Vietnam ups retirement age, adds a public holiday

By Hoang Thuy, Viet Tuan   November 20, 2019 | 01:28 am PT
Vietnam ups retirement age, adds a public holiday
Elderly people exercise in a park in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Damir Sagolj.
Vietnam will increase the retirement age to 60 years for women and 62 for men under Labor Code changes approved by the parliament.

The changes were passed following a National Assembly (NA) vote Wednesday, in which 435, or 90 percent of delegates agreed to the new changes. Nine voted against and an equal number abstained.

The male retirement age will be gradually increased from 60 to 62 by 2028, while female retirement age would increase from 55 to 60 by 2035. Starting 2021, male retirement age would increase by three months per year while female retirement age would increase by four months per year.

Workers however may retire later or sooner depending on circumstances. People working in dangerous environments or doing heavy lifting can retire sooner, while ones who work in the private sector or in highly-skilled jobs can retire later, the maximum extension will be five years.

The gradual retirement age increase is aimed at preventing abrupt interruptions in the labor market and to maintain political and social stability, the NA Standing Committee said. It added that the new retirement ages were also aligned with Vietnamese workers’ health and life expectancy. They are also lower than in other countries, noted the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Vietnam’s current population is around 96.2 million people, putting the percentage of elderly people at around 11.7 percent. The United Nations has forecast the percentage of people over 65 in Vietnam at 12.9 percent in 2030 and 23 percent in 2050, labor minister Dao Ngoc Dung said in August.

As the population ages, Vietnam’s social insurance fund could be in trouble by 2020 and go bust by 2037 if current retirement ages remain unchanged, the Vietnam Social Security had warned earlier.

One more day off

Other changes to the labor code include an additional public holiday either on September 1 or September 3, meaning people will get at least two days off for the Vietnamese National Day holiday on September 2.

Vietnamese now enjoy holidays for the New Year, the commemoration day of the Hung Kings on the 10th day of the third lunar month, National Reunification Day on April 30, Labor Day on May 1, the Independence Day on September 2, and the Tet or Lunar New Year holiday, which normally lasts seven to nine days and includes one or two weekends.

This makes for a total of 10 days a year, excluding Tet weekends.

In comparison, Cambodia enjoys a total of 28 public holidays, Brunei, 15, Indonesia, 16, and China, 21.

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