On Friday 8th May 2020, EuroCham hosted a webinar with two special guest speakers from Baker McKenzie – an active member of EuroCham’s Human Resources & Training Sector Committee. The event brought together over 50 participants to discuss how companies can handle cost-saving measures and labour issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. EuroCham Executive Director Oliver Regner hosted the event, which also featured Mr Van Trung Khuat, Senior Associate at Baker McKenzie; and Mr Tung Phong Luc, Paralegal at Baker McKenzie.
The presenters from Baker McKenzie described the regulations around several potential issues which have arisen for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guest speakers talked about topics such as unpaid leave for workers, force majeure terminations, labour contract suspensions, and a reduction in salaries. These issues have arisen as a concern for enterprises as an unfortunate and regrettable side-effect of the economic impact of COVID-19 on businesses in a range of sectors and industries.
Baker McKenzie also discussed the detailed circumstances in which each of these provisions is permissible, and what businesses need to consider before deciding to take such actions. The presenters then moved on to some of the risks that could arise if businesses choose to pursue one of these options, and provided some recommendations for how to handle labour disputes. The discussion ranged from legal implications to reputational risks for firms, and also outlined the various stakeholders involved in the labour dispute process. Guests also heard an update on some of the landmark changes in Vietnam’s new Labour Code and how these would impact on the resolution of labour disputes, including the rights of workers to establish an independent trade union and the role of arbitration tribunals.
In the Q&A session, participants discussed issues such as the regulations on consultations with staff, notice periods required for unpaid and annual leave, as well as salaries and benefit reductions.
During these times of COVID-19, EuroCham will continue to keep our members updated on new developments in the business environment here in Vietnam through webinars such as this one. However, due to technical restrictions, the number of guests is limited to 100. So, please follow us on social media and check our e-bulletin each week to be first-in-line to register for future webinars.