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NA deputies come out against increasing overtime cap

National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee members spoke out yesterday against a Government proposal to increase the national overtime cap for workers.



Nguyen Thanh Hai, head of NA’s Ombudsman Committee, speaks at the the National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday.


The revised Labour Code was the centre of discussions at the meeting in Hà Nội.

Nguyễn Thúy Anh, chairwoman of NA’s Committee for Social Affairs, said at the seventh session of the NA, the Government submitted a proposal on raising the overtime cap to 400 hours per year, up 100 hours compared with currently.

Most deputies at the NASC’s 37th session disagreed with the proposal, saying Viet Nam's labour laws should conform with common trends in the world with the goals of boosting measures to improve productivity and ensure the health of workers, she said.

According to Anh, given the fact that technology was developing together with improving workers’ skills and products’ value, working hours should be reduced to guarantee health and safety for workers.

“Increasing the overtime cap with inspections and sanctions for (employers') violations still inadequate will likely lead to the situation where enterprises take this advantage to exploit the labour force," she said.

NA Secretary General Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc said overtime work related to labour productivity and was not based only on human strength but also on technological innovation.

“If the National Assembly does not agree to increase the maximum overtime, businesses have to consider renovating technology and put into use modern production lines,” he said.

“If the National Assembly agreed to expand the overtime cap, it would discourage enterprises from renovating technology.”

If working time wasn’t shortened, it should be retained as currently so labourers can rest and recover their health, Phúc said.

Nguyễn Thanh Hải, head of NA’s Ombudsman Committee, said she didn’t support the proposal, suggesting overtime should be reduced in the next five years.

“It is essential to pay attention to labourers’ living condition. Only when workers have good spirit and physical strength can we attain high productivity and effective production,” she said.

Hải also said employers would benefit more than employees if the overtime limit was increased.

NA chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân proposed submitting two options to the NA at its upcoming session this October.

The first option is to retain all current regulations. However, it would also require employers to restrict overtime to 40 hours per month instead of 30 hours and supplement regulations on organising overtime work from 200 to 300 hours.

The second option was the proposal submitted by the Government, aiming to expand the overtime cap from 300 hours to 400 hours per year for a number of trades and sectors. However, the Government was asked to consider NA deputies’ suggestions, preparing the list of those subjected to expansion of overtime cap as well as the detailed decree on implementation to submit to the NA.

Entry and exit

In the afternoon, the NA Standing Committee gave feedback on the draft revised Law on exit and entry of foreign nationals in Việt Nam.

The law contains clauses on institutionalising the e-visa scheme that is being piloted, among other issues.

The NA Standing Committee asked the drafting committee carefully consider each item to ensure feasibility and national security and sovereignty, review the current conditions for visa waiving in coastal economic zones, and the proposal to raise temporary residence duration of foreign investors from five to 10 years.

The committee also commented the signing of an agreement between the Vietnamese Government and the European Union on establishing a framework for Việt Nam's participation in crisis management activities of the EU.

Yesterday was also the last working day of the NA Standing Committee's 37th meeting, which had lasted 11 days.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, NA Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said this meeting by the NA Standing Committee had seen discussions on 13 draft law projects and other important items that would be tabled for review by NA deputies in the upcoming month-long eighth plenary session to be held in late October.

Members of the committee also opined on the preliminary report on the 5-year implementation of the Constitution, reports of the Government, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuracy on the settlement of complaints and denunciations in 2019, the State Audit's report in 2019 and audit plan for 2020. VNS



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