Monthly Newsletter of June 2021
As of June 30, 2021 Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 14,200 cases of infection (13,684 domestic and 516 imported cases) in 48 cities and provinces hit by the fourth COVID-19 wave (from April 27, 2021). The south central provinces of Phu Yen and Binh Thuan, and the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho are the latest localities reporting community infection cases of COVID-19. While the most severely hit areas are Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) with 3,372 cases (49 cases in May 2021) and Bac Giang Province with 5,569 cases (2,155 cases in May 2021). The death toll stood at 81 due to the pandemic. The ministry also announced 200 patients were declared free of the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 6,840.
In order to prevent the outbreak, effected cities and provinces have been placed under social distancing or social isolation in accordance with the Government’s Directive No. 15/CT-TTg and No. 16/CT-TTg. Especially, Ho Chi Minh City has applied Directive 10 /CT-UBND issued by the Local People’s Committee and banned gatherings of over three amid complex COVID-19 evolution.
Since 19th this month, HCMC has run the largest ever vaccination campaign. In this campaign, the city will administer a total of 836,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to its citizens (around 6 percent of the population) at 650 vaccination sites with the participation of 5,000 health workers.
As of 16:00 on June 30, 2021, a total of 3,776,980 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the country. In which, the number of people who have been fully vaccinated with 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine is 193,041 people. The Vietnamese Government sets a goal to acquire 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year to cover 70 percent of the country’s population.
The third of the human trials of Made-in-Vietnam vaccine – Nano Covax officially started on June 7. As scheduled, this phase would be completed at the end of this September. Earlier, results from the second stage of human trials of Nano Covax showed the vaccine is safe.
Industrial production in the second quarter of 2021 grew quite well because production and business activities of enterprises were maintained and gradually recovered, the index of industrial production (IIP) was estimated to increase by 8.91% over the same period last year. Of which, the textile production rose 8.6%, apparel production went up by 8.9%, leather production reached 12.9%, footwear production went up by 11.4%, furniture production peaked up by 15.3% and rubber and plastic rose 4.5%.
Source: Ministry of Health General Statistics Office of Vietnam and Online Newspaper of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
1. New regulation of work permit for foreign workers working in Vietnam
Work permit is an official certificate to allow its holder to work in Vietnam legally. In order to be eligible for Vietnam work permit application, the foreigners have employment in a company/entity registered and recognized in Vietnam. It was governed by the Labor Code No. 45/2019/QH14 and the Decree 152/2020/ND-CP on foreign workers working in Vietnam and recruitment and management of Vietnamese workers working for foreign employers in Vietnam which effective from February 15, 2021. This Decree has replaced the Decree No. 11/2016/ND-CP on elaboration of certain articles of the Labor Code regarding foreign workers in Vietnam, amended by the Decree No. 140/2018/ND-CP. There are some new points and updates as below:
Conditions for foreigners to work in Vietnam
A foreigner wishing to work in Vietnam must have full civil act capacity. (Article 169, Labor Code 10/2012/QH13)
The updated regulation defined a foreign employee means a person who has a foreign nationality at least 18 years of age and has full civil act capacity (Article 151, Labor Code 45/2019/QH14)
Foreign workers exempt from work permits
Eighteen (18) objects
Besides 17 objects, there are new requirements for below 3 objects:
– He/she is the owner or capital contributor of a limited liability company, Chairperson or a member of the Board of Directors of a joint-stock company with a capital contribution value of at least 3 billion VND.
– Gets married to a Vietnamese citizen and wishes to reside in Vietnam.
– He/she is certified by the Ministry of Education and Training as a foreign worker entering Vietnam for teaching and research purpose.
Requirements of “expert” and “technician” to obtain work permit
An expert means a foreign worker who:
a) Has a document certifying that he/she is an expert of an overseas agency, organization or enterprise; or
b) Has a bachelor’s degree or equivalent or higher qualifications provided that he/she has worked at least 03 years in his/her training field in corresponding with the job position that he/she shall be appointed in Vietnam and other special cases upon the consideration and decision of the Prime Minister.
Technicians are workers who had undergone training in technique or other majors for at least 01 year and have worked for at least 03 years in their training fields.
“Expert” means a foreign worker who:
a) Obtains at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and at least 03 years’ experience in his/her training field in corresponding with the job position/job assignment that he/she will be appointed in Vietnam;
b) Obtains at least 5 years’ experience and a practicing certificate in corresponding with the job position that he/she will be appointed in Vietnam.
“Technical worker” means a foreign worker who:
a) Has been trained in technical field or another major for at least 01 year and have worked for at least 03 years in his/her training field; or
b) Obtains at least 5 years’ experience in corresponding with the job position that he/she will be appointed in Vietnam.
Duration of work permit
The maximum validity duration of a work permit is 2 years. (Article 173, Labor Code 10/2012/QH13). No regulation of work permit extension.
The maximum duration of a work permit is 02 years. A work permit may be extended once for up to 02 more years. (Article 155, Labor Code 45/2019/QH14)
Procedures for issuance of work permit
– At least 15 working days before the day on which the foreign worker intends to start the employment.
– Within 07 working days from the day on which the sufficient application is received, the Service of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs shall issue the work permit to the foreign worker. (Article 12, Decree 11/2016/ND-CP).
The application submission time is shortened compared to the old regulations:
– At least 15 days before the day on which a foreign worker starts to work.
– Within 5 working days after receiving a duly completed application, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of province where the foreign worker is expected to work shall issue a work permit to the foreign worker (Article 11, Decree 152/2020/ND-CP).
Re-issuance of a work permit
The unexpired work permit is lost, damaged or the contents stated in the issued work permit are changed.
The work permit is re-issued in cases: the unexpired work permit is lost or damaged or needs changes of full name, nationality, passport number, or working place thereon (Article 12, Decree 152/2020/ND-CP). And the term of the re-issued work permit is the remaining term of the old work permit. This regulation is clearer than the old one.
Renewal of work permit
This is a completely new regulation regarding renewal of work permit. The work permit can only be extended in the case “The remaining validity period of the work permit is at least 5 days but not exceeding 45 days.”
Article 19 of Decree 152/2020/ND-CP also stipulates that the work permit can only be extended once for a period of up to 2 years.
Revocation of work permit
Previously, the Decree 11/2016/ND-CP stipulated for revocation of work permits. However, Article 13 of the Decree 140/2018/ND-CP has abolished this provision, that is, abolished the procedure for revocation of the work permit.
Decree 152/2020/ND-CP, Article 20: Cases of revocation of a work permit
1. The work permit ceases to be effective as prescribed in clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 Article 156 of the Labor Code.
2. The employer or the foreign worker fails to comply with this Decree.
3. The foreign worker, during his/her employment in Vietnam, fails to abide by Vietnam’s law which compromises security and social order.
2. Wage for ceases working due to COVID-19 pandemic
Confederation of Labor Ho Chi Minh City has issued an official letter No. 420/LĐLĐ-CSPL dated June 14, 2021 to guide on the implementation of regulations on wages for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pursuant to Clause 3, Article 99 of the Labor Code 2019 stipulates:
“…3. In case the suspension is caused by an electricity or water supply issue that is not at the employer’s fault, or by a natural disaster, fire, major epidemic, hostility, relocation requested by a competent authority, or for economic reasons, both parties shall negotiate the salary as follows:
a) If the suspension does not exceed 14 working days, the salary shall not fall below the statutory minimum wages;
b) If the suspension is longer than 14 working days, the salary shall be negotiated by both parties and the salary for the first 14 days must not fall below the statutory minimum wages.”
Accordingly, employees are having to stop working because of social distancing in accordance with Directive 16/CT-TTg dated March 31, 2020 of the Prime Minister or are isolated at hostels, accommodation areas, and residential areas. Export processing, industrial zones, enterprises, etc. must stop working under the decision of a competent authority, in case they are entitled to salary for stopping work according to the above provisions.
In the case of having to stop working for more than 14 working days, the grassroots trade union actively advocates and negotiates with the enterprise to support the payment of wages to stop working together with employees to overcome difficulties.
3. Some issues regarding salary during the COVID-19 pandemic
1. Wage for employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Clause 1, Article 95 of Labor Code 2019 stipulated that: “The employer shall pay the employee on the basis of the agreed salary, productivity and work quality”. Accordingly, the wages for employees is based on the agreed salary, productivity and quality of work performance, not on the working location. Therefore, if the employee’s productivity and work quality are equal or better than working at the enterprise, the employer must pay full wages to employee as agreed.
2. Can the employer pay late because of COVID-19?
According to the Article 94, Labor Code 2019, the employer must pay wages directly, in full and on time to employees. However, in case of a force majeure event in which the employer is unable to pay the employee on schedule after all remedial measures have been implemented, the salary shall be paid within 30 days. In case a salary is paid at least 15 days behind schedule, the employer shall pay the employee a compensation that is worth at least the interest on the amount paid behind schedule at the latest 1-month interest rate quoted by the bank at which the employee’s salary account is opened. (Clause 3, Article 97, Labor Code 2019).
3. Does the employer have the right to not pay or detain wages if the employee cannot directly receive salary?
According to Clause 1, Article 94 of the Labor Code 2019, in the cases where an employee is not able to directly receive his/her salary, the employer may pay it through a person legally authorized by the employee. In addition, if the employee cannot directly receive his/her salary in cash, the employer may pay the salary via employee’s personal bank account as prescribed in Clause 2, Article 96 of the Labor Code 2019.
4. Covid test payment with health insurance benefits
Vietnam Social Security has issued an official letter No. 1537/BHXH-CSYT on June 2, 2021 to give a guidance of Covid test payment with health insurance benefits.
Objects: outpatients and inpatients, specifically:
– Patients have a fever or/and acute respiratory infection without explained cause;
– Patient has any symptom of respirator and history of coming to/through/from COVID-19 epidemic area within 14 days before onset time of symptoms.
– Patient has any respiratory symptoms and exposes to COVID-19 patient or potential cases within 14 days before onset time of symptoms.
In case positive with COVID-19: Patients applied medical quarantine measures. State budget covers the examination and treatment fee including examination, blood transfusion, bed, drug, technical service…
In case negative with COVID-19: Examination and treatment fee is paid by the social health insurance fund.
COVID-19 examination payment (applied from May 28, 2021):
– Single sample: VND 734,000 per sample.
– Pooled samples: VND 634,000 (total pooled samples) and VND 100,000 (test and sample preservation fee).
Social Security will not pay health care costs covered by health insurance for cases already paid by other sources.
5. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has issued Vietnam Standard (QCVN) on occupational safety for elevators
On December 30, 2019, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs has issued the Circular 42/2019/TT-BLDTBXH promulgating the National Technical Regulation on occupational safety for elevators.
Specifically, the technical regulation stipulates the safety requirements for passenger elevators or passenger and cargo elevators which new installation, fixed, operated by frictional, forced or hydraulic drives, serving the definite stopping floor, with a designed cabin to carry passenger or passenger and the cargo are suspended by cables, chains or lifted by cylinders – pistons and the movement between the guide rails has an angle of inclination not exceeding 15 degrees to the direction straight.
Before being put into use, the elevator must be inspected for the first time, periodically during use, or abnormally (when changing the design or making major repairs) which passed standard according to the inspection process prescribed by The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs and to be affixed with an inspection stamp at the elevator cabin. The technical inspection of elevator safety must be carried out by an eligible organization certified by the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (Article 3.3). In addition, for the manufacturer where elevators installed must conduct periodic maintenance at least once every 01 (one) month (Article 3.5.1).
The Circular will be effective from July 1, 2021 and replaced the Circular 08/2011/TT-BLDTBXH, Circular 42/2013/TT-BLDTBXH.
OneStepVietnam conducts the virtual audit in the complicated situation of COVID-19 pandemic
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is occurring complicatedly in many provinces in Vietnam, in which there have several chains of Covid infections with unknown sources in the community and industrial zones. In order to ensure the safety of factories and auditors when conducts assessments, OneStepVietnam’s customers have flexibly collaborated with OneStepVietnam’s professional team to conduct virtual audits of their factories remotely.
Virtual audit is to monitor CSR implementation and health and safety conditions of the factory while still strictly complying with the government’s pandemic prevention regulations. Although the auditors do not come directly to the factory, it still ensures the main 5 steps of a normal audit:
1. Opening meeting
3. Document review
4. Worker’s interview and management interview
5. Closing meeting
OneStepVietnam has developed a detailed and completed assessment process according to the customer requirements and internal requirements. Currently, OneStepVietnam’s professional team has coordinated with its customers and the factories to conduct many virtual audits successfully.
The COVID-19 pandemic is occurring complicated and seriously, in case customers who want to conduct a virtual audit can contact to OneStepVietnam team for advising and supporting.
OneStepVietnam team – June 2021