Quietly Quitting: Perspective Of Law (Part 1)


Currently, “Quietly Quitting” has become a “trendy” and popular working style/rule. This phrase describes the working style of employees who only perform the tasks as prescribed for their title, work only the fixed working hour at office, ignore all other tasks they find irrelevant, all activities held by their company and all conversation, communication with their colleagues out of the working hour. Although this phrase has just become more popular currently when increasingly spreading among big companies, corporations around the world, the working style it describes should have existed a long time ago among a variety of employees, including in Viet Nam. 

The labor relationship is always complicated when any issues arising from or related to this relationship can arise from both regulations and emotions, resulting in being resolved. cleverly and rigorously. Quietly Quitting, which is also a matter in the labor relationship, can arise from many reasons, such as the employee’s dissatisfaction with the employer (about the regime, salary, environment…), or from a dispute, or collision between employees and their line manager(s) in work, or it may simply stem from the employee’s personal views on work or the change in habits and attitudes after the Covid-19 pandemic. Without assessing the right and wrong of this working style, this series of articles will provide the parties with the perspective of current relevant legal provisions in Vietnam relating to the Quietly Quitting style to understand, identify and jointly give appropriate behaviors and notices for Quietly Quitting. 

This Part 1, besides the introduction of Quietly Quitting, will share relevant laws with the employees, who were, are or will follow the Quietly Quitting rule for their notice. 

1. The employees only want to perform tasks as prescribed in the labor contract 

As introduced at the beginning of this article, Quitely Quitting workers only want to do the tasks as described in the job description and tend to refuse any other jobs that employees consider not under their profession. Normally, each title in a company will have a corresponding job description that the employee in that title will follow. However, the line of responsibility between employees (who may have the same or different titles) with a particular task may be blurred and these employees must cooperate in performing such task. Anticipating this case, the company will often specify in the job description of any employee a final stipulation as “Other jobs as assigned by the manager/company from time to time”. This stipulation basically doesn’t violate the regulations of the Labor Code 2019 and Circular no. 10/2020/TT-BLDTBXH guidance on the requirements of labor contract’s content. In addition, the Labor Code 2019 also stipulates the rights and obligations of the parties in the labor relationship, specifically, pointing a clause 1 Article 6 of the Labor Code 2019, the employer—the company has the right to recruit, arrange, manage, administer and supervise labor; reward and handle violations of labor discipline; and clause 2, Article 5 of the Labor Code 2019 stipulates that the employee is obliged to perform the labor contract and obey the management, administration and supervision of the employer

Employees, of course, will naturally maximize their capacity when doing the jobs that are their strengths. However, from these legal provisions, employees need to understand that, within the scope of management of the company and the above stipulation in the job description/labor contract (which the employees have signed), the employer will be entitled to coordinate the work and assign the employee to do one or several other jobs. The employer also has the right to monitor the performance of the employee’s work, including for these “other jobs”, thereby making assessments and deciding on appropriate policies and regimes for employees (salary raise, bonus, promotion,… – depending on the specific salary and bonus policy at each company). 

Moreover, subjective self-assessment of employees to consider a task, thereby making a decision to refuse or delay implementation may cause employees to face more serious consequences if their self-assessment is not appropriate. Specifically, if employees refuse a task but this job is determined to be within the scope of the employees and the internal labor regulations stipulate that the act of refusing/delaying the performance of work falls under the case of a disciplinary violation, then the employee may face labor discipline in one of the forms specified in Article 124 of the Labor Code 2019 by the employer. Or in other cases, the failure to perform the identified work is the responsibility of the employee. employees with a frequency of repetition may fall into the case of regularly not completing work according to the pre-agreed completion criteria, from which the employer can have a basis to unilaterally terminate the labor contract according to the provisions of point a clause 1 Article 36 of the Labor Code 20191. 

Therefore, employees need to clearly understand their job description, and the company’s requirements for theỉ title and be extremely careful if they define the scope of work themselves to refuse job requests from the company to follow the Quietly Quitting rule. 

2. Employees only work within the working time specified in labor contract and/or internal labor regulations 

Article 105 of the Labor Code 2019 regulates that working hours shall not exceed 08 hours per day or 48 hours per week and the employer has the right to determine the daily or weekly working hours and inform the employees accordingly. Normally, the specific working hours will be specified by the company in internal labor regulations that apply to the entire company, or depending on the department, the title will have different working hours. Regarding one of the conditions for employers to request employees to work overtime, point a clause 2 Article 107 of the Labor Code 2019 regulates that employees agree to work overtime. However, the Labor Code 2019 also sets out an exception where employers have the right to ask employees to work overtime that employees must not decline, specifically: (i) Execution of a conscription order for the purpose of national security or national defense as prescribed by law; or (ii) Performance of tasks necessary to protect human life or property of certain organizations or individuals in the prevention and recovery of natural disasters, fires, epidemics and disasters, unless those tasks threaten the employees’ health or life as prescribed by occupational safety and health laws2. 

Therefore, in addition to the above exceptions, employees have the right to decline to work overtime specified in the employment contract and/or internal labor regulations. 

3. Employees do not participate in extracurricular activities of the company 

Many companies will normally organize extracurricular activities outside of working hours with the aim of relieving stress and/or connecting personnel in different departments, creating cohesion within the company. However, due to various reasons such as differences in generations, personalities or lifestyles between employees, or as the goal of this article – Quitely Quitting of employees (do not want to contact with colleagues outside of working hours), there will be a part of employees who do not participate in these activities. 

In essence, companies often consider these extra-curricular activities as a company benefit for employees, so it is not common to stipulate in their internal labor regulations or collective bargaining agreement to force employees too must participate. Therefore, unless otherwise provided by internal labor regulations or collective bargaining agreements, employees are not required to participate in these activities. However, in a collective environment, employees should also consider the appropriate participation to be able to build unity in the company.  

With some relevant legal provisions shared in this part, employees need to understand that choosing a working rule, which Quietly Quitting – one of these options, is the right of the employee. However, employees should also note that if their working rule is not suitable or violates regulations, agreements, or commitments protected by the law, employees will still be subject to dismissal from the such environment, or higher, will be handled by the employer. 

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Apolat Legal is a Vietnamese law firm with experience and capacity to advise on matters related to Employment Please click here to learn more about our services and contact our lawyers in Vietnam for advice via email info@apolatlegal.com.

Share: share facebook share twitter share linkedin share instagram

Find out how we can help your business


    Send Contact
    Call Us
    This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site.