Vietnam has specific regulations on maternity leave that are unique to the country. Overall, Vietnam’s maternity laws are employee friendly and are set in place to ensure that employees are protected during and after child-bearing. A solid understanding of the law is needed for foreign-invested enterprises to plan effectively within the country.
In May 2013, Vietnam increased the duration of maternity leave for female employees to six months as opposed to four months of maternity leave earlier.
If a female employee has more than one child, she is also entitled to an extra 30 days for each additional child. With this increase, Vietnam’s maternity leave period is among the longest in Asia. Only five other Asian countries either meet or exceed the 14-week International Labor Organization (ILO) standard.
Vietnam’s maternity leave explained
Maternity leave in Vietnam is governed by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs(MoLISA).
The longer a female employee is pregnant, the more working days they are allotted to take off. One to three months of pregnancy will guarantee 20 working days off, three to six months is granted 40 working days off, and a pregnancy over six months will be 50 working days off. In the case of a miscarriage or termination of pregnancy, women are granted leave as well.
Articles 34 and 35 of the Law on Social Insurance, state that female workers must receive 100 percent of their average salary during their six-month maternity leave. If a female employee wants to be absent for a longer period of time, they can negotiate additional leave days.
After giving birth or adopting a child under four months old, female employees are entitled to a lump-sum allowance equivalent to two months common minimum salary per child. A female employee who has a child less than twelve months old is entitled to sixty minutes per working day to take care of their baby.
If a woman decides to return to work after four months of maternity leave, she must first obtain a permission document from a qualified medical center stating that she is fit to work.
As of July 1, male employees enjoy added benefits. These include:
Males employees paying social insurance will be allowed to take paternity leave in the first 30 days from the day the baby is born.
Male employees are also entitled to paid leave of five days for a normal delivery and seven days if the baby is born by surgery. For twin births, the leave allowance is increased to 10 to 14 days. For multiple births, three working days off are permitted for each baby after the third one.
In addition, if the male employee is the only one participating in the social insurance program and the baby’s mother dies or faces health risks, the male employee will be entitled leave until the child reaches six months of age.
Further, the male employee is entitled to a lump sum of US$128 (VND 2,980,000) per child, equivalent to double the basic salary.
Leave protocol and application for employers
For an employee to get maternity leave, they must take specific steps to be granted official leave. Prior to going on leave, they must fill out an application for maternity leave and submit it to the head of their department within 15 days before the expected date of giving birth.
After giving birth, the employee is allowed to receive the subsidies in her social insurance package. However, in order to receive the subsidies, they must submit paperwork to their employer within 30 days from the given birth date, which includes hospital discharge papers, birth certificate of the newborn, and completed application to receive maternal subsidies.
Maternal subsidies may differ from company to company. However, employers typically give a salary equivalent to two months. Additionally, the leave time for maternity may vary depending on special circumstances, including the work environment.
In Vietnam, the law grants employees some rights that employers should be made aware of. Employees are entitled to health insurance when taking leave on maternity allowance for childbirth or child adoption.
If an employee’s health does not fully recover within 30 working days following their maternity leave, they may request for additional leave between five and 10 days.
Typically, 10 extra days are granted to female employees who give birth to twins or more infants, seven extra days for female employers who have a cesarean birth and five extra days for other cases.
The allowance of each day for health recovery after the maternity leave is equivalent to thirty percent of the basic salary level. Employers are obliged to assign the employee the same position as signed under the labor contract or a position equivalent to the original position with the same pay.
In addition, the female employee’s husband is allowed to have five days and longer for additional babies that are born. However, the leave must be taken within the first 30 days of delivery.
This is an excerpt from an article appearing in Vietnam Briefing, a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. For the latest economic, regulatory and business news from Vietnam, visit vietnam-briefing.com.