Lunar New Year bonuses show stark income divide across Vietnam

By VnExpress   December 29, 2016 | 12:17 am PT
Lunar New Year bonuses show stark income divide across Vietnam
A migrant worker carried a peach blossom tree, ready to catch a bus home from Hanoi for the Tet holiday in February this year. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Son
It's not going to be an equally happy new year for all.

A real estate company in Hanoi has decided to give its managers each a car worth VND1 billion ($44,000) for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday gifts that will make the bonuses of less than $5 for some workers in Hai Phong much less generous.

The Hanoi company said eight mid-level managers, whose work has contributed to a 20 percent revenue increase this year, deserve the reward, believed to be the biggest for the Tet holiday so far, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Vietnam’s labor ministry last month asked cities and provinces to work with businesses over their plans for Tet bonus payouts and report to the authorities.

Tong Van Lai, deputy head of the ministry’s wage department, said only nine cities and provinces have submitted bonus reports for the country's biggest holiday, which is a month away.

A Chinese-owned stationery company in the northern city of Hai Phong might be paying the least: VND100,000, or less than $5.

Ho Chi Minh City’s labor department said the average Tet bonus in the city will be VND8 million a person, based on a survey of more than 1,100 companies. A foreign plastic producer has promised rewards of up to VND500 million.

In the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, holiday bonus pledges range from VND1.5 million to VND385 million ($66-17,000).

The General Statistics Office announced this week that the average income in 2016 has reached $2,200.

In Vietnam, bonus pay is a matter of agreement between employers and their workers. Businesses are highly encouraged by the government to reward employees based on business performance.

There have been wildcat strikes in previous years where workers protested low or no bonus payments.

Last time Tet bonuses ranged from a meager VND40,000 ($1.77) to VND624 million ($27,700). Both these lowest and highest levels were reported at foreign-invested companies. Some companies offered nothing.

The upcoming Year of the Rooster will begin on January 28. The government has approved a seven-day break for the holiday from January 26 to February 1.

Related news:

Vietnam's labor ministry asks companies to disclose Tet holiday bonus payouts

Vietnam scraps fireworks shows for New Year

go to top