Seasonal labor contract is a term sometimes used, applied in documents, news, press information in the private sector. So, what is a seasonal labor contract under Vietnamese law?
The current regulations in the Labor Code 2019 do not have a term or regulations for a seasonal labor contract or a work-specific contract. This is because when drafting the revised Draft Labor Code, the drafting committee deleted the provision on the term seasonal labor contract specified in the Labor Code 2012.
The Labor Code 2012 stipulates that a labor contract must be concluded in one of the following categories: an indefinite term labor contract, a definite term labor contract, and a seasonal or work-specific labor contract with a term of less than 12 months.
Seasonal labor contract
The Labor Code 2012 has the following provisions on seasonal labor contracts:
• Not to enter into seasonal labor contracts or work-specific labor contract with a term of less than 12 months to do regular jobs for 12 months or more, except for temporary replacement of laborers to do military service, to take maternity leave, to fall ill, to have occupational accidents or to take other temporary leave of absence.
• For seasonal jobs or work-specific jobs with a term of less than 12 months, the group of employees may authorize one employee in the group to enter into a written labor contract. In this case, the labor contract has the same effect as it was signed seperately with each person.
• Employees working under seasonal labor contracts are not required to probation.
• An employee working under a definite-term labor contract, a seasonal labor contract or a work-specific job with a term of less than 12 months has the right to unilaterally terminate the labor contract before the expiry date for the cases specified in Clause 1, Article 37 of the Labor Code 2012.
• When unilaterally terminating the labor contract, the employee working under the seasonal labor contract must notify the employer at least 03 working days in advance.
• The employer has the right to unilaterally terminate the seasonal labor contract if the employee has been treated for more than half of the seasonal labor contract term but the capability to work has not recovered.
• When unilaterally terminating the labor contract, the employer must notify the employee at least 03 working days in advance for the seasonal labor contract.
Notes on seasonal labor contracts
It should be noted that the current regulations on seasonal labor contracts have been removed from the Labor Code 2019. Thereby, the provisions listed above are no longer valid but are for reference only. It is not applicable to current practice in the labor market.
Employees who agree to sign a seasonal labor contract in 2023 with the employer will not be recognized as a legal type of labor contract, thereby, may suffer heavy losses when disputes arise.
The signing of seasonal labor contracts or for a certain job with a term of less than 12 months in the period before 2021 (January 1, 2021 is the effective date of the Labor Code 2019) help employers meet short-term human resources during difficult business periods or peak and seasonal seasons.
Therefore, when the Labor Code 2019 removed the regulation on seasonal labor contracts, businesses had to rebalance their recruitment plans in accordance with human resources costs and legal regulations.
From the employee’s perspective, the removal of this regulation was more beneficial for them because in the past, the signing of seasonal labor contracts helped employers save costs such as social insurance benefits, allowances, etc., which are benefits that short-term seasonal employees are not entitled to enjoy.