The labour ministry has proposed the Government delay increasing minimum wage next year due to economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Workers at South Korean-invested Daeil Tech company in Que Vo industrial park, Bac Ninh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Thuong|
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, representing the National Wage Council – a panel of 15 members split evenly between the labour ministry who represents the State, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) that represents the employers, and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour representing the employees – has reported the proposal to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The ministry was tasked with raising monthly and hourly minimum wage rate for contracted workers to come into effect in 2021 – but this was when the coronavirus pandemic has not made much impact globally and socio-economic performance was still strong.
However with the economic toll from the pandemic becoming more evident for both workers and businesses alike coupled with an uncertain future outlook, an increase is infeasible.
The wage council has met twice to discuss the matter and has agreed to keep the 2020 rate.
Minimum monthly wages in the four regions will be kept the same as 2020 – VND4.42 million (US$190.4) for workers in Region 1 comprising most districts of major urban centres Hanoi, Hai Phong or HCM City; VND3.92 million ($169) for workers in Region 2, covering areas like Da Nang, Can Tho, or Ben Tre.
In Region 3, covering areas such as Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Hai Duong provinces, the rate is set at VND3.43 million ($148) a month, while employees in the remaining parts of the country receive a minimum wage of VND3.07 million ($133).
The labour ministry said it agreed with the proposal from the council, and expected further discussions on increasing the wage in the third quarter of 2021.
In another related development, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour asked the trade unions to closely grasp the situation of struggling enterprises, or enterprises that go broke, ones with fleeing owners or owners who have failed to pay the workers their salary and bonus before the coming Tet (traditional Lunar New Year) holiday which falls in February. VNS
The National Assembly’s Finance and Budget Committee has agreed not to adjust the minimum wage in 2021 and has warned about the pressure on public debt payment.