In addition to having complete human rights as citizens, women also have the right to work and participate in labor relations. The Labor Code 2019 and Decree No. 145/2020/ND-CP have added many regulations to ensure improved welfare for female employees.

1. Reduction in work time without salary decrease and Prohibition of overnight and overtime work

While raising children under 12 months old, female employees are entitled to 60 minutes of rest per day during working time without any cuts to salary according to the labor contract.

In addition, enterprises are not allowed to employ female employees to work at night, or to work overtime, or to go on long business trips in the following cases:

  • From the 7th month or the 6th month of pregnancy if working in highland, or remote, or border or island territories.
  • Raising a child under 12 months old, unless the female employee agrees otherwise.

In addition, the law on social insurance also encourages enterprises to create favorable conditions for female employees to take more time off for antenatal care. Specifically, during pregnancy, female employees are entitled to take leave from work to go for antenatal care 5 times, once each day. If they are far from medical establishments, or have a medical condition or an abnormal pregnancy, they are entitled to 2 days’ leave from work for each prenatal check-up.

2. Employment guarantee for female employees following maternity leave

Post the maternity leave period, female employees are guaranteed to return to their former jobs. According to the provisions of the Labor Code 2019, when returning to their former job, female employees shall not have a reduction in salary, rights and benefits compared to before maternity leave.

If the former job is no longer available, the company must arrange another job for them with a salary not lower than the salary before maternity leave.

3. Establishment of breast milk expression and storage facility/room for enterprises with over 1,000 female employees

Decree 145/2020/ND-CP requires enterprises to install a room to express and store breast milk at work if the enterprise employs 1,000 or more female employees. This regulation remains unchanged. However, in practice, it is not thoroughly implemented in enterprises that employ numerous female employees, leading to a situation where female employees do not stick with the enterprise.

4. Supplementary salary for female employees working during menstruation

Female employees are entitled to take a 30-minute break every day, counted in working hours, and still receive a full salary according to the labor contract. The number of days with time off during the menstruation period in a month shall be agreed upon by the enterprise and the female employee but at least 03 working days.

If the female employee has no need to take a break and the enterprise agrees to let the female employee work, then the female employee will be paid an additional salary according to the work that the employee has done during the break period. This working time is not included in the overtime work of female employees.

There will be the possibility that female employees need to have flexible days off during the menstrual month, so enterprises should note that they should have an information management system related to this time.

5. Enterprise support for nurseries and kindergartens

To implement these welfare regulations and encourage enterprises to organize nurseries and kindergartens for female employees, the laws stipulate that enterprises are entitled to tax reductions and rent reductions for the establishment of the concerned facilities. This supports the enterprises with the costs and also ensures security for female workers.

In addition, enterprises must implement plans to support childcare costs at nurseries and kindergartens for female employees with children in cash or kind. Enterprises can decide the level and duration of such support after discussing it with the employees through dialogue at the workplace.

6. State promotion of female employee recruitment

The State encourages enterprises to prioritize employing female employees and giving priority to female employees in case the labor contract expires and new labor contract(s) is/are being signed.

In addition, enterprises should consider implementing better regimes and policies for female employees than what is prescribed by laws.

Ensuring labor welfare in general is the focus of Vietnam’s labor laws. This is an issue that enterprises need to pay attention to, especially those that employ many female employees. Complying with these regulations will not only help enterprises improve productivity, build a brand, and attract and retain human resources, but above all, help in eliminating legal risks.

The article is based on laws applicable at the time noted as above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader approaches this article as the applicable laws and the specific cases that the reader may wish to apply may have changed. Therefore, the article is for referencing only.

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