Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Ministry's proposed change to working schedule stirs controversy

Updated at Tuesday, 07 May 2019, 06:55
The Hanoitimes - For Hanoi, the regulation of working hours must be considered and evaluated in many aspects because the capital houses many state administrative bodies, with a big population of state servants.
The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) has recently draft a law proposing a change to the working schedule across the country, but the proposal has caused controversy in the public.

Talking to Kinh Te & Do Thi newspaper, Tran Lan Anh from Lac Trung ward, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi, said the current regulation on work time is reasonable and there is no need to change because it will upset people’s routines.

“The people have arranged reasonable time to take children to school and then go to work. The MoLISA should consult the majority of people and workers' opinions to make a appropriate decision,” Lan Anh added.
Illustrative photo. Source: Xuan Hoa
Illustrative photo. Source: Xuan Hoa
Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, former director of the Institute of Science, Labor and Social Affairs, said that if all state bodies from central to local levels work at fixed business hours as proposed, it will cause serious traffic jam. 

"The Labor Code should only propose a working schedule of eight hours per day, it is not recommended to be too specific. Let localities decide on their office hours. Many countries allow workers to choose flexible working timetables, as long as they work eight hours and ensure labor productivity," Huong suggested.

Vice Chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor Ngo Duy Hieu suggested that the MoLISA should let local authorities regulate their working hours according to local features, for instance, Hanoi can set working time and school hours differently to avoid traffic congestion. 

Former Deputy Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Minh Huan suggested that the MoLISA needs to assess the impacts of changing working time. 

According to Deputy Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep, the National Assembly will discuss and decide the suitable working time.

For Hanoi, the regulation of working hours must be considered and evaluated in many aspects because the capital houses many state administrative bodies, with a big population of state servants, Diep said.

Ealier, the MoLISA proposed two options to revise the Labor Code on office hour for civil servants and officials, causing controversial ideas, local media reported.

The first option would be adding an article to the Labor Code that reads "The Vietnamese government will decide the working time for administrative bodies nationwide". Working time is expected from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm with a 60-minute lunch break in between.

The second option would be not stating expressly the working time in the Labor Code but regulating it in administrative documents. Ministries’ working time will be decided by the prime minister while localities’ working time will be fixed by head of the Provincial People's Committee.

Many people have voiced that it is irrational to apply a uniform working hour for all provinces and cities. Business hours should be regulated in the Labor Code with flexibility. There should be several working timetables for each locality to choose a suitable one. It is only possible to apply one work schedule in a province, to make the connection of services smooth. Work hours, on the other hand, should protect employees’ health and increase productivity.
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