Female workers at a joint stock company in the central province of Nghe An. ​(Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Proposed legislation to eliminate some favourable conditions for female workers has met with resistance by both workers and employers.  

If approved, the draft Labour Code for 2018 would remove the favourable terms for female workers that were regulated by the 2012 Labour Code. These include a 30-minute daily break for menstruating women, 60-minute break a day for women nursing babies younger than one year.

Tran Thi Dung, chairwoman of HCM City-based Kollan Company’s trade union, said these favourable terms reflected an understanding of the needs of female workers. “A 30-minute break every day on menstruating days shows sympathy for weariness of women, helping female labourers feel motivated and giving them peace of mind.”

Tran Thi Phuong, working at An Dien Garment Company in HCM City, said “women feel comfortable on menstruating days if they have time for personal hygiene at the workplace. Many enterprises apply strict regulations on break time so female workers don’t have enough time for personal hygiene.”

Dr Nguyen Bich Thao with 30 years of obstetrics experience agreed that women got tired when they menstruate. Short breaks every day will help them feel more comfortable and boost labour productivity, she said. “Women who are in breastfeeding need a short break every day to pump milk,” she added. “Short break are very necessary for them.”

Reproductive healthcare for female workers hasn’t received proper attention from employers.

A young female worker at HCM City-based Tan Binh Industrial Park said: “I need time for my 10-month-age child. Thanks to the regulation on a 60-minute break every day, I had time to nurse the child who was at a childcare centre near the company.”

Tran Thi Nhu Phuong, head of the HCM City Women’s Union, said the current Labour Code’s regulation on 30-minute breaks for menstruating women was reasonable, helping female workers avoid  gynaecological disease and ensuring their reproductive health.

“Favourable terms for female workers are in keeping with international conventions,” Phuong said. "Why do we eliminate such regulations? Law makers need to listen ideas from beneficiaries and independent organisations.”

Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City Labour Federation, said waiving such favourable terms for female workers was a setback for the Labour Code.

Talks between the city’s Labour Federation officials and local workers indicate that not only do all workers disapprove of the change, but so do employers.

“My opinion is that in a progressive and modern society female workers must be given priority. We cannot waive favourable terms due to some complains by enterprises,” she said.

Some employers have arranged suitable jobs for female workers still nursing their children, according to Thuy, enabling them to undertake light work, leave early and not work night shifts.-VNA