Vietnam has been experiencing the "fourth wave" of COVID-19 cases since the end of April 2021. With the aim to maintain the dual goals of economic growth and epidemic prevention, manufacturing enterprises, especially in industrial zones, are encouraged, or in some cases required, to arrange for employees to temporarily work, eat and sleep on-site if they want to continue operation. This model is called “three-on-the-spot”, or "3T". Alternatively, these enterprises must arrange one transportation route between the accommodation location and the workplace, which is called "one route, two destinations." These are applicable options for the concurrent isolation and production arrangement ("concurrent isolation and production arrangement") and have been respectively applied in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang since May and early June this year, when the province was substantially impacted by COVID-19.
Many provinces in southern Vietnam have recently also required this arrangement for enterprises that wish to reopen in the area.
The concurrent isolation and production arrangement is currently an effective solution for enterprises with factories to reopen and maintain operations while still being able to apply quarantine regulations for COVID-19 prevention and control. In certain cities and provinces where the incidence of infection is at a critical level, such as in Ho Chi Minh City, such arrangement is legally required for manufacturing enterprises if they want to continue operating. Please consider implementing this arrangement at your workplace to enable the continuity of business operations and ensure compliance with requirements of local authorities (if any).
We will keep you updated of any relevant developments. In the meantime, should you have any inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us.
In more detail
1. Concurrent isolation and production arrangement
To prevent the widespread impact of COVID-19 while maintaining manufacturing and related operations, many provinces and municipalities (such as HCMC, Binh Duong, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Long An, Vinh Long, Dong Nai) have issued guidance and orders for enterprises with factories to institute the concurrent isolation and production arrangement for their employees.
On 14 July 2021, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor and the VCCI jointly issued advice on the matter through Guidance No. 2242/LDTBXH-TLD-PTM. The conditions of the safety requirements for production and business operations are as follows:
- Have COVID-19 infectious risk of under 30% per Decision No. 2194/QD-BCDQG.1
- Have commitment forms signed, ensuring safety measures regarding COVID-19 prevention and control; have established resolutions if a COVID-19 infected case is recorded, in accordance with Decision No. 2787/QD-BYT.2
- Not include employees who are subject to medical quarantine.
- Arrange concentrated accommodation and separate working places for employees who work in the area; practice social distancing according to the request of competent authorities.
- Ensure that transportation plans for employees from the concentrated accommodation to the workplace meets the requirements in Decision No. 2787/QD-BYT; ensure the shortest route for the transportation, with one transportation route between the accommodation location and the workplace.
- Ensure that all employees have negative SARS-CoV-2 virus test results before getting into the concentrated accommodation area.
Under this guidance, enterprises are required to undertake the following:
- Implement the three-on-the-spot arrangement according to distancing plan; allocate shifts; ensure requirements in terms of concentrated accommodation for employees (if any), in alignment with Decision No. 2787/QD-BYT; ensure meal quality and health of employees.
- Coordinate with competent medical establishments to ensure two testing schedules for all employees who are under the three-on-the-spot arrangement.
- Combine a list of employees' information, which should be updated every three days, and update testing results before 3 pm everyday (if any) and submit a report to the competent authorities.
Various provinces and cities or authorities of industrial zones have also issued official letters to require enterprises in their locations to implement the concurrent isolation and production arrangement.
2. Implementation of the concurrent isolation and production arrangement
Enterprises must register with competent authorities regarding the implementation of this arrangement. Procedures may vary across different provinces. Generally, enterprises in industrial and export processing zones have to register their plans with the local industrial zone authorities. Enterprises outside of industrial or export processing zones, competent departments of planning and investment, or the people's committees of the province or district, can approve the plan for the arrangement. In addition to the plan registration, enterprises should consult with the employees' representative organization and obtain the written consent of the employees who intend to join the arrangement. When implementing the arrangement, enterprises should ensure all requirements regarding safety and hygiene, logistics, etc., are met according to the laws and guidance on COVID-19 prevention and control.
3. Salary payment and other benefits for employees
For employees who join the concurrent isolation and production arrangement, salary payment will be conducted normally. Some enterprises also offer incentives to support the employees.
Employees whose works are suspended may be entitled to work suspension salary. Several local and labor authorities have provided guidance on this issue. In general, the Labor Code stipulates that the work suspension salary for the first 14 suspended working days will be negotiated by both the employer and the employees, provided that such salary is not less than the statutory regional minimum wage. If the work suspension continues after the first 14 working days, the work suspension salary shall be negotiated and agreed on between the employee and employer. Other considerations include employees taking unpaid leave or annual leave, or both parties entering into a mutual agreement to temporarily suspend labor contract implementation.
In addition, employees whose work has been impacted by the pandemic may also be entitled to support and allowances provided by the government.