Legal briefing February, 2016

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I. Circular No. 20/2015/TT-BTP giving details and providing guidelines for implementation of a number of articles of the Decree 23/2015/ND-CP dated 16 February 2015 issuing copies from masters registers, certification of true copies from originals, authentication of signatures and contracts (Circular 20)

Sector: Administrative

Effective date: 15 February 2016

Highlights:

Circular 20 has provided the guidelines for implementation of a number of articles on certification of true copies from originals, authentication of signatures, notarization of contracts, transactions, in particular:

Decree 23 has simplified the procedure on notarization of contracts. However, due to the unfamiliarity with new administrative procedures, some of local authorities themselves invent additional provisions or require additional documents in the notarization dossier. The Circular 20 has addressed this shortcoming: in receipt and settlement of the notarization requests, the notary is not allowed to invent any additional step, or request for more documents other than those stipulated in the Decree 23. Circular 20 also regulates that if the notary fails to settle the notarization requests within 15 hours and fails in producing results within one day or having to extend the settlement schedule under Article 21, 33, 37 of Decree 23, a clear appointment letter is required to be sent to the requester.

Besides the cumbersome in notarization, Decree 23 has not also detailed the template of testimonies on document of legacy inheritance, document of legacy refusal.  Consequently, the competent authorities were confused and even refused to authenticate. Therefore, Circular 20 has given details for this matter in Article 3.1 and issued a template attached with the Circular. In addition, Circular 20 also attached a sample of authentication testimony of signatures to ensure the consistency of application of the Circular.

Comments/Impacts:

Circular 20 expectedly settles the problems arising from implementation of Decree 23 such as the lack of templates and inconsistency of required dossier.

II. Circular No. 59/2015/TT-BLDTBXH detailing and guiding the implementation of some articles of the Law on Social Insurance on compulsory social insurance (Circular 59)

Sector: Insurance

Effective date: 15 February 2016

Highlights: 

Circular 59 has various remarkable points as follows:

(i) Circular 59 supplements the provision on the payment of compulsory social insurance drawing from the monthly wage, allowances (from 1st January 2016 to 31th 2017), in which such allowances are the ones to offset the factors of working conditions, the complexity of work, activity conditions, level of labor attraction for which the agreed wage in labor contract is not calculated or incompletely calculated such as allowances of position, title, responsibility, heaviness, hazardousness, dangerousness, seniority, region, mobility, attraction and the like. Besides, the monthly wage paid for compulsory social insurance shall not include the other benefits and welfare, initiative bonus, meals between shifts, gasoline, telephone, travel, accommodation and child care allowances; assistance upon the death of employees’ relatives, the marriage of employees’ relatives, employees’ birthday, subsidy to the employees in difficult situation in case of work accident, occupational disease and other allowances and assistance recorded in separate items in the labor contract.

(ii) Circular 59 provides conditions to enjoy an one-time subsidy upon birth giving as follows: (a) In case only the father participates in the social insurance, the time of payment must be from full 06 months or more within the period of 12 months before birth giving; (b) For the husband of the mother requesting surrogacy, the social insurance payment must be from full 06 months or more within a period of 12 months to the time of child receipt.

(iii) Under Circular 59, when applying monthly pension, a rate of 2% of monthly pension shall be reduced for each year of retirement prior to the prescribed age, which is higher than the rate of 1% under Circular 03/2007//TT-BLDTBXH.

(iv) The rate of entitlement to enjoy one-time social insurance of the employees having the time of social insurance payment of less than 01 year is equal to 22% of the rates of monthly wage of social insurance payment; the maximum rate is equal to 02 months of the average monthly wage of social insurance payment.

Comments/Impacts:

Circular 59 has provided a means for realization of the Law on Social Insurance and Decree No. 115/2015/ND-CP. The Circular is expected to protect tens millions employees and financial resources of entities engaging in social insurance.

III. Circular No. 09/2015/TTLT-BCA-BYT-BTC guiding implementation of health care insurance applicable to employees, students, relations of solider of People’s Public Security of Vietnam (Circular 09)

Sector: Insurance

Effective date: 11 February 2016

Highlights:

Noticeably, Circular 09 details the scope of employees whose health insurance is contributed by the local Public Security and the employee themselves, and the ones whose health insurance is contributed by state budget. Accordingly, the relations of soldier, students of Public Security cultural school and foreign students who are granted scholarship at Public Security school shall enjoy the health insurance covered by the state budget.

Regarding the contribution responsibility in special cases, Circular 09 prescribes that within the time of sick leave from 14 days onward, in which the sick leave benefit is applicable, employees and their employers are not required to contribute into the health insurance while the health insurance benefit is still applicable.

Circular 09 provides that within the time of detention, in custody or temporarily suspended from their work before being investigated or judged guilty or not guilty of their offences, ratio applicable to health care insurance contribution shall be 4.5% of 50% of the monthly salary subject to social insurance contributions as stipulated by laws. The remaining contribution shall be contributed in case it is concluded that there is no violation accordingly.

Employees who are currently living and working abroad are not subject to health care insurance contribution within the period of being aboard. The period of being abroad shall be counted as uninterrupted in application of health care insurance contribution.

Comments/Impacts:

This Circular has come into effect from 11 February 2016. However, the provisions on contribution level, contribution liability, and contribution method in respect of health insurance have been effective since 1 January 2015.

IV. Decree No. 11/2016/ND-CP providing guidelines for implementation of Labor Code on foreigners working in Vietnam (Decree 11)

Sector: Labor

Effective date: 1 April 2016

Highlights:

The scope of foreigners who are exempted from work permit is extended to include experts, individuals being the chief executive officials or those holding management positions or technicians who work in Vietnam for less than 30 days per period and the total accumulated working day in Vietnam is no more than 90 days per year. Further, method for determination of an expert, a chief executive official and management positions is also detailed in this Decree.

Confirmation of demand for use of foreign employees by Chairman of provincial people’s committee is not required in particular cases, noticeably for foreign employees with abovementioned working period in Vietnam.

 

With respect to the application for obtaining work permit, in case a foreigner has been residing in Vietnam, only criminal record issued by competent authority in Vietnam is required. However, there is still no further clarification for applying this provision, i.e. how to determine that a foreigner has been residing in Vietnam. In addition, processing time for the issuance of work permit is shortened from 10 to 7 working days from full submission.

Comments/Impacts:

Decree 11 simplifies the process of work permit and facilitates favorable conditions for foreigners working in Vietnam.

V. Circular No. 36/2015/TT-NHNN on restructuring of credit institutions (Circular 36)

Sector: Banking and Finance

Effective date: 1 March 2016

Highlights:

Inheriting positive points of Circular 04 and being amended, supplemented to qualify requirements on restructuring of bank system and sustainable development of credit institutions system, Circular 36 has the following notable points:

  • The Circular 36 applies to credit institutions being commercial banks and finance companies only.
  • In addition to merger and consolidation, conversion of legal form of credit institutions is also be governed as one of restructuring form. Accordingly,
  • a commercial bank or finance company may convert from a limited liability company into a shareholding company, or vice versa; and a commercial bank or finance company may convert from a single member LLC into a multiple member LLC, or vice versa.
  • In case of conversion, the credit institution must have a conversion plan approved by its competent body and satisfy other requirements in accordance with laws.

It is strictly prohibited to disperse assets in any form.

Comments/Impacts:

Circular 36 is expected, by supplementing regulations regarding conversion of legal form of credit institution and improving regulations regarding merge and consolidation of credit institution, to create a bank system fully complying with current market principles.

By Vietnam Law Insight

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us at info@LNTpartners.com

Civil Transactions under the new Civil Code 2015 – Vietnam Law Insight

On 24 November 2015, the National Assembly passed the new Civil Code 2015, a leading code governing all civil relations in the society, which will take effective and replace the current one on 1 January 2017.

The official text of the new Civil Code has not yet been announced and published. However, referring to the most updated draft which was submitted for adoption of the National Assembly, it finds that the new code has many significant and progressive amendments learning from shortcomings of the current one and from the practice. These amendments surely will significantly change the way contracting parties negotiate, agree and enter into agreements.

Among those amendments, there are some initial notable changes as follows:

  • Company charter may provide the term and scope of the representative authority a legal representative may have. Accordingly, companies may have a chance to limit the representative scope of their legal representative in their charter, which is not possible under the current prevailing laws. However, it will also increase the burden on contracting parties when entering into an agreement, because they must check other parties’ charters, or other evidence, to make sure that they are dealing with the right persons.
  • Civil transactions which are not in compliance with form, e.g. not notarized when it is required so, may NOT invalid if one party or both parties have implemented at least two thirds of their obligations under the relevant transaction. Though, identification of such “two thirds” may require further guidance from competent authorities.
  • Statute of limitations shall only be applied to a lawsuit upon request of a party(ies) if such request is given before the issuance of the first instance judgment. A party who may benefit from applying statute of limitations is also entitled to refuse such application.
  • The new code also entitles contracting parties to “new” security means for performance of obligations in contracts, in addition to the current ones, including (i) reserving ownership of assets until completion of payment, and (ii) putting a lien on assets in case of any violations. Actually, these means have been practically employed for a long time, but they are not legally recognized until the establishment of the new code.

There is still a long way before the new code comes into effect and brings its progressive changes to Vietnam practice. However, it is expected that the new Civil Code shall, together with other significant changes in various sectors of law, support the development of Vietnamese market and help to narrow down the gap between the effectiveness of Vietnamese legal frameworks and of other developing countries.

By Vietnam Law Insight

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us at info@LNTpartners.com or our website http://www.LNTpartners.com.

New Laws on Investment and Enterprise Come Into Effect from Midnight

As you now all know, the new Law on Enterprise (LOE) and Law on Investment (LOI) will take effect from 0.00AM tomorrow, 1 July 2015 promising to bring many positive changes to Vietnam business environment. 

What enterprises and investors are all now waiting for are the Decrees implementing the LOE and LOI, which have not been issued yet.

While the final draft of the decrees are now being circulated, and the vacatio legis by law would be 45 days after promulgation by the Government, the Ministry of Planning of Investment (MPI) sent and urgent Official Letter No. 4211/BKHĐT-ĐKKD dated 26 June 2015 (OL 4211) on business registration, implementing LOE (please click here to download).

Another Official Letter implementing the LOI are expected to be circulated anytime from now until Midnight (we have been informed that this Official Letter No 4326/BKHĐT-ĐTNN dated 30 June 2015 implementing LOI was issued, and will provide you with updates in the next legal alert).

Under OL4211, notable changes are as follows:

  1. Application of ERC for current foreign invested enterprise (FIE): for enterprises operating under an Investment Certificate (IC) or an Investment License (IL), when amending  the IC or IL, they will apply for the Enterprise Registration Certificate (ERC). The ERC dossier will be similar to the dossier for applying a new ERC, attached with the current IC or IL.
  1. Simplified ERC registration process: Art 24 LOE only requires applicants to file, among others, scope of business, and not the HS Code or CPC to the registration request or establishing an enterprise, be it a limited liability company (LLC) or a joint stock company (JSC). The form under Art 24 LOE is now being drafted by the local department of planning and investment (DPI) and to be released soon.  The CPC will be filled in by the DPI, and there is still a risk that the CPC/HS Code filled by the DPI are not matched by the CPC/HS Code of products to be imported by the enterprise. However, the enterprise’s application will no longer be rejected because the CPC/HS Code is not found or unfit.   Please note that with respect to FIEs, the filing of HS Code and CPC would still be required under form MĐ-6 of Circular 08/2013/TT-BCT dated 22 April 2013 of (Circular 08) of Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).  This requirement is still valid until 1 July 2016, at the latest (LOI, Art 74.3).
  1. Place of business to be notified, not registered: the notice shall be sent within 10 days to the local DPI from the date of the decision to open a new place of business. This regulation does not affect requirements to have specific license for each type of business (e.g. a supermarket license, warehouse license, school license etc).
  1. A change of the scope of business, a JSC private placement, and entry of foreign shareholders to be notified, not registered: these changes are notified at the local DPI, who will then reconfirm within 3 working days from receipt of notice. The DPI reserves the right to reject the notice if the conditions for foreign investors’ entry under WTO assessments or other local laws are not met (for “conditional projects”). Therefore it is advisable that the scope of business of an enterprise must be “clean” from conditions, before a notice of foreign shareholders are sent. After foreign shareholders have been duly notified, the enterprise may change its scope of business. This change may still be subject to scrutiny, but the conditions will be strictly by law (e.g., percentage of foreign shareholding) rather by the authorities’ discretion.
  1. Enterprises can make more than one seals by notice. The new seals will be published on the National Business Registration Portal (NBRP).
  1. Liquidation process to be simplified: the enterprise’s liquidation shall be made within 6 months from the passing of the resolution for its liquidation. Within that 6 months, the tax authority should confirm the enterprise’s fulfillment of tax obligations. Unless the tax authority send a notice of objection, the liquidation process will complete within that time period and the enterprise will be deleted from the NBRP.

 

Some issues are still unclear under OL4211:

  1. Whether enterprises operating under an IC or IL must surrender its original IC or IL when receiving the ERC, and if so, what would be their new Investment Registration Certificate (IRC) under the new LOI, and what would be the In Principle Approval (IPA), should an IPA be required under the new LOI.
  1. Must a foreign shareholder have a “project” when it acquires shares (i.e., indirect investment) in a local company? It is likely that it is not required, but we might need to confirm this by an official letter implementing the LOI (ad hoc regulation pending Decrees implementing LOI).
  2. What is the real difference between “registration” and “notice” if DPI may have the right to send a negative opinion on a notice filed?

For more information about this article, please contact the author: Dr. Le Net at the email: Net.le@LNTpartners.com

By Vietnam Law Insight (LNT & Partners)

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

New Guidance on Unemployed Insurance

On 12 March 2015, the Government issued Decree No. 28/2015/ND-CP that provides detailed regulations on the implementation of a number of aspects in the Law on Employment, with specific regard to unemployment insurance (Decree 28). The new Decree replaces Decree No. 127/2008/ND-CP on the same subject, and Decree No. 100/2012/ND-CP which amended and supplemented a number of articles in Decree 127.

Decree 28 provides guidance on regulations relating to entitlement of employees as well as employers under unemployment insurance policies, including support given to the employer for training, fostering and raising vocational skill levels of the employees, unemployment allowances and jobs consultancy and vocational training with the highlighted points as follows:

  • The employer who satisfies conditions on full unemployment insurance payments, suffering from economy decline, or having insufficient funds to arrange training to enhance vocational skills level of the employees and having a plan for such training, shall be entitled to a supporting amount of VND 1 million per month for each employee. If the incurred cost is higher, the employer will bear the exceeding amount;
  • Employees that have entered into a seasonal labour contract before the effectiveness of the Law on Employment (i.e. 01 January 2015) shall be eligible to join unemployment insurance if the remaining span of the labour contract is more than 03 months;
  • The required duration for submission of applications for entitlement to unemployment insurance from the date of job loss is extended to 3 months, instead the previous regulations stipulation of 7 days.

Additionally, Decree 28 provides a detailed guidance on the procedures and timelines for payment and entitlement of unemployment insurance; and stipulates the rights and obligations of the employer and employees, social insurance agency and other relevant authorities. In general, the Law on Employment and Decree 28 provide both employees and employers more support either for sustaining jobs or in case of job loss.

Decree 28 takes effect on 1 May 2015.

By Vietnam Law Insight, LNT & Partners

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

Employer’s Liability to Indemnify for Work-related Accidents or Occupational Diseases

On February 2nd, 2015, the Ministry of Labour – Invalids – Social Affairs (MOLISA) has released Circular 04/2015/TT-BLDTBXH (Circular 04), which provides guidelines for employers to indemnify their employees for suffering from work-related accidents or one of the 30 occupational diseases (as given in the Appendix 2 of Circular 04).

In general cases:

Employees who have their working capacity reduced due to work-related accidents or occupational diseases will be entitled to the 3 payments, including: (i) Compensation (as defined in Column I) or allowance (as defined in Column II); (ii) ; and (iii) their wage.

labor law

Remarks:

  • “r” refers to the rate of reduction of working capacity of the employee (ranged between 0% to 100%).
  • “W” refers to the average wage of employees for 6 months preceding the date when the employee has suffered from a work-related accident or occupational disease.
  • Employer shall decide on the compensation or the allowance entitled to the employee within 5 working days from the date of the medical examination report and shall complete payment of compensation or allowance within further 5 days;

In particular cases

  1. If the employer provided health insurance covers a part of the aforementioned payments, the employer shall pay the difference between the minimum level of such payments (as stated in the Table) and the amount paid by the insurer.
  2. In case the employees are subject to the statutory social insurance under the Law on Social Insurance but the employer does not pay insurance premiums for them, the employer shall also pay employees with allowances that are equivalent to the amounts the social insurance regime entitles employees to.

This Circular 04 takes effect from March 20th, 2015

By Vietnam Law Insight, LNT & Partners

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com