How labour safety is regulated amid pandemic hinh anh 1Checking and sending Chinese workers to quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - As of February 11, of the 15 cases tested positive for coronavirus (nCoV) in Vietnam, five were workers of a Vinh Phuc-based company who returned home after their training in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, and five were their relatives.

VietnamPlus had an interview with Nguyen Anh Tho, deputy head of the Department of Work Safety under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), on work safety and disease prevention and control in enterprises, particularly those hiring thousands of labourers, including Chinese nationals.

Question: What impact is the disease having on firms’ production and business?

Nguyen Anh Tho: Under the Government’s direction as well as enterprises’ active compliance to disease prevention regulations, domestic production and business remain stable. Currently, only the education system is temporary shutdown, affecting workers’ care for their children.

Question: At industrial parks, there are hundreds, even thousands, of workers, so it is hard to follow the recommendation on public gathering restriction. What are preventive measures enterprises should follow to ensure both workers’ health and production?

Nguyen Anh Tho: Many agencies and enterprises are preventing the disease using heat sensor devices, hand wash bottles, and face masks. Workers themselves are well aware of preventative measures to perform at home, during their traffic, and at work.

How labour safety is regulated amid pandemic hinh anh 2Nguyen Anh Tho, deputy head of the Department of Work Safety (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Apart from following regulations on labour safety and hygiene outside working hours, firms should instruct their workers not to gather in groups and avoid unnecessary conversations to limit contacts.

We have to pay attention to cases with symptoms of the disease, particularly via increasing the spirit of self-declaration.

Question: In businesses hiring Chinese nationals with higher risk of infection, what preventative measures should be carried out to keep workers’ anxiety at bay?

Nguyen Anh Tho: The Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs has established regulations on monitoring people returning from disease-hit areas, particularly Chinese managers coming back to Vietnam.

The Government’s instruction on nCOV prevention and control clearly identifies people whose entries to Vietnam will not be allowed and those to be quarantined upon arrival. Those completely following regulations and tested negative for the virus can join the workforce as normal.

I think workers should be updated on the situation to work at ease of mind and cooperate with one another more effectively.

Question: According to the Law on Labour, in what cases will employees have the right to take leave or work from home for disease prevention? Will they be paid as normal during their absence in such cases?

Nguyen Anh Tho: In fact, under the current regulations of the Government and the Law on Labour, workers are working as normal.

In case transmission sources or outbreaks are found, in line with the regulations, chairmen of centrally-run municipal and provincial People’s Committees will decide the operation of which enterprises and organisations will be stopped.

On the other hands, according to Point Đ, Clause 1, Article 5 of the Law on Labour Safety and Hygiene, employees have the right to refuse to work or leave their working places, but still receive their full salaries and are not considered violating the labour discipline when they clearly detect labour risks that severely threaten their lives and health. They should also promptly notify their managers of these risks.

According to Point Đ, Clause 1, Article 7 of the law, employers cannot force employees to continue doing their jobs or return to work when there are risks that severely threaten their lives and health.

Clause 3, Article 98 of the 2012 Labour Law regulates that with objective reasons like natural disasters, fire, diseases, relocation of working areas as required by competent agencies, or economic reasons, the salaries paid for workers to quit their job cannot be lower than the minimum wage under the Government’s regulation.

Accordingly, if workers have to take leave due to the disease, they will still receive salaries they had negotiated with their employers, and the salaries must not be lower than the minimum wage.

Thank you!