Proposed 6-month notice period for pilots sparks debate

By Ha Nguyen, Thanh Nien News

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The Ministry of Transport’s draft circular that requires pilots to give air carriers six months' notice before resigning has received mixed reviews.
Under the draft circular, highly trained employees, including pilots, aircraft maintenance workers, air traffic controllers and flight coordinators, must inform their airlines at least six months in advance before they can have their contracts terminated.
If the employees fail to follow the rule, they must compensate for the training fees that the airlines have paid for them.
The biggest supporter of the draft circular is national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, which went through a personnel crisis early this year after a number of its highly trained employees filed resignation requests.
Pham Ngoc Minh, general director of Vietnam Airlines, said the new regulation, if approved, will ensure healthy competition and safety in the aviation market.
He explained that a sudden resignation of a pilot would disrupt an airline’s business plan, and it usually takes four months to find a replacement and two months for the new pilot to adapt to the new environment.
He added that Vietnam Airlines issues new flying schedules every six months, so the six-month notice period is necessary.
On the contrary, VietJet Air, one of the rivals of Vietnam Airlines, is strongly opposed to the new regulation.
Luu Duc Khanh, its general director, said the regulation is "discriminatory" and contradictory to the Labor Code, which regulates that laborers must give a 30-day notice before resignation.
He said the new regulation will surely be protested by foreign pilots, who make up 90 percent of all pilots hired by Vietjet Air.
Lawyer Le Dinh Vinh, director of Vietthink Law Firm, said the Labor Code states that a labor contract must be made with the consensus of both the employer and the employee, so the termination of the contract should be voluntarily agreed upon by both sides.
He said the draft regulation goes against that rule. 

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