Working in Saigon is always an exciting but also nerve wracking adventure. As an expat, you are to experience new things, see the leading attractions to visit, try traditional Vietnamese food, get to know the locals as well as their traditions, and maybe go on a night out to drink a bottle of the best beer in the country (or two) as you meet people. These are all good things but of course, there are also some things that you need to understand and think about as things may be done differently in your home country.

So, as an employee, especially an expat living in Saigon, what are a few things you need to understand about the Labour code in Vietnam?

The new Labour Code went into effect on 1 May 2013 and introduced several changes that concerned labour subleasing, maternity leave, work permit duration and revised work hours, amongst others. The term of the labor contract should normally range from twelve to thirty-six months, although the contract can be indefinite, and in some cases, seasonal employment can also be allowed.

In general, the new set of laws tends to favour employee rights and has made it harder for employers to terminate employment. Here are some of the relevant details below, though this is not a complete list:

››A probationary period does not exceed 30 days of employment with a position requiring vocational and professional level qualifications; 60 days of employment with a position requiring a college level qualification or above; and six days for all other cases.

››The wage for the probationary period is at least 85% of the wage scale rate of that position.

››The maximum validity of a work permit for a foreign employee is reduced from 36 months to 24 months.

››The annual Lunar Tết holidays will increase to five days from the original four.

››Maternity leave is increased to six months from the original four.

The current labor code is now under review and changes are expected.