Following the latest legal updates on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Victory LLC would like to share the fundamental contents of Official Letter No. 1064/LDTBXH-QHLDTL dated 25th March 2020 (“Official Letter 1064”) of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, providing employers with guidance on payment of salary and implementation of benefits for employees during work suspension due to COVID-19 pandemic.
1. If an employee is subject to work suspension due to direct impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the employee’s salary during the suspension period shall be agreed upon by both parties but must not be lower than the regional minimum wages prescribed by the Government. Being subject to direct impacts of COVID-19 pandemic means cases of:
(i) Foreign employees who are not allowed to return to work by request of competent authorities;
(ii) Employees who are suspended from work during quarantine by request of competent authorities; and
(iii) Employees who are suspended from work due to the enterprise or any of such enterprise’s department being inoperative because their employer is under quarantine or other employees in the same enterprise or department are under quarantine or not allowed to return to work.
2. In case an enterprise cannot provide sufficient jobs due to supply shortage or market reduction, such enterprise may temporarily reassign the employees with other works, which are not prescribed in their labor contracts, in accordance with Article 31 of the Labor Code.
3. In case an employer is not able to pay the suspended employees due to prolonged work suspension, they may reach an agreement on temporary suspension of their labor contracts in accordance with Article 32 of the Labor Code.
4. In case an enterprise has to scale down their production, leading to reduction of working places, such enterprise shall carry out arrangement of employees in accordance with Article 38 or Article 44 of the Labor Code.
It could be seen that, during the past few days, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many enterprises have been facing difficulties in production and business activities, enterprises were forced to make changes to their employment benefits scheme. The issuance of Official Letter No. 1064 by the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs not only aims to guide employers on payment of salaries and implementation of benefits for their employees during work suspension, but also to ensure a balance between employers and employees in regards to their legitimate rights and interests during the current and on-going COVID-19 pandemic.