Vietnam: What can employees do when their salary is delayed by enterprises from 2021?

Employers shall directly, fully and punctually pay salaries to their employees, this is a rule specified at the Labor Code 2019 of Vietnam. So, if the salary is delayed, what can employees do to protect their rights?

người lao động có thể làm gì khi bị DN chậm trả lương, Bộ luật Lao động 2019

According to Clause 1 Article 94 of the Labor Code 2019 of Vietnam, employers shall directly, fully and punctually pay salaries to their employees.

However, in case of a force majeure event in which the employer is unable to pay the employee on schedule after all remedial measures have been implemented, the salary shall be paid within 30 days. In case a salary is paid at least 15 days behind schedule, the employer shall pay the employee a compensation that is worth at least the interest on the amount paid behind schedule at the latest 1-month interest rate quoted by the bank at which the employee’s salary account is opened. These are provisions mentioned at Clause 4 Article 97 of the Labor Code 2019 of Vietnam.

According to this regulation, from 2021, if salary payment is delayed for 15 days or more, the employee will receive an additional amount in addition to the paid salary. This is a completely new regulation compared to the Labor Code 2012 of Vietnam.

Concurrently, according to Point b Clause 2 Article 35 of the Labor Code 2019 of Vietnam, an employee shall have the right to unilaterally terminate the employment contract without prior notice if he/she is not paid adequately or on schedule. The Labor Code 2019 has a remarkable new point that employees when unilaterally terminating the contract without reason only need to ensure the notice period. In particular, in the case of late payment of wages, the employee does not even need to give notice but can quit immediately. Currently, the Labor Code 2012 stipulates that in case of late payment of wages, the employee has the right to unilaterally terminate the labor contract but must notify the employer at least 03 working days in advance.

In addition, in case the enterprise still does not make full salary payment, the employee can complain or even sue to ask the Court to settle his/her interests. Specifically:

** Complaints are carried out as follows:

According to Article 15 of the Decree No. 24/2018/NĐ-CP of Vietnam’s Government on authority to handle complaints related to labor, and occupational safety and hygiene:

1. Employers shall have the power to handle complaints for the first time with regard to complaints against their decisions on or acts of labor or occupational safety and hygiene.

2. Chief Inspector of Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs of province where the employer’s head office is located shall have the power to handle complaints related to labor or occupational safety and hygiene for the second time in case the complainant disagrees with the first-time complaint handling decision as regulated in Article 23 or over the time limit prescribed in Article 20, the complaint remains unhandled.

3. Authority to handle complaints about occupational accident investigation shall follow provisions set forth in Article 17 of the Government’s Decree No. 39/2016/ND-CP dated May 15, 2016.

According to this regulation, employees who are late in paying wages can make their first complaint to the employer, in case of disagreement with the first settlement decision, the employee can make a second complaint to the Chief Inspector of the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

** The lawsuit is made as follows:

An employee whose salary is delayed may initiate a lawsuit at the district-level People's Court of the locality where the company is located to request the company to pay his/her salary in full according to the provisions of Clause 1 Article 40 of the Code of Civil Procedure 2015 of Vietnam. However, it should be noted that the employee's request must go through the mediation procedure at the grassroots, if unsuccessful, the petition can be filed with the court.

Thus, in terms of benefits, employees have enough grounds to ask the employer to pay them an extra amount of money, even if they are delayed in paying wages, they can quit without notice. It should be noted that this policy will be applied from January 01, 2021, when the Labor Code 2019 of Vietnam officially takes effect. In case of not being paid in full, the employee can choose to complain or even file a lawsuit to the Court to ask for protection of his/her interests.

Thuy Tram


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