Labor federation proposes extra day's leave for New Year

By Gia Chinh, Nguyen Quy   September 9, 2019 | 06:29 pm PT
Labor federation proposes extra day's leave for New Year
People join the countdown to 2019 around the Sword Lake in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
The Vietnam General Federation of Labor has called for adding December 31 to the annual New Year holiday for workers to "rest and recharge."

At a conference held to discuss amendments to the Labor Law in Hanoi on Monday, Ngo Duy Hieu, vice chairman of the federation, said the number of public holidays is only 10, lower than in neighboring countries such as Cambodia (28), Thailand and Indonesia (both 16), Brunei (15), Malaysia (14), and Singapore (11).

Meanwhile, Vietnamese workers have among the longest working weeks in the world: 48 hours.

They get 12 days of paid leave a year if they work all 12 months, but according to the International Labor Organization, of which Vietnam is a member, an employee is entitled to at least 21 consecutive days of paid annual leave.

An additional day off on December 31 would give workers more time to rest, revitalize and take care of their family, Hieu said.

Le Dinh Quang, deputy head of the federation's labor relations department, said this is in line with the global trend.

Quang said that many countries in the world celebrate a long New Year holiday, so Vietnam adding an extra day is suitable, especially when there are now many foreign workers in the country and many working for foreign companies.

The proposal came amid debate in recent years that whether Vietnam should stick to its tradition of having a long Lunar New Year or joining the rest of the world to celebrate the New Year instead.

The federation's proposal will be submitted to the legislative National Assembly and the government for approval. 

Last April, while collecting public comments for proposed amendments to the Labor Law, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs suggested making July 27, War Invalids and Martyrs Day, a public holiday.

But this has met with strong opposition from experts and lawmakers, who said the day should just remain a day for commemorating war invalids and martyrs. Turning it into a national holiday might hurt families who lost members by reminding them of the wars.

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