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The current minimum wage is both low and not in accordance with the Labor Code, Dang Ngoc Tung, President of Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, told the National Assembly Wednesday.
Dang Ngoc Tung, president of Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, speaks at the National Assembly meeting on May 23, 2012 , Photo: Tuoi Tre
Tung, a NA deputy, raised his comment at the May 23 meeting of the ongoing NA session when deputies were discussing possible amendments to the Labor Code.
He cited Article 92 of the Code as saying that “the minimum wage is the lowest wage rate that is paid to the employee who handles even the simplest work in normal working conditions and that must ensure the minimum living needs of the employee.”
“When a rise occurs in the cost-of-living index and causes a drop in the real wage of the employees, the Government shall adjust the minimum wage to ensure this real wage."
However, in practice, the current minimum wage rate - VND1.05 million (US$50.4) - only meets about 60 percent of minimum living needs. As such, the Government, which sets forth the rate, has failed to comply with the article, Tung said.
“I hoped that the Government would listen more to the public so that it can set a more practical minimum wage rate. When increased, the minimum wage will help improve wage earners’ living conditions and thereby reduce strikes or industrial disputes that are often triggered by low pay,” Tung said.
Tung also proposed that inflationary allowance be given to workers as a reimbursement to the inflation-caused devaluation of their wages and that this issue be one of the proposed amendments to the Code.
At the same time, annual bonuses should also be provided for in the Code, to protect employees’ interests, since reality has showed that many businesses have refused to pay bonuses to their employees to avoid losses,” Tung said.
“The law should stipulate that every business give an annual bonus equal to at least a one-month salary to each of its employees.”
With respect to overtime work, most of the deputies at the meeting agreed that the total number of extra working hours is not more than 200 hours per year. It could be higher for a number of certain special jobs, but must not exceed 300 hours.
Deputy Bach Thi Huong Thuy of Hoa Binh province voices her opinions about the maternity leave (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Maternity leave, retirement age
Most of the deputies agreed that a 6-month leave should be given to expectant mothers and that pregnant women should be granted the right to decide when they will use the leave, giving them the option to take part of the leave before giving birth and the rest after, or otherwise.
However, women who want to resume work four months after giving birth will also be accepted.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa, of Bac Ninh, chairman of the Vietnam Women Union, said there should be a specific maternity leave regime for women in rural or remote areas and especially for women who have yet to enjoy social insurance.
If current regulations are kept unchanged, the newborns of women without social insurance will be given no support from society.Agreeing with Hoa, Nguyen Van Ve, a deputy from Thai Binh Province, proposed that specific support for mothers-to-be without social insurance be provided for in the Code.
Regarding the retirement age, most deputies agreed that it should be 60 for men and 55 for women.
However, Ngo Thi Minh of Quang Ninh Province said, “If the retirement ages are so regulated, women’s salaries at the time of retirement will always be lower than men’s. Therefore, if it is the case, the time limit for raising salary levels for women should be only two and a half years, instead of three years as is currently applied for both men and women. Alternatively, when women retire at 55, they should be given five more years of social insurance.”
Meanwhile, Bui Thi An, of Hanoi, did not agree to the retirement age of 55 for women, saying that women from the ages of 55-60, especially those working in sectors with high need for grey matter, are an abundant and high quality human resource.
Source: Tuoi Tre
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