Does intern have to sign employment contract in Vietnam?

Many agencies and organizations in Vietnam now allow the recruitment of interns to work. Does intern have to sign employment contract in Vietnam?

Does intern have to sign employment contract in Vietnam?

1. Does the intern have to sign a employment contract?

Currently, the Labor Code 2019 has no regulations on the subject of the employee being an intern or the form of a employment contract being an internship contract.

Internships are mentioned in Vietnam's Education Law 2019 and the Higher Education Law (amended 2018) as follows:

- Agencies, organisations and individuals shall assist and cooperate with schools in organizing educational and research activities; facilitating teachers and learners in visits, experiences, practice and scientific research.

- Encourage organizations and enterprises to facilitate students and lecturers to improve practical skills, participate in internship, scientific research and technology transfers in order to improve training quality

- Higher education institutions shall cooperate with enterprises and employers in employing their experts, facilities and equipment for practical training and internship in order to improve students’ practical skills and their chance of being employed.

According to the above regulations, agencies and organizations are responsible for supporting schools and students to organize internships to practice the knowledge they have learned at school.

Thus, if an intern work in a organization or business in the form of an internship requested, introduced, assigned, or guided by the school, he or she does not have to sign a employment contract or an internship contract.

The money the intern receives from the labor establishment is considered a part of the support and travel expenses, not the salary as prescribed in Vietnam's Labor Code 2019.

Is an internship considered an trainee, an apprentice, or a job probation in Vietnam?

- According to Article 61 of the Labor Code 2019, trainees are employees who are recruited and trained by the employer at the work place in order to work for the employer

Apprentices are employees who are recruited and instructed to practice doing their work by the employer in order to work for the employer. The maximum duration of apprenticeship is 03 months.

An employer who recruits trainees or apprentices in order to employ them is not required to register such training activity, shall not charge fees for such training, and shall sign traineeship or apprenticeship contracts in accordance with the Law on Vocational education.

- Currently, before signing a employment contract, employers often ask employees to try a job for a certain period of time. Employers and employees can agree on the content of probation stated in the employment contract or agree on probation by entering into a probationary contract.

Based on the above regulations and the basic nature of the internship being to improve practical skills, practice and increase employment opportunities for students, the internship is not an trainee, an apprentice or a job probation.

Therefore, when an intern comes to practice at an agency or organization, if asked to enter into an internship contract, it is necessary to clearly understand the contents of the contract, considering the nature of the contract to be an trainee or an apprentice. 

The content of the new contract is the determining factor of the nature of the contract, not the name of the contract. Therefore, if the content of the contract mainly stipulates vocational training and probation, the intern or employee should ask the employer to correct the name of the contract to avoid any risks.

Nhu Mai


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