The Deputy PM said that salary reform is closely linked with administrative reform and reshuffling the political apparatus and public service agencies.
However, he pointed to the need to seek proper payment policies that suit the specific conditions of Vietnam, which requires careful calculation.
Dr. Jinho Jeong from the Korea Labour Institute held that it is necessary to consider the complication of tasks and level of responsibility along with price and living costs in deciding salary levels in public sector, to ensure salary can cover minimum standards of living.
It is crucial to consider the equality of wage between State-owned and private sectors, he said.
Meanwhile, Director of the International Labour Organisation’s Office in Vietnam Changhee Lee said that the salary system in Vietnam’s public sector is confusing, such as a person in a higher position may have lower salary than some subordinates.
He asserted that the application of wage coefficient makes it difficult for the adjustments of salary in a regular and orderly manner in public sector. At the same time, there are too many types of supplementary allowance, he added.
Changhee Lee recommended that along with change in the salary payment policy, it is necessary to keep supplementary allowance at under 50% of the total salary package.
Economist Pham Chi Lan noted that regular spending accounts for nearly 70% of State budget spending, of which 47% is spent on salary payment.
Lan pointed out a number of challenges facing salary reform, including the mindset about the role of the State and the relations between the State, the market and society.
Irrational and overlapping allocation of functions among State agencies, a lack of transparency, poor accountability along with red tape and corruption are also among barriers to salary policy reform, stressed Lan.
She added that the current system of recruitment, salary payment, promotion and dismissing of public servants does not create necessary pressure and motivation for salary reform.
Concluding the discussions, Deputy PM Hue shared the specialists’ opinion that public servants’ salary must ensure minimum standards of living, and is balanced with the business sector and the market.
He also agreed on the need to switch from the use of wage coefficient to calculate salary to specific figures, and to reduce the proportion of supplementary allowance in salary package.
In the private sector, he stressed the need for maintaining minimum wage to make sure no worker is paid under the minimum amount, thus protecting vulnerable groups.