Is hourly minimum wage in Vietnam permitted?

The Labor Code 2012 is silent whether a part time employee’s monthly salary could be lower than the monthly minimum wage published by the Government (currently VND 3,750,000 per month) as long as his/her hourly salary is higher than the hourly minimum wage converted from the monthly minimum wage.

Under the Labor Code 2012, minimum wage is defined as “the lowest wage for the employee doing the most simply work in the normal working condition…”. The minimum wage announced by the Government is only monthly minimum wage (not hourly minimum wage as in other countries). Therefore, one could make a conservative argument that all employees including part-time employees are entitled to monthly minimum wage regardless of their status.

On the other hand, one could take a more flexible view that a part-time employee is only entitled to the hourly minimum wage (converted from the announced monthly minimum wage). The second interpretation seems to be more logical and appropriate for the following reasons:

  • The Labor Code 2012 defines “a part-time employee as one whose working time is shorter than normal working time in a day or a week provided by labor law, collective bargaining agreement of enterprises, collective bargaining agreement of the industry or regulation of employers”. If a part time employee could have the same monthly wage as one of full time employee, it would be unfair for full time employee working in the longer time a month; and
  • It is also contrary to the Article 34.3 of the Labor Code 2012 under which part-time employees are entitled to wage, right and obligation as full time employees, equal opportunities and non-discrimination. Therefore, a part time employee should be paid the same hourly wage as one of full time employees in the same working condition and the same job characteristic. As a result, the hourly wage of a part time employee should be no less than the hourly minimum wage.

This post is contributed by Nguyen Ngoc Anh, an intern at Venture North Law.