Should the company still have to pay salary for lockdown period?

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Question: We want to ask 2 case:

1 – The company has to cease the working due to lockdown because of Covid

2 – The employee can not come to work due to they have to be lockdown

Should the company still have to pay salary for lockdown period?

Answer: We would like to advise as follows:

Case 1: The Company  has to cease the working due to lockdown because of Covid. In this case, the Company shall have to pay salary to the Employee in accordance with suspension of work not due to employee’s fault. In this case, salary paid to the employee shall be based on the negotiation between two parties (Sub-clause 3, Article 99 – Labor Code 2019).  If the suspension does not exceed 14 working days, the salary shall not fall bellow the statutory minimum wages. However,if the suspension is longer than 14 working days, the salary for the first 14 days must not fall below the statutory minimum wage.

Case 2: The employee can not come to work due to they have to be lockdown. In this case, the employee shall have to apply for sick leave and the social insurance authority shall pay them salary under the policies applicable to sick leave. However, until now, Vietnam Social Insurance Authority has not yet obtained official guidance for this.

Vietnam Labor Code only stipulates that, in that case, the employer shall negotiate with the employee regarding wage payable to the employee during the suspension of work. In practice, having reviewed actual experience of various companies in Vietnam, there are two options:

+ Option 1: The Company shall notify and explain the situation to the employee through email or writing notification. If there is no objection, the notification shall be automatically enforced.

+ Option 2: The Company shall hold a meeting with representative of employees (board of Trade Union in case there is a grass root trade union the Company) or all employees in the Company for discussing about wage payable to the employee during the suspension of work. The meeting shall be recorded in a meeting minutes. If there is no grass root trade union, all employee shall sign off at the last page of the meeting minutes.