Vietnamese officials face the music for skipping work during spring festivals

By Xuan Hoa, Viet Linh   March 4, 2018 | 01:40 am PT
Vietnamese officials face the music for skipping work during spring festivals
A still image captured from the video by VTV shows director and staff of the State Treasury office of Nam Dinh City of Nam Dinh Province in northern Vietnam joining a praying ritual during a spring festival on February 26.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc specifically instructed civil servants not to leave the office for the post-Tet festivities.

A dozen Vietnamese civil servants, including two directors, have been punished for leaving their offices during work hours to attend spring festivals in northern Vietnam.

Nguyen Huu Nghi, a power company director in Binh Luc District, Ha Nam Province, was caught on camera with two deputy directors and several other staff by national television channel VTV at a spring festival on the morning of February 26.

Reporters later went to their office but found it was shut.

Nghi has been demoted for three years while other employees have received official warnings.

That same day, VTV also captured workers from Nam Dinh Province's State Treasury office praying at a festival during work hours, including director Nguyen Tai Tam, a deputy director and five other staff.

Tam and his workers were suspended indefinitely on March 1.

At a meeting held shortly after Tet (Lunar New Year), the PM banned civil servants from attending spring festivals during work hours unless they were assigned to do so by their superiors for specific reasons.

Vietnamese people usually celebrate multiple festivals during the first month of the new lunar year, especially in the first week after Tet, to wish for luck, peace and prosperity. For many people, attending these events is more important than any work commitments they have.

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