Vietnam’s top labor union has proposed extending the New Year holiday to two days, instead of just one, after seeing that the country has considerably fewer public days off than its regional neighbors.
The proposal was made at a conference in Hanoi on Tuesday by Ngo Duy Hieu, vice-chairman of the General Confederation of Labor, which oversees all labor unions in Vietnam.
“Adding a public day off means workers nationwide have one more day in the year to replenish their energy and take care of their family, stimulating growth in the service sector,” Hieu said.
Currently, Vietnamese citizens only have one paid day off on New Year’s Day and still go to work the day before.
Vietnam has a total of ten paid days off a year, fewer than most of its neighbors in the Southeast Asian region, he said.
Cambodia has 28, Brunei has 15, Indonesia and Thailand have 16, Myanmar has 14, Malaysia and the Philippines have 12, and Singapore has 11 public days off a year, Hieu pointed out.
The General Confederation of Labor said it is welcoming feedback on, and gathering support for, the proposal in the hope of having it approved and added to the revised Law on Labor of Vietnam.
In April, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs suggested that July 27 – a date dedicated to honoring war invalids and fallen soldiers in Vietnam – be made a public holiday.
The ministry withdrew its suggestion a month later after facing a backlash from lawmakers, who said picking such a date would be “sensitive” and unreasonable.
Hieu said the General Confederation of Labor is also looking to reduce the standard total weekly working hours from 48 hours to 44 hours.
A reduction in working hours fits the global trend as productivity increases, Hieu claimed.