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Comprehensive Analysis of Vietnam’s Maternity Leave Policy: A Guide for Employers and HR

In Vietnam, the maternity leave policy is designed to support working mothers during childbirth by providing them with the necessary rest and care, while also ensuring a smooth return to their job roles when appropriate. This article will provide a thorough overview of Vietnam’s maternity leave policy, assisting employers and HR departments in better understanding and implementing these regulations to meet national legal requirements and employee expectations.

Overview of Vietnam’s Maternity Leave
In Vietnam, working parents are entitled to a period of paid maternity leave followed by an extended duration of unpaid protective leave. During paid leave, employees receive a portion of their salary monthly. During unpaid leave, no salary is received from the company, but salary payments resume upon returning to work.

Positions must be preserved for employees during both paid and unpaid maternity leave—typically filled by temporary replacements—and their original positions should await them upon return. If the original position is no longer available, a similar role in status and salary must be provided.

Employees are eligible for maternity leave under the following circumstances:

Childbirth by the employee
Childbirth by the employee’s partner
Adoption of a child under 16 years of age
Maternity and parental leave laws in Vietnam are regulated by the federal government. However, local governments may have their own legislation on maternity leave, and companies may define their own policies, allowing HR departments to play a crucial role in offering better maternity leave conditions.

It’s important to note that eligibility for maternity or parental leave does not guarantee these leaves from the company. Employees should check the following to confirm eligibility:

Government parental allowances
Payments for fathers and partners
One-time payments for newborns and newborn allowances
Vietnam’s maternity leave rights include:

Maternity leave
Leave for fathers and partners
Adoption leave
Special maternity leave
Safe job and no safe job leave
The right to return to the original position
The following sections will detail these aspects.

Vietnam’s Standards
1. Paid Parental Leave
Vietnam’s standard paid parental leave totals 18 weeks, which can be shared between both parents, but only one parent may take leave at any time.

The parental allowance is calculated based on the national minimum weekly wage, currently $772.55 per week, equating to $154.51 per day before tax.

Employees can receive up to 18 weeks of parental allowance, equivalent to 90 payable days, including:

Up to 12 consecutive weeks of paid parental leave, equivalent to 60 payable days
30 days of flexible paid parental leave
2. Unpaid Parental Leave
The right to full unpaid parental leave is 52 weeks, with the possibility of applying for an additional 52-week extension. This leave can be shared between parents, though their concurrent unpaid leave cannot exceed eight weeks.

If employees wish to apply for the additional 52-week leave, they must notify their employer at least four weeks in advance, and the company must respond within 21 days. If the response is a denial, a valid reason must be provided.

For adopting employees, they also have the right to two weeks of pre-adoption leave to attend related interviews or assessments.

Eligibility for Parental Leave
To be eligible for parental leave, employees must have worked for your company for at least 12 months before any of the following:

The expected date of birth if they are pregnant
The date of adoption
The start of the leave (if they are taking leave after another person has cared for the child or taken parental leave)
This may include full-time, part-time, or, in some cases, casual employees.

For casual employees to be eligible for unpaid parental leave, they must have:

Worked for the company on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months
A reasonable expectation of continued regular and systematic employment with the company if not for the birth or adoption of a child
When Can Parental Leave Start?
If an employee is pregnant, they can start their parental leave six weeks before their due date, i.e., from the 34th week of pregnancy.

If they are adopting a child or are the partner of the birthing person, their leave can start from the day of adoption or birth.

Special Maternity Leave
If an employee is eligible for unpaid maternity leave, they may also be entitled to special maternity leave in the following cases:

Suffering from a pregnancy-related illness.
Their pregnancy ends after twelve or more weeks due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or termination for medical reasons (e.g., if continuing the pregnancy is a life threat to the mother or child).
If they take special maternity leave due to a pregnancy-related illness, the leave ends when the pregnancy or illness ends—whichever comes first.

If they are granted special maternity leave due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or termination of pregnancy, they are entitled to leave until they are fit for work.

Safe Job and No Safe Job Leave
If a pregnant employee’s regular role is deemed unsafe during pregnancy, they are entitled to be transferred to a “safe job.” This applies to all pregnant employees, regardless of their status or how long they have worked for the company. If no safe job is available, they are entitled to take no safe job leave.

If a pregnant employee is transferred to a safe job, they will receive the same salary, working hours, and other benefits as their regular role. They can remain in the safe role until it is safe to return to their regular position or they return to work after giving birth.

Considering Parental Leave from a Global Perspective
Vietnam is considered one of the more progressive countries in terms of parental leave, offering more flexibility for both parents. If you’re considering expanding your team across borders, it’s crucial to establish parental leave policies for every country you employ in. Vietnam’s approach to parental leave policies can serve as an excellent example for structuring your parental leave policy.

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