Monthly Newsletter of July 2021
As of July 31, 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 141,877 cases of infection in the country hit by the fourth COVID-19 wave (from April 27, 2021). The most severely hit areas are Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) with 91,989 infections and neighboring provinces, such as Binh Duong Province with 16,083 infections, Long An Province with 5,761 infections and Dong Nai Province with 4,486 infections.
There were 1,306 deaths announced due to the pandemic. On the other side, around 31,894 patients were given the all-clear during the month, raising the number of recoveries to 35,960 during this wave.
As of July 31, 2021, 5,931,376 doses have been vaccinated. In detail, 5,342,483 people were partially vaccinated and 588,893 people were fully vaccinated. Until now, Vietnam has received more than 12 million doses of vaccine support from other countries and partners, e.g. COVAX, United States (U.S.), Japan, China, Russia and etc. On July 27, Steve Lamar, president and CEO of American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) urged U.S. President Joe Biden to ramp up distribution of COVID-19 vaccine for several countries including Vietnam.
In order to prevent the outbreak, effected cities and provinces have been placed under strict social distancing or social isolation in accordance with the Government’s Directive No. 16/CT-TTg. Some provinces requested that businesses were only permitted to operate if they fully and strictly observe preventive measures, e.g. “3 on-the-spot” (factories themselves became quarantine centers as workers eat, live and work on the spot without leaving the premises) or “1 route – 2 destinations”. Any violators should be strictly fined. In order to flatten the infection curve, the Ho Chi Minh City tightened outdoor movement with specified time frames and reasons for going out.
By July 24, 100% of enterprises in Bac Giang province, which used to be the most hit province, have resumed operations. More than 121,000 workers have returned to work – about 4 times more than the initial target (to get 30,000 workers back to work by the end of July).
Source: Ministry of Health, AAFA, Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper and Online Newspaper of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
NEW LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
1. New Circular which amending and supplementing the Circular No. 59/2015/TT-BLDTBXH providing instructions on the implementation of regulations on compulsory social insurance.
The Circular No. 06/2021/TT-BLDTBXH dated July 7, 2021, amending and supplementing the Circular No. 59/2015/TT-BLDTBXH providing instructions on the implementation of regulations on compulsory social insurance. There are some specific points which affected to employers as below:
Supplement the subjects of application
Clause 1, Article 1 of Circular 06/2021 supplementing the subjects of application to participate in social insurance. In details, persons who work part-time in communes, wards and townships and concurrently working under indefinite-term labor contracts, definite-term labor contracts, seasonal labor contracts or contracts for given jobs with a term of between full 3 months and under 12 months, including labor contracts signed between employers and at-law representatives of persons aged under 15 years in accordance with the labor law; persons working under labor contracts with a term of between full one (1) month and under 3 months shall participate in social insurance specified as subjects of application signs labor contracts with employers.
Annual leave coincides with maternity leave
Clause 7, Article 1 of Circular 06/2021 supplementing guidance on maternity regimes in cases the employee is taking annual leave, personal leave, or unpaid leave. According to the provisions of labor law:
– The time coincides with the period of annual leave, personal leave, unpaid leave will not be eligible for regimes.
– The time out of annual leave, personal leave, unpaid leave will be calculated to maternity regimes according to the Article 32, Article 33, Clause 2, Article 34 and Article 37 of the Law on Social Insurance.
Convalescence and health rehabilitation after the maternity leave period
Clause 8, Article 1 of Circular 06/2021 aims to guide the provisions of Clause 1, Article 41 of the Law on Social Insurance: “Female employees whose health has not yet recovered within the first 30 working days after the maternity leave period specified in Article 33, or Clause 1 or 3, Article 34 of this Law, are entitled to a leave for convalescence and health rehabilitation of between 5 and 10 days”.
The first 30 working days as prescribed in Clause 1, Article 41 of the Law on Social Insurance is a period of 30 working days from the expiration of the maternity leave period but the health of the employee has not yet recovered.
At the same time, it supplements the regulation: Female employees who go to work prior to the expiration of the maternity leave period as prescribed in Article 40 of the Law on Social Insurance shall not receive the convalescence and health rehabilitation benefits after the leave period for childbirth.
Wage and benefit to pay and exempt in social insurance contributions
According to Article 1, clause 26 at this Circular, since January 1, 2021, monthly pay subject to the requirement of payment of social insurance contributions will include:
– Job- or position-based salary: state the salary paid based on the performance time of the job or position in the pay scale or payroll developed by the employer in Article 93 of the Labor Code; or state the piece work pay or fixed wage for an employee who receives piece work pay or fixed wage.
– Allowances to compensate factors such as working conditions, job complexity, employee’s life and employment attraction that the base salary agreed under the employment contract fails to take into account or sufficiently take into account.
– Additional payments with specific amounts in conjunction with the base salary agreed under the employment contract and to be paid regularly in every pay period.
Monthly pay subject to the requirement of payment of social insurance contributions will not include the following fringe benefits: bonuses prescribed in article 104 of the labor code; rewards for innovation; mid-shift meal allowance; fuel costs and mileage allowance; phone allowance; travel allowance; accommodation allowance; babysitting benefit; childcare benefit; death benefit inherited from employee’s relative; marriage allowance paid to employee’s relative; employee’s birthday benefit; benefits granted to employees in difficult situations due to any accident at work or occupational disease; other allowances and benefits classified into individual payment items covered by employment contracts as prescribed in Article 3, 5, c, c2 in the Circular No. 10/2020/TT-BLDTBXH (Additional payments with non-specific amounts in conjunction with the base salary agreed under the employment contract and to be paid regularly or irregularly in every pay period, associated with the job process and performance of the employee).
The Circular is entering into force as of September 1, 2021.
2. Resolution No. 68/NQ-CP and Decision No. 23/2021/QD-TTg on implementation of certain policies to support employees and employers facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic
On July 1, 2021, the Government has issued the Resolution No. 68/NQ-CP on certain policies to support employees and employers in difficulty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following that, on July 7, 2021, the Prime Minister has issued the Decision No. 23/2021/QD-TTg on implementation the Resolution, in which detailed instruction the eligible entities, eligibility requirements, procedures, application, amounts and method of support, etc., Procedures for receiving support are simplified and the processing time is minimized. No later than 07 – 10 days after receiving the application, the competent authorities must implement policies to support people and employers. The Resolution focuses on 2 objects: employees and employers who are deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly workers and direct workers. There are 12 policies to support employees and employers as below:
1. Reduction in insurance premiums for occupational accidents and diseases: Employers are entitled to a premium rate of 0% of the salary fund as the basis for paying social insurance premiums to the Insurance Fund for Occupational Accidents and Diseases for 12 months (from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) for employees eligible for occupational accident and disease insurance. The employer will support the monetary obtained from the reduction of contributions to the Insurance fund for occupational accidents and diseases for the employees in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The registration, selection of payment, use and management of the Insurance fund for occupational accidents and diseases shall comply with the law on social insurance and law on occupational accidents or diseases.
The payment period of occupational accident and disease insurance specified in Article 2 of the Decision 23/2021/QD-TTg shall be included in the period qualified for benefits of occupational accidents and diseases.
2. Suspension of contributions to the retirement and survivorship fund: Employers who have fully paid social insurance premiums or are temporarily suspending contributions to the retirement and the survivorship fund until the end of April 2021 but have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a downsizing of at least 15% employees who have contributed to social insurance compared to April 2021 (including the employees on furlough, suspension of employment contracts, and unpaid leave), the employees and the employers are entitled to a 6-month suspension of payment to the retirement and survivorship fund from the date of application submission but does not exceed 12 months.
3. Job retention, training programs for employees: Employers are entitled to a financial support from the unemployment insurance fund for training, retraining and skill enhancement. The maximum monthly assistance is 1,500,000 VND per employee, with a maximum support term of six months. Applications for support are submitted from July 1, 2021 until the end of June 30, 2022.
4. Assistance to employees on suspension of employment contracts, unpaid leave: Employees work for employers that temporarily cease operations at the request of the competent authorities for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, their started a period of suspension of employment contracts or unpaid leave is from 15 consecutive days or more from May 1, 2021 until the end of December 31, 2021, and they have contributed to compulsory social insurance up to the time of suspension of employment contracts or unpaid leave will be entitled to a lump-sum support with the rate VND 1,855,000 per person from 15 consecutive days to less than 1 month, and VND 3,710,000 per person for 1 (one) month or more.
5. Assistance to furloughed employees: A lump-sum support of VND 1,000,000 per person will be entitled to employees who have worked under an employment contract, be suspended under Clause 3, Article 99 of the Labor Code and have been quarantined or in a locked down area as required by the competent authority for 14 days or more during the period from May 1, 2021 until the end of December 31, 2021; and they have contributed to compulsory social insurance up to the time of suspension.
6. Assistance to employees with terminated employment contracts: Employees will be entitled to a lump-sum support of VND 3,710,000 per person if they are terminated their employment contracts due to the employer is temporarily cease operations at the request of the competent authorities for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic from May 1, 2021 until the end of December 31, 2021; and they have contributed to compulsory social insurance, but are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
7. Supplemental policy and policy for children: Pregnant employees who are suspended labor contract, unpaid leave, suspension employees, employees with terminated employment contracts are supported with an extra amount of VND 1,000,000 per person; those who are raising children or taking care of children under 6 years old are supported with an extra amount VND 1,000,000 per child under 6 years old, with either mother or father is supported. Children are received an extra amount of VND 1,000,000 per child from the state budget during the treatment and the isolation period from April 27, 2021 until the end of December 31, 2021.
8. Food allowance of VND 80,000 /person/day will be given to people who need to be treated with COVID-19 infection (F0) up to 45 days and who have to undergo medical isolation (F1) under a decision of a competent authority up to 21 days, from April 27, 2021 until the end of December 31, 2021.
9. A lump-sum support of VND 3,710,000 per person will be given to art directors, actors, painters holding a class IV professional titles in public sector entities engaged in performing arts (excluding art units of the armed forces) who have to stop performing arts for 15 days or more to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic and tour guides holding tourist guide cards affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during the period from May 1, 2021 until the end of December 31, 2021.
10. Assistance to household businesses: A lump-sum support of VND 3,000,000 will be given to household businesses which have registered business and taxes and have to cease operations for 15 consecutive days or more during the period from May 1, 2021 until the end of December 31, 2021 at the request of the competent authority to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic.
11. Loan policy to pay suspension wages and wages for production recovery: The employer is entitled to borrow a loan from the Bank for Social Policies at the interest rate of 0% and no loan security required to pay for suspension wages to the employees who have contributed to the compulsory social insurance and on suspension from 15 consecutive days or more as prescribed in Clause 3, Article 99 of the Labor Code, from May 1, 2021 until the end of March 31, 2022; and pay for employees when it resumes the business after suspending operations as the request of the competent authority to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, from May 1, 2021 until the end of March 31, 2022.
12. As for employees without an employment contract (self-employed) and some other specific entities, the support rate is not less than VND 1,500,000 per person per time or VND 50,000 per person per day.
The Decision is entering into force as of July 7, 2021.
OneStepVietnam employees work-from-home and provide remote services to customers
From 0:00 on July 9, 2021, all OneStepVietnam employees followed the Directive of the government and requirements of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City to implement work-from-home to protect ourselves and the community in the complicated situation of Covid-19.
During this period, OneStepVietnam still provides our remote services, including consultation and virtual audit (internal audit and audit for customers).
Summary of the remote consultation: OneStepVietnam team has been receiving many questions from the factories about the important topics in this period, such as:
– How to arrange “3 on-the-spot” at the production sites and how to encourage employees to ensure the balance of work, mental health, salary and COVID-19 protections.
– In case the lockdown keeps continuing for a long time, what are the solutions for the factory on many concerns of the employment relationship, such as retrenchment, termination, applying annual leave, leave with downtime payment, leave without pay, social insurance contribution, etc.
OneStepVietnam team with expertise knowledge and problem solving, based on the legal requirements, global information of COVID-19 and reality knowledge has been consulting many proper solutions to the factories to ensure the balance of workforce, human resources, management system, production, long-term preparation and long-term values of the supply chain.
Summary of the remote audit: OneStepVietnam team has been conducting virtual audits for the factories in the North of Vietnam, where the factory operates their site normally with COVID-19 precautions. OneStepVietnam team also conducted a virtual audit for one factory in Thailand in July 2021. In the closing meeting of one virtual audit in Vietnam, Director of the factory stated that he impressed about the virtual audit process and result of OneStepVietnam team in making virtual audit almost the same with normal on-site audit where he did not see any differences with strict procedure of OneStepVietnam team. He also stated that OneStepVietnam team supported his factory deeply in ensuring the management system and providing recommendations for the continuous improvement.
OneStepVietnam team – July 2021