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Six-month maternity leave policy makes business owners uneasy   2012-06-22 - VnExpress

Businesses feel uneasy after the National Assembly agreed to increase the maternity leave period from four months to six months, because this may cause problems to the labor force and affect the productivity.


The six month maternity leave policy would take valid from May 1, 2013. However, enterprises have to think of the measures to deal with the labor force shortage right now.

Dr Dang Hoang Lan, Deputy General Director of the Ho Guom Garment Company said that when women workers leave for six months, this would have big impacts on the production line. The problem proves to be especially serious for garment companies, which hire many women workers.

Lan has affirmed that Ho Guom would not break the laws for the benefits of laborers. “The six month leave would cause big difficulties for the company. However, we understand that laborers would be able to work well if their children can be grown up well,” she said.

Lan said that the board of directors has gathered some meetings to discuss the recruitment plan. Ho Guom would encourage women workers to return to work sooner, before the maternity leave period finishes. If too many workers leave during the high production season, the company would have to recruit new workers.

Tran Tien Thinh, Business Director of Tinh Van Consultancy and Business Administration Company, has also complained that the new maternity leave policy would put big difficulties for enterprises. In fact, the current shorter 4-month maternity leave period has caused big headaches to business owners already.

Therefore, Thinh said that enterprises need to prepare well for the changes in the labor force and get ready to adapt to the new circumstances many months before the validity time of the new maternity leave policy. It’s necessary for businesses to change their human resource strategies, considering setting up personnel reserve plans.

Thinh went on to say that flexible policies should be applied to minimize the negative impacts on the businesses’ operation. If businesses can lay down reasonable preferences, they would be able to encourage workers to return to work soon. For example, they could work half a day and enjoy longer maternity leave. In this case, they would be able not only to receive fixed monthly salaries, but also the additional earnings from other sources.

Besides, businesses should also consider the plans to recruit new workers to replace the ones on maternity leave, or to rotate workers among the divisions in the same companies in order to minimize the negative impacts.

On June 18, the National Assembly ratified the amended Labor Code, which says that from May 1, 2013, women workers would have six months for the maternity leave instead of four months currently. About 20 decrees to guide the implementation of the law would be promulgated later by the government.

Businesses, while admitting the big benefits of the policy for laborers, have complained that the new policy would cause big problems to enterprises.

Mark Gillin, Deputy Chair of AmCham Vietnam, also warned at the Vietnam Business Forum held in Hanoi on May 29, that the new provisions in the Labor Code (the extra working hours must not be higher than 200 hours a year, women workers have six month maternity leave), may lead to the productivity decreases, which would lessen the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises.

This also means that Vietnam would find it more difficult to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), especially when businesses lay off thousands of workers in the economic crisis.

Also according to him, the annual average productivity growth rate in the years between 2007 and 2009 was zero percent.

Analysts have predicted that in order to deal with the new law, businesses would request women workers to register the maternity leave plans. Meanwhile, women workers would face a big risk that they would not have the opportunity to return to the works before, because the workers have been undertaken by others already.

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