Regulations on rights of female employees during maternity period in Vietnam, Regulations on rights of female employees in Vietnam, rights of female employees in Vietnam, Maternity leave in Vietnam, Protecting the rights of female employees

Regulations on rights of female employees during maternity period in Vietnam

Female employees suffer a lot of hardship during their work, especially during their maternity period. Understanding this, the government of Vietnam has set out many beneficial policies for female employees in Vietnam. Female employees need to learn the rules on maternity carefully in order to best protect their rights. So, what are the regulations on the rights of female employees during the maternity period in Vietnam?

Unlike male employees in terms of physiology and health, female employees, especially pregnant female workers, enjoy many additional benefits as they are the groups that carry the future of the world and accordingly, need support financially and more importantly, spiritually.

Temporarily suspend the labor contract

Article 138 of the Labor Code 2019 stipulates that a female employee on maternity leave has the right to suspend the performance of the labor contract if she is certified by a competent medical facility that continuing to work in that working environment will adversely affect the fetus.

When suspending the contract, the pregnant female employee must notify the employer together with the certification of the medical examination and treatment facility. 

The suspension period will be mutually agreed upon by the parties, but not less than the time specified by the medical examination and treatment facility.

In case there is no indication from the competent medical examination and treatment establishment about the time off from working, the two parties shall agree on the duration of temporary suspension of the performance of the labor contract.

Unilaterally terminate the labor contract

Like the temporary suspension of the labor contract, if deemed necessary by the competent medical facility that continuing to work will adversely affect the fetus, the female employee will have the right to unilaterally terminate the labor contract.

In case of unilaterally terminating the labor contract or suspending the performance of the labor contract, the employer must be notified with the necessary documents of the decision of the competent authority. 

If the female employee leaves the job according to this scenario, it will be considered a legal unilateral termination of the labor contract.

The female employee will still receive all allowances and support when lawfully, legally, and unilaterally terminate the labor contract according to the Labor Code 2019 of Vietnam. 

Not subject to labor discipline

Clause 4, Article 122 of the Labor law 2019 stipulates the principles, order, and procedures for handling labor discipline.

According to the regulations, if a pregnant female employee violates the discipline, she will not be handled. However, at the end of the period of pregnancy, maternity leave, or child-rearing for under 12 months, the female employee may still be disciplined because the statute of limitations for handling labor discipline may be prolonged (specified in Article 123 of the Labor Code 2019).

Accordingly, the female employee should not try violating the labor discipline thinking that she can’t be penalized for that action. She can only prolong the discipline and that punishment will come to enforcement after she can work fully functional again.

Not being unilaterally terminated the labor contract

One of the most notable benefits, when a female employee enters her maternity period, is probably the exemption of the unilateral termination of the labor contract by the employer.

According to the Labor law 2019 of Vietnam, the employer is prohibited from dismissing or unilaterally terminating an employee’s contract for reasons of marriage, pregnancy, maternity leave, or raising a child under 12 months of age, except for the case in which their business ceases to operate.

If the female employee’s labor contract is unilaterally terminated because of pregnancy, the employer is forced to accept the employee back to work, and at the same time compensate the employee for material and spiritual loss. 

In case of dismissal or unilateral termination of the contract with an employee for the reason of pregnancy, the business may be fined up to 20 million VND.

Not being subject to working overtime, traveling far, working hard

Pursuant to Article 137 of the Labor Code 2019, female employees who are pregnant from the 7th month or from the 6th month (if working in highland, remote, border, or island areas) will not have to work at night, overtime, and long-distance business trips. 

This means that female employees who are pregnant for less than 7 months or less than 6 months (for jobs in highland, remote areas, border areas, islands) may still have to work at night, go on long business trips according to the arrangement of the employer.

Regulations on rights of female employees during maternity period in Vietnam
Regulations on rights of female employees during maternity period in Vietnam

However, based on Point a, Clause 2, Article 107 of the Labor Code 2019, the employer may only ask an employee to work overtime because the decision to work or not depended entirely on the female employee. Thus, pregnant female employees have the right to refuse to work overtime.

Therefore, pregnant female employees may still have to work night shifts, go on long business trip according to the employer’s arrangement if they fall into the above case but are not required to work overtime without consent.

Having the priority to be transferred to a lighter job

Female employees who do heavy, hazardous, dangerous, or especially heavy, hazardous, dangerous jobs or do occupations or jobs that adversely affect reproductive function and child-rearing will be transferred to another safer, lighter job or reduce their working hour by 1 hour if she has notified the employer beforehand.

Moreover, based on Clause 2, Article 137 of the Labor Code 2019, if she is transferred to another lighter job or get the working hours cut by 1, the salary and rights and benefits of that female employee shall not be reduced until the end of the period of raising children under 12 months old.

Maternity leave 

Based on the regulations of the Labor Code 2019, female employees are entitled to a maximum of 2 months of maternity leave when giving birth. The total period of maternity leave before and after childbirth is 6 months, based on their needs and health conditions. In good health, female employees can arrange their own time off before giving birth and notify the employer.

In case the female employee’s health is not guaranteed, the employer can agree with the employer to leave work early, more than 2 months before giving birth and must have a certificate confirming the female employee’s health do not meet the working conditions of the competent medical facilities (Similarly if the health of female employees does not guarantee working conditions if the time limit for maternity leave of 4 months after giving birth has passed).

In addition, if the female employee’s health is not affected and the work is not too demanding and arduous, e.g. can work from home, the female employee can request the employer to continue working straight to the expected fertility period. Because the 2 months before giving birth is the ‘maximum’ period under the law that female employees can take leave. That means, if the health is fine, female employees can work until the last day before giving birth and take a complete break for 6 months after giving birth.

Nonetheless, female employees taking 2 months of maternity leave do not need to have a prescription from a medical facility and do not need to prove their health conditions.

In case female employees give birth to twins or more, counting from the second child onwards, for each child, the mother is entitled to an extra month of leave.

During maternity leave, female employees are entitled to the maternity regime in accordance with the law on social insurance. At the end of the maternity leave period, if there is a need, the female employee can take an additional period of unpaid leave as agreed with the employer. 

Before the end of the maternity leave period, if the female employee wants to and if there is a certification from a competent medical facility proving that going to work early is not harmful to the health of the employee and that request is approved by the employer, the female employee can return to work after at least 04 months off. In this case, in addition to the salary for the normal working days paid by the employer, the female employee will continue to enjoy the maternity allowance in accordance with the law on social insurance.

In addition, Article 141 of the Labor Code 2019 has provisions on allowances during the period of taking care of sick children, maternity, and taking contraceptive measures.

Accordingly, the time off work when taking care of sick children under 07 years old, antenatal care, miscarriage, curettage, abortion, stillbirth, pathological abortion, contraceptive measures, sterilization, employees receive subsidies in accordance with the law on social insurance.

Protecting the rights of female employees and the future of the world

Making up more than half of society, however, women are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged group of people. Women are always the most disadvantaged in terms of health, education, training, employment opportunities and other needs. Women’s right to life, freedom, personal security, even the right to a healthy life have been violated in various forms.

This is because the old custom of gender prejudice existed in every country, every culture in the world. 

However, little did they know that it is actually the woman who bears the child and suffers the most, experiencing hardship unimaginable to man. Accordingly, we need to protect the rights of women, namely equal rights, abortion rights, vote rights, etc., especially in modern society. 

In Vietnam, the legal provisions on the protection of labor rights for pregnant women have shown the State’s interest in this particular subject and in the protection of women’s rights in general. That is also consistent with national practice because many countries around the world also have regimes to protect pregnant women at work.

ASL LAW is the top-tier Vietnam law firm for Employment and Labor Law. If you need any advice, please contact us for further information or collaboration.

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