IW Supports Vietnam Labour Code ReformStories /19 October 2018
HANOI—Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, supported the Vietnam Government as it hosted a public consultation on the draft Labour Code on 19 October to highlight the benefits of workplace gender equality and its efforts to address women and men’s equal opportunities and treatment.
Some 200 participants gathered in Hanoi for the workshop organised by the Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). This number included women and men from the drafting committee, government, local officials, private sector, international organisations, non-government groups, the civil society, the diplomatic community, and the media.
“Creating an enabling environment for women in the workplace is a priority for the Vietnamese Government,” Madam Nguyen Thi Ha, MOLISA Vice Minister said in her opening speech. “We see the Labour Code reform as an opportunity to make progress in this area.”
Investing in Women’s involvement in the public consultation is part of the Australian Government response to Vietnam’s request for support in its Labour Code reform. The technical assistance from Australia focuses on shifting the approach on five areas of Vietnam’s current Labour Code:
- Unequal retirement ages between women and men
- The ban on women in certain areas of employment
- Provisions seeking to prevent sexual harassment
- Paternity leave and workplace childcare
- Equal pay between men and women for work of equal value
“Gender inequality should no longer be seen as a purely social issue, but as an economic one that presents a key challenge to attaining inclusive and sustainable growth,” Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, His Excellency Craig Chittick, said at the opening of the consultation.
The planned update of the Labour Code comes as the government prepares to enter into the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, a deal that will expand Vietnam’s access to EU markets by cutting 99% of import tariffs over a decade.
Addressing gender equality challenges in the Labour Code will also allow Vietnam to harmonise its internal policies. Vietnam’s Constitution identifies as state policy the protection of women’s rights and prevention of discrimination. In 2006, Vietnam also passed its Gender Equality Law.
In addition to hosting the October 19 event, MOLISA will publish the draft revised Labour Code for public comment later this year before submitting the proposal to the National Assembly-Social Affairs Committee. The draft law is scheduled to be brought before the National Assembly in May 2019.