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Tet bonuses: some will laugh, some will cry

Released at: 10:04, 20/01/2016

Tet bonuses: some will laugh, some will cry

Labor Ministry survey reveals most employees will receive a Tet bonus this year but the amount will differ wildly.

by Le Diem

While some employees at foreign enterprises will be overjoyed at receiving a Tet bonus “jackpot” of VND624 million ($27,800) others will have to glumly settle for just VND40,000 ($1.7).  

Average salaries in 2015 and Tet bonuses for 2016 were and will be higher than in previous years, according to a report based on a survey conducted on 13,178 enterprises with 2.4 million employees by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs. Higher wages matched higher GDP per capita in 2015 of VND45.7 million ($2,109), up $57 against 2014. Additionally, the CPI increased just 0.63 per cent compared to 2014; the lowest in 14 years and far below the target of 5 per cent. Meanwhile, labor productivity was estimated at VND79.3 million ($3,657) per worker, up 6.4 per cent against 2014.

According to the report some 72 per cent of foreign enterprises provided bonuses for the January 1 new year, averaging about VND1.18 million ($52.6) per person, an increase of 1.6 per cent over the previous year. The highest was VND2.028 trillion ($90,400) per person at a foreign enterprise in Ho Chi Minh City, while the lowest was VND24,000 ($1.07) at a foreign enterprise in northern Thai Binh province.

Meanwhile, around 87 per cent of enterprises expect to give a Tet bonus of an average of a month’s salary (about VND5.5 million, or $245), up 15.7 per cent over last year. The highest will be $27,800 per person at a foreign enterprise in Hai Duong while the lowest will be $1.7 per person in a foreign enterprise in southern Binh Phuoc province.

The average monthly income in 2015 was around VND5.5 million ($245), up 8 per cent year-on-year. State employees earned the highest, at VND7 million ($310), followed by employees at foreign enterprises with VND5.5 million ($245) and private sector employees with VND4.9 million ($219), up 8, 9, and 6 per cent, respectively, against 2014. The higher wages reflect the higher profits earned by enterprises in 2015, according to Ms. Tong Thi Minh, Head of the Labor Department at the ministry.

In terms of sectors, salaries in trade and services are now the highest, at VND6.3 million ($280) per person per month, up 8.8 per cent against 2014. Following was industry and construction, at VND5.3 million ($235), up 11 per cent, while the lowest was in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, at VND4.5 million ($200), up 3 per cent.

Industries such as rubber and oil and gas saw profits decline due to falling global prices even though labor productivity increased. Enterprises in these industries around the world have cut down staff numbers and salaries, according to Ms. Minh, while in Vietnam they have tried to keep their workforce stable by cutting other costs and reducing salaries (by up to 10 per cent). For example, in the rubber industry, where approximately 120,000 people are employed, productivity increased 6 per cent last year compared to 2014 but due to falling rubber prices salaries had to be cut by 4-5 per cent, Ms. Minh said.

The report also showed that around 14 enterprises in eight provinces owe salaries totaling VND16.5 billion ($736,000) to 2,300 employees. More than 1,700 enterprises (about 13 per cent of those in the survey) had no plans to pay a Tet bonus this year.

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