Vietnam bans hiring of women for 77 unhealthy jobs

TN News

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Female employees sewing at the Saigon 2 Garment JSC in Ho Chi Minh City, whose job is not included in the ban's list. PHOTO: TUOI TRE

ietnam's labor ministry has prohibited employers from hiring women in general for 38 jobs; and hiring pregnant women or those raising babies under one year old for another 39 jobs in a bid to protect them from the "health-threatening" jobs.

The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs' decree on the prohibited jobs, which amended a similar one issued in 2011, is set to take effect from December 15.

According to the decree, the list is based on Article 160 of last year's amendment of the Labor Code, which includes jobs that badly affect women's reproduction and child raising duties, and those that require them to frequently put themselves in water.

Among the 38 jobs from which women are completely banned are metal processing, oil well drilling, gas exploration, setting up, maintaining and repairing high-voltage power lines, repairing or decorating the outside of tall buildings at a height of above 12 meters without any protection, boiler operation and carrying things that weigh over 50 kilograms.

Other jobs include sewer dredging without machines, mining, underwater concrete construction, and work requiring workers to stay in dirty and stinky water for at least four hours a day for more than three days a week.

The decree stipulates that female workers who are pregnant or raising children under 12 months old are not allowed to work in the field where they are directly exposed to electromagnet or radioactive substances, or chemicals that can cause gene mutation, cancer or badly affect fetus health and breast milk quality.

This group is also not allowed to clean boilers or carry things over 20 kilograms. They are banned from working in dirty water, or in places where they have to maintain restrained postures like bending or stooping, or places that lack fresh air and have extreme temperatures. 

The decree requires employers to re-check if any of their female employees are working on the banned jobs and give them work that is not harmful to their health.

They are also asked to report on such arrangements, work safety and hygiene issues every six months.

All local labor departments are required to cooperate with local health departments and labor unions to regularly inspect compliance by employers, punish any violations and report them to the labor ministry.

Bui Duc Nhuong, deputy director of the labor ministry's Labor Safety Department, allayed concerns over the impacts that the decree will have on women and their employability.

He told the Vietnam News Agency that it is good for women as it protects them from health-threatening jobs.

A labor policy expert with the ministry was quoted by the news agency as saying that although the number of women currently working in banned jobs is not very high, it will still be a challenge for the authorities to monitor compliance in poor and remote areas.

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