The Unilateral Termination Right of the Employee’s Labour Contract
During employment, there may be a point when an employee no longer wishes to continue their labour contract. In such cases, the employee has the right to unilaterally terminate the labour contract, but this must be done in accordance with legal regulations.
The right to unilaterally terminate the Labor Contract by the Employee is a situation where the employee is allowed to independently make a decision to terminate the effectiveness of the signed Labor Contract.
Relevant Legal Documents:
- Labour Code 2019;
- Decree No. 145/2020/NĐ-CP guiding the Labour Code on labour conditions and labour relations.
Conditions for Unilateral Termination by the Employee:
In any case, the employee has the right to unilaterally terminate the labour contract by giving prior notice to the employer within a specified time frame:
- At least 45 days if working under an indefinite-term labour contract.
- At least 30 days if working under a fixed-term labour contract with a duration from 12 to 36 months.
- At least 3 working days if working under a fixed-term labour contract with a duration of fewer than 12 months.
Different time frames may apply to certain specific sectors, occupations, or jobs, as regulated by the Government.
The employee also has the right to unilaterally terminate the labour contract without prior notice in cases of:
- Failure to be arranged for the agreed-upon work or work location, or failure to provide suitable working conditions, except when the employer exercises the right to rearrange the employee to perform different work as stipulated in the labour contract.
- Failure to receive full salary or payment of salary delayed by more than 30 days beyond the agreed-upon timeframe.
- Ill-treatment, assault, or any words or actions that degrade the employee, affecting their health, dignity, or honour; forced labour.
- Sexual harassment at the workplace.
- Maternity leave for pregnant female employees, as required by health regulations.
- Reaching retirement age as stipulated.
- Provision of inaccurate information by the employer that affects the implementation of the labour contract.
- The unilateral termination of the labour contract is the right of the employee. If the employee submits a notice within the specified timeframe, the labour contract will naturally expire—no consent from the employer is required. The employer cannot force the employee to stay.
- When unilaterally terminating the labour contract, the employee is entitled to severance pay, unemployment benefits, as usual. The obligation to pay salaries, bonuses, allowances, and the handover of relevant documents must be completed within 14 working days from the termination date. The labour authorities cannot use the employee’s unilateral termination of the labour contract as a reason to avoid paying salary, benefits, and other regime-related amounts, as well as the return of the employee’s records.
- The employee also has the right to cancel the unilateral termination of the labour contract before the expiration of the notice period but must notify the employer in writing and obtain the employer’s agreement.
- It is essential to note that for employees who have signed a training contract and committed to a specific work period with the employer, the employee must fulfil the committed working time—unilateral termination before the committed period may be considered a breach of the committed obligation, and compensation may apply.
If there are any questions or concerns regarding the above labour regulations, please feel free to contact An Luật Việt Nam. Our company, with experienced lawyers, is ready to assist employees in negotiating with employers to protect their rights when unilaterally terminating a labour contract. We also provide support for employees participating in labour-related litigation if legal action is necessary.