Question 56: Is the travel time added to Employees’ annual leave?

Upon taking annual leave, if Employees spend any time travelling by long distance vehicle, that period may be considered for addition to the annual leave as agreed in the LC.

  1. Conditions for the travel time to be added

The travel time will be added to Employees’ annual leave (apart from fully paid annual leave days to which Employees are entitled as agreed upon) when fully satisfying the following conditions[1]:

  • Employees use one of such means as road, rail or waterway to go to and return during annual leave. As such, air means will not be subject to this regulation;
  • The number of round-trip travel days must be over 02 days. Accordingly, the travel time added to the annual leave is only counted from the 3rd day onwards. It is of note that the said calculation of travel time does not exclude weekends, public holidays and other paid leave days. In fact, in order to ensure accuracy and fairness, Employers often require Employees to provide proof of their travel (e.g. car tickets, train tickets); and
  • The inclusion of travel time in annual leave will be applied to only one annual leave. Generally, annual leave schedule will be made in the calendar year, specifically from January 1 to December 31 of the corresponding year (there are also many enterprises that arrange for annual leave to be taken in the fiscal year), and accordingly, an Employee’s days of travel time will be added to annual leave days with regard to a vacation in that year.

For example: Company X stipulates the annual leave of Employees, calculated from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. In the year 2018, the Company’s Tet holidays are scheduled from 14/02/2018 to 20/02/2018. Accordingly, Employee A applies for taking annual leave on 12 and 13/02/2018 to return home in Nghe An to celebrate Tet. As planned, Employee A will travel by car, departing on 11/02/2018 (Sunday) and returning on 19/02/2018. The total round trip time is estimated to be 03 days, including weekends and public holidays.

Because: (i) during the vacation of 2017 (from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018), Company X has not yet calculated and applied the travel time to any annual leave of Employee A; and (ii) based on the tickets provided by Employee A, the round-trip travel time is over 02 days, thus Company X will add a 1-day travel time (calculated from the 3rd day onwards) to Employee A’s annual leave days.

  • Transportation costs and salary for travel days

Generally, the transportation costs and salary for travel days will be agreed between Employees and Employers[2]. Particularly for lowland Employees working in the highland, deep-lying, remote, border areas and islands and Employees of the highland, deep-lying, remote, border areas and islands working in the lowland, Employers are obliged to pay Employees train/car tickets and salary of travel days without reaching the said agreement with them. And salary of travel days will be calculated on the basic salary applied to Employees’ annual leave days. Accordingly, the amount determined according to the salary recorded in the LC of the adjoiningly preceding month, will be divided by the number of ordinary working days in the month as per Employers’ regulations stated in the ILR or CLA, then multiplied by the number of extra days of travel time to which Employees are entitled as stipulated in Article 26.2 of Decree 05/2015/NĐ-CP.

The current labour law does not have any more specific guidance on the concept of “lowland Employees working in the highland, deep-lying, remote, border areas and islands and Employees of the highland, deep-lying, remote, border areas and islands working in the lowland” as a basis for paying travel costs and salary for Employees on annual leave. Therefore, if considering that any Employee has a place of residence or a place of work in an area outside the central provinces, cities, the Employer should send a prior written consultation with the MOLISA or the provincial/municipal DOLISA about this issue to create a clearer basis for the application and implementation.

In addition, when the Employer pays Employees train/car ticket costs and salary as prescribed above for their benefits, as a matter of law, it can be considered a reasonable cost for the Employer to deduct it from the corporate income tax. The Employer should clearly state the payment in the CLA. If there is no CLA, this should be stated in the LC or LCA.

[1]Article 111.4 Labor Code

[2]Article 113.2 Labor Code