Vietnam Labor Law: What to know when sending Local staff for Training abroad 

Today, many enterprises based in Vietnam have a growing demand to send their local staff overseas to join vocational trainings or education programs, aiming to cultivate a high-quality workforce to serve management tasks and specific professional duties of the organization.  

However, once back to Vietnam after completing their training period, Employees sometimes decide to resign for pursuing other job opportunities, leveraging on the new knowledge/qualifications acquired and thus generating a loss in terms of time and money to the Employer. 

Therefore, what companies should know before investing to dispatching their human resources abroad for training purpose? 

In this article we will explain how to mitigate this risk and avoiding potential disputes between the employee and the company by signing effective Vocational Training Contracts. 

First of all, according to Article 62 of the Labor Code 2019, both Employees and Employers must sign Vocational Training Contracts when Employees are trained or skill-enhanced during their employment period. Furthermore, the contracts include details such as the commitment of the Employee to work for the Employer after training, the training costs, and the responsibility for reimbursing training costs incurred by the Employee. 

However, the situation in practice may be:  

  1. 1. Both Parties didn’t sign a Vocational Training Contract. In fact, many Employers in Vietnam conduct trainings based on their Internal Labor Regulations or according to vocational training provisions stipulated in the labor contracts, without signing separate Vocational Training Contracts with Employees.  

  1. 2. Both Parties signed Vocational Training Contracts, but they did not clearly specify the Employees’ responsibilities in case of termination by the Employee (resignation).  

If this is the case, then the Employer will be in a vulnerable position and may not be able to recover training costs, resulting in wasted time and money without achieving desired outcomes. 

In order to reduce the above mentioned risk, Employers may implement the following measures: 

  1. 1. Establishing strict regulations in vocational training contracts. In cases where Employees do not fulfill their commitments or agreements stated in the vocational training contract, they must reimburse training costs and any other related expenses (if applicable) to the Employer, even if they unilaterally terminate the labor contract according to the law. 

  1. 2. Explicitly agree on the training costs and expenses that Employees must reimburse. Regarding any compensation agreements (if applicable), it should be clearly stated that these are voluntary commitments of the employees, and they will voluntarily fulfill them without requiring relevant state authorities to reassess in any circumstances. In cases where the Vocational Training Contract includes agreements on other compensation besides training costs, such as valid documents regarding expenses paid for instructors, study materials, schools, classes, machinery, equipment, practice materials, etc1, businesses need to prepare and provide valid evidence to the court to determine the actual damages that the business requires the employee to compensate for. 

  1. In addition, to complying with relevant provisions of the Labor Code 2019, another equally important legal framework, although less noticed, is the Law on Vietnamese Employees Working Abroad under Contract 2020. This law applies to Vietnamese businesses sending Vietnamese employees abroad for training or skill enhancement. In case of violations, the Employer has the right to2

  • Request Employees to compensate for damages caused according to the vocational training contract abroad. 
  • Lodge complaints or file lawsuits regarding decisions or acts violating the law in the field of Vietnamese employees working abroad under contract. 

In conclusion, when Employer decides to send Employees abroad for training, it’s crucial to establish a formal Vocational Training Contract to ensure that all Parties are clear on their roles and responsibilities, equipping the Employees with skills and qualifications tailored for the specific needs of the Company, as well as strengthening their commitment towards the investment performed by the Employer. 

D’Andrea & Partners Legal Counsel have authored innovative publications exploring a complete roadmap for doing investment and business in Vietnam, entitled the Invest in Vietnam Series, including a wide range of noteworthy topics for foreign investors and businesses ranging from essential legal matters and procedures for doing business in Vietnam to drafting of Vocational Training Contracts. 

Invest in Vietnam Series are available at our offices, and in both printed and e-book formats on the online store of Amazon. 

The above content is provided for informational purposes only. The provision of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between D’Andrea & Partners and the reader and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this article are not a substitute for legal counsel. 

Carlo Fabrizi Carlo Fabrizi

Carlo Fabrizi

Legal Advisor
Carlo Fabrizi, a representative of D’Andrea & Partners Legal Counsel, handles Foreign Direct Investment projects in Vietnam and South China

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