in 1994, and amended by the 2002 and 2006 Amended Law; 2) the Law on Social Insurance, which became effective in 2007, and which expanded the benefits to which employees are entitled in Vietnam; and 3) other government publications. Vietnam employment laws generally govern an employer’s obligations to both local Vietnamese workers and expatriates.

Labor contracts. Employers, especially multi-national employers, should understand that the laws in Vietnam are very strict pertaining to the creation of written employment contracts. Employers may employ workers with fewer than three months’ service through either an oral or written labor contract. However, employers must create a written contract for employees with three months’ or more of service that complies with statutory requirements. For example, labor contracts must include the terms and conditions of employment such as salary and rest time, as well as health and safety issues.

Probationary work periods. Vietnamese labor law allows both the employer and the employee to end the employment relationship immediately during the probationary period, which can be established by the employer as 30 days for most types of jobs, and 60 days if the job is one that requires high-level technical skills.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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