Female employees (“FEs”) have been holding an important role in the process of labor, production, and socio-economic development. However, when participating in labor relations, due to many factors such as health, psycho-physiology,… FEs still face many difficulties. Therefore, the Labor Code 2019 and its guiding documents stipulate many policies to ensure the interests of FEs. In this article, TNTP will analyze some beneficial policies and regulations for FEs.
1. Beneficial policies for female employees in general
Have a gynecological examination at least once a year
Employees are entitled to health check-ups at least once a year. For employees doing arduous, hazardous and dangerous occupations and works, extremely arduous, hazardous and dangerous occupations and works, disabled, underage and elderly employees, are entitled to health check-ups for at least once 6 months. In particular, for FEs, at health check-ups, will be provided with gynecological examinations under the list promulgated by the Ministry of Health.
Take a break of 30 minutes/day during menstruation
FEs during their menstrual period are entitled to a 30-minute break every day counted in working time and are still fully paid under their employment contracts. The number of days of menstrual leave shall be negotiated by both parties but must be at least 03 working days per month. Specific days of leave of each month shall be informed by the employee to the employer. In case the employee wishes to have more flexible rest periods, she can negotiate with the employer to arrange a suitable leave. In case she does not need to take leave and the employer allows her to work, she will be paid an extra salary that corresponds to the amount of work done by her during the period of menstrual leave to which she is entitled.
Be protected from sexual harassment
The Labor Code 2019 and Decree 145/2020/ND-CP stipulate the prevention and combat of sexual harassment in the workplace, which requires businesses to have detailed regulations on the prevention and control of sexual harassment at enterprises. This is a new point compared to the Labor Code 2012. When FEs were sexually harassed at work, instead of silently suffering or quitting their jobs, they can collect evidence, documents and witnesses to complain and denounce the person performing the act of sexual harassment. This person may be dismissed according to the law and the enterprise’s labor regulations. In case an employee who was sexual harassment at the workplace does not want to continue working, she may unilaterally terminate the labor contract immediately without prior notice to the employer.
2. Beneficial policies for female employees which pregnant or nursing employees
2.1 Maternity protection policy
- First, FEs are not required to work at night, work overtime and go on a long-distance working trip in the following circumstances: i) Pregnant from the 7th month or from the 6th month if working in upland, remote, border and island areas; ii) The employee is raising a child under 12 months of age unless otherwise agreed by her.
The fact that FEs work at night (from 10 pm to 6 am the next day), work overtime (work outside normal working hours) or go on long business trips (have to travel a lot) are likely to affect their health, thereby affecting the development of the fetus. Therefore, the above provisions will help FEs not be forced to do work that harms their health and the development of the fetus.
- Second, FEs who do arduous, hazardous and dangerous occupations and works, extremely arduous, hazardous and dangerous occupations and works or any work that might negatively affect their maternity, notice for their employer shall be assigned to less laborious or safer work, or reduce the working hours by 01 hours per day without reducing their salary, rights or benefits until their child reaches 12 months of age.
The employee does not need to wait for a certain period in her pregnancy to notice to the employer about changing jobs or reducing working hours but can notice since she is pregnant.
The list of arduous, hazardous and dangerous occupations and works, extremely arduous, hazardous and dangerous occupations and works are specified in Circular 11/2020/TT-BLDTBXH issued by the Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs. The list of jobs that might negatively affect maternity is specified in Circular 10/2020/TT-BLDTBXH issued by the Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs.
- Third, the employer must not dismiss an employee or unilaterally terminate the employment contract with an employee due to her marriage, pregnancy, maternity leave, or nursing a child under 12 months of age, except for cases where the employer is a natural person dies or is declared incapacitated, missing or dead by the court, or the employer that is not a natural person ceases its business operation, declared by a provincial business registration authority that it does not have a legal representative or a person authorized to perform the legal representative’s rights and obligations.
Upon expiration of the employment contract with a pregnant female employee or nursing a child under 12 months of age, the conclusion of a new employment contract shall be given priority. This new regulation comes from the unique characteristics of FEs (giving birth, raising a child), to ensure that the employees have economic and salary to care for and raise their children.
- Fourth, a female employee who is nursing a child under 12 months is entitled to a daily break of 60 minutes. This daily break time will be fully paid under the employment contract.
In case the employee wishes to have more flexible rest periods, she can negotiate with the employer to arrange a suitable rest period. In case the employee does not need rest and the employer allows her to work, the employee will be paid an extra salary that corresponds to the amount of work done by her during the rest period to which she is entitled.
Above is the article “Beneficial policies for female employees in the workplace (part 1)”, TNTP hopes the article will be helpful and give some grounds for FEs to best protect their rights. Readers can follow the next part in the following periods.