For Vietnamese workers, how much overtime is too much overtime?

By Ha Phuong   January 7, 2017 | 11:00 am PT
Take a look at the rules in other countries.

How many extra hours should a Vietnamese employee be allowed to take? That's the question labor authorities are trying to figure out.

Under a proposed Labor Code amendment, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs is seeking to double the overtime limit that an employee may work, to a maximum of 600 extra hours per year. Another option is to scrap the annual overtime limit altogether, but restrict employees to a daily cap of 12 hours.

This week the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, which represents unions across the country, has spoken out against the proposal, arguing that such a move will lead to many workers becoming exhausted. Opponents of long hours warn that too much overtime can also result in more workplace accidents and potentially more strikes.

Compared to other countries, Vietnam currently has a low overtime limit.

In the U.S., there is no limit on how many hours employees can work. Generally they must receive overtime payment for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Meanwhile in the U.K., employees are allowed to opt out the conventional 48-hour week. Some employers choose to give their employees time off instead of paying for overtime, which is known as "time off in lieu."

What about some regional countries?

Many Vietnamese workers want to exceed the weekly 48-hour limit to earn more money, according to a recent survey conducted by the national broadcaster VTV. Normally the pay rate for overtime is at least 150 percent of the regular rate, and can hit 300 percent if the extra hours fall on a public holiday.

In terms of paid leave, each year, Vietnamese workers are offered 12 annual days off for 12 months working, which is respectively higher compared to some other Asian countries.

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> Vietnam weighs doubling overtime limit following calls from foreign firms

> Foreign firms call for Vietnam to increase overtime limit

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