Taking effect on the first day of September, during the period when the country is making great efforts to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the policies related to compulsory social insurance in Circular 06/2021/TT-BLDTBXH (“Circular 06”) amending and supplementing Circular 59/2015/TT-BLDTBXH (“Circular 59”) will have important implications for employees. Enterprises need to fully understand the changes to ensure the rights and benefits of its employees and comply with the laws.

Changes in the rate of entitlement and salary for calculation of sickness benefits

Previously, when an employee took sick leave with odd days for less than a full month, the benefit rate was calculated on the monthly salary as the basis for paying social insurance of the month in which the employee took sick leave. From 1 September 2021, if an employee takes sick leave, has an accident other than working, takes care of a sick child under 7 years old for 14 working days or more in a month, the benefit rate is calculated on the basis of the salary contribution to the social insurance of the month preceding the month of leave.

In addition, if the employee continues to take sick leave and cannot return to work in the following months, the sickness benefit rate shall be calculated on the monthly salary contribution to the social insurance of the month preceding the month of leave.

Another case of receiving a lump-sum payment upon childbirth for male workers

The maternity regime for male workers when their wives give birth to children is not a new regulation; however, in Circular 06, this policy has added an important clause. In case the husband and wife participate in social insurance together but the wife is not eligible for the maternity benefits, the husband will be entitled to lump-sum payment when delivery if he has paid social insurance for full 06 months in the previous year when the child is born.  

In the contrary, Circular 59 limits the conditions to receive benefits when (i) If only the husband participates, the husband must pay for full 06 months or more in 1 year before the delivery; (ii) the husband of the surrogacy mothers must pay social insurance for full 06 months or more in a year up till the time of child adoption.

Thus, Circular 06 further expands the case where both husband and wife participate in social insurance, not only the husband, can enjoy this benefit.

Change in maternity benefits when giving birth to twins

Another remarkable new point related to female workers when giving birth to twins but the child dies or is stillborn is that female workers, in this case, will be entitled to additional maternity benefits of dead or stillborn children when giving birth to twins, not just limited to the period of maternity leave as before.

Supplementing regulations on annual leave to coincide with maternity leave

According to Circular 06, the period of enjoying the benefits for (a) antenatal care, miscarriage, curettage, abortion, stillbirth or pathological abortion; (b) male workers take leave when their wives give birth; (c) when taking contraceptive measures that coincide with the time of annual leave, personal leave, unpaid leave, the employee shall not be eligible for receiving benefits. This is a completely new regulation that Circular 59 has not mentioned before.