Proposed minimum wage insufficient to make ends meet: insiders

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2022 08:12

Full-time workers at a textile factory. — Photo

As the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has been gathering comments on a draft on the minimum wage, insiders say the proposed wages are insufficient to make ends meet.

Under the draft, minimum wages are set by region with an hourly wage of VND22,500 (US$0.97) for Region I, VND22,000 for Region II, VND17,500 for Region III and VND15,600 for Region IV. Lawmakers expect the wages to maintain a decent living standard for workers, notably those working part-time.

Le Dinh Quang, Deputy Head of the Labour Relation Department under the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), thinks otherwise.

Quang said workers are currently paid VND18,000-23,000 per hour, already low compared to the price level. He opined that minimum hourly wages between VND20,000 and VND30,000 would be more suitable for labour contracts.

Tran Van Trieu, Director of the Legal Consulting Centre, shared this view and attributed the low proposed wages to payroll miscalculations.

Specifically, hourly wages have been calculated by dividing minimum monthly wages by total working hours in a month, which are the product of 26 working days per month and eight hours per day.

"Such calculation is problematic as total working days per month should be 24 days due to maternity leave and sick leave, not 26 days. Higher total working days have driven down hourly wages," Trieu said.

The director also believed that current minimum monthly wages are not high enough to meet workers' basic needs, so the wages should be adjusted up. He suggested minimum hourly wages increase to VND30,000-40,000.

Tran Huu Tin, head of the Tin and Partners Law Office, remarked that full-time workers are entitled to social insurance, healthcare insurance, unemployment insurance and bonuses in addition to wages. Meanwhile, hourly workers are normally eligible for wages only, putting them at a disadvantage. He proposed insurance and bonuses be included in hourly wages to improve workers' incomes.

"The proposal is consistent with the Law on Social Insurance, which requires employers to pay workers an additional amount of the wage equal to social insurance payments in case they are not subject to the compulsory insurance scheme," he said.

Vu Minh Tien, Director of the Institute of Workers and Unions, stressed that part-time workers are normally not entitled to benefits, allowances and bonuses like full-time workers.

Accordingly, the minimum wage should be adjusted up to cover such a disparity, ensuring equal treatment for both types of workers.

Nguyen Thi Bong, a full-time worker at Pou Yuen Viet Nam JSC., revealed that she often works as a waitress during her free time to make extra money for her family. The part-time job earns her around VND16,000-20,000 per hour, comparable to the proposed minimum wages.

"The wage is not worth my effort, but I have to accept it as it is an extra source of income," she said. — VNS

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