Businesses support overtime cap increase for workers

By Ngoc Ha   October 14, 2019 | 08:11 pm PT
Businesses support overtime cap increase for workers
A woman works at a garment factory in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Reuters/Yen Duong.
Export businesses have backed a government proposal to increase the annual overtime cap for workers, saying it would help during the peak production season.

Chu Van An, deputy CEO of Minh Phu Seafood, speaking at a recent forum to discuss the proposal, said during the peak season his company receives a lot of orders and needs to increase workers’ overtime hours.

This is not something that businesses are keen on since they have to pay 1.5-3 times the normal salary for overtime hours, but find it inescapable.

Other export businesses also voiced support for the proposal by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to extend the overtime limit for from 300 hours a year to 400.

Phan Thanh Xuan of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association said that since workers in the leather sector are paid by output, the more they work, the higher their salary is.

"The relationship between an employer and an employee is symbiotic," and an increase in work time would raise a business’ competitiveness, she added.

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), which represents businesses, said over 50 percent of workers want to work extra hours to improve their income, citing VCCI data.

Vietnam’s overtime cap is still low compared to other countries in the neighborhood, and an increase is warranted, he added.

Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee, said the cap increase should apply only to particular sectors such as textiles, leather and footwear, seafood, and electronics.

The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour said the marginal overtime rate should keep increasing if the cap is raised.

Currently workers are allowed a maximum of half the number of working hours per day, 30 hours per month and 300 hours per year.

Lawmakers have opposed the ministry’s proposal, saying businesses would benefit from it rather than workers, and authorities should help safeguard workers’ health and quality of life.

The National Assembly will discuss it next week.

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