LE­GAL EASE

What you need to know about work­ing over­time

Oi Vietnam - - Contents - A mem­ber of the Paris Bar, An­toine Lo­geay has been prac­tic­ing law first in France, mainly in lit­i­ga­tion and arbitration, then in Viet­nam for three years as an as­so­ciate ofAudier & Part­ners based at its Hanoi of­fice. Audier & Part­ners is an in­ter­na­tional

What you need to know about work­ing over­time

Dear An­toine,

I work for an in­ter­na­tional school as a teacher and they re­quire a lot of over­time work. Does Viet­namese law al­low un­paid over­time work? Can I refuse to work over­time? And if I agree to work over­time some­times, should I get paid? Dur­ing lunch breaks or free time I pre­fer to go out­side the school to han­dle per­sonal busi­ness but the HR peo­ple don’t like it. Do I need to stay at the school even when I’m not teach­ing?

I RE­CEIVED MANY QUES­TIONS

about la­bor laws in Viet­nam and how to deal with “un­rea­son­able” re­quests from em­ploy­ers. Although la­bor laws are not al­ways clear, it is pro­tec­tive of em­ploy­ees—which is good for you. Let’s see what the law says about your ques­tions: work­ing over­time and breaks dur­ing work­ing hours.

Viet­namese laws do al­low over­time work but limit them un­der strict cir­cum­stances. Most im­por­tantly, any over­time work re­quested from the em­ployer must have the em­ployee’s con­sent. This reg­u­la­tion of the law does help an­swer your ques­tion: “Can I refuse to work over­time?” Yes, you can refuse to work over­time if you do not want to do so.

Ac­cord­ing to the cur­rent La­bor

Code of Viet­nam and its reg­u­la­tions, the max­i­mum reg­u­lar daily work­ing time is 8 hours and the max­i­mum reg­u­lar weekly work­ing time is 48 hours (save ex­cep­tions). Any time for meet­ings and train­ing due to the re­quire­ments of the em­ployer (or un­der the em­ployer’s ap­proval) shall be in­cluded in the work­ing time. “Over­time” means the pe­riod of work­ing time that comes in ad­di­tion to your “reg­u­lar work­ing hours” as they are de­fined in the in­ter­nal la­bor rules or col­lec­tive la­bor agree­ment, or as stip­u­lated by law.

How­ever, your em­ployer can­not re­quest you to work over­time for more than 50% of the reg­u­lar work­ing hours in a day, or more than 30 hours a month or 200 hours a year, ex­cept for special cases in which 300 hours of over­time a year are per­mis­si­ble.

If you agree to work over­time, you will be en­ti­tled to over­time com­pen­sa­tion. Your em­ployer will have to grant you com­pen­satory leave or pay you in­creased wages as fol­lows: 1) for week day over­time, 150% of your hourly wage; 2) for day-off over­time, 200% of your hourly wage; and 3) for over­time worked dur­ing holidays and full-paid leave, 300% of your hourly wage.

Re­gard­ing your ques­tion about breaks dur­ing work­ing hours, un­der Viet­namese la­bor laws, you are en­ti­tled to a break of at least half an hour dur­ing the eight con­sec­u­tive hours of a reg­u­lar work­ing day. Th­ese 30 min­utes should be counted as ac­tual work­ing time, which means that they are in­cluded in the daily 8 work­ing hours.

This does not help you so much I guess, as it seems that you do not ac­tu­ally work be­tween classes. You had bet­ter read care­fully the clauses about work­ing time in your la­bor con­tract, the in­ter­nal rules of the school and the col­lec­tive agree­ment (if any). In ad­di­tion to the 30-minute rest break re­quired by law, your school may have also or­ga­nized breaks for the teach­ing staff be­tween class times and recorded such pro­vi­sions in one of those doc­u­ments.

If no such pro­vi­sions are pro­vided in your la­bor con­tract and in the in­ter­nal la­bor rules or col­lec­tive agree­ment, you need to stay at school dur­ing the agreed work­ing hours. For ex­am­ple, if your la­bor con­tract says that work­ing hours are from 8am to 5pm, then you have to stay in the school all day. If you need to go out­side the school for per­sonal is­sues, you need to in­form the school and get ap­proval. Oth­er­wise, you may be con­sid­ered to be vi­o­lat­ing the school’s la­bor dis­ci­pline and sub­ject to sanc­tions.

We hope the above is help­ful and that you are now ready to start the new school year with more in­for­ma­tion about your rights and obli­ga­tions.

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