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Official Gazette

Friday, October 7, 2022

Institutions on civil servants in Vietnam

Updated: 11:06’ - 28/03/2012

Pham Diem
State and Law Institute of Vietnam

Civil servants and public-duty regimes in Vietnam

The concept of cong chuc or civil servant in Vietnam is very complicated due to continuous changes of its term and connotation through different periods.

Government Decree No. 76/SL of May 20, 1950, was the first legal document of the State of Democratic Republic of Vietnam providing for civil servants. Under this Decree, only Vietnamese citizens who were recruited and appointed by the revolutionary administration to hold regular posts in various agencies of the new Government were called civil servants. The concept of civil servants defined in this way was very limited.

Actually, from 1954 on, Decree No. 76/SL was no longer applied, but not officially abrogated by any document. By then, the term “cong chuc” was replaced by the term “can bo, vien chuc” (cadre and public employee) in legal documents. Cadres and public employees then included those who were on the state payroll and worked in state agencies, Party agencies, socio-political organizations, state enterprises or the armed forces. So, the concept of cadre and public employee was very broad as compared to the concept of civil servant before 1954.

On January 25, 1991, the Ministers’ Council issued Decree No. 169/HDBT on cong chuc nha nuoc or state servants. Accordingly, state servants were Vietnamese who were recruited and appointed to hold regular posts in state offices, arranged in certain ranks and salaried by the state budget. So, the concept of state servants defined in Decree No. 169/HDBT was much broader than that under Decree No. 76/SL, covering those who were recruited or appointed to hold certain regular posts not only in government agencies but also in other agencies of the State. However, this concept did not cover those on the state payroll and working in Party agencies or socio-political organizations as civil servants.

On February 26, 1998, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly adopted the Ordinance on Cadres and Civil Servants, marking a new step of development in the process of legislation on civil servants. Under the Ordinance, cadres and civil servants were Vietnamese on the state payroll and salaried by the state budget, working in state agencies, Party agencies, socio-political organizations or the armed forces.

This Ordinance was revised twice in 2000 and 2003 with two striking novelties in the 2003 amendments. One was the clear definition of the legal status of cadres and civil servants in state agencies and that of cadres and public employees in state-run non-business units (hospitals, schools, research institutes, etc.). The second novelty was that for the first time, a number of persons working in commune-level agencies were ranked as cadres and civil servants and therefore were salaried by the state budget.

On November 13, 2008, the National Assembly passed the Law on Cadres and Civil Servants, which took effect on January 1, 2010. On November 15, 2010, the National Assembly passed the Law on Public Employees, which took effect on January 1, 2012. Under these two laws, the concepts of can bo (cadres), cong chuc (civil servants) and vien chuc (public employees) are clearly defined. Cadres are Vietnamese citizens who are elected, approved or appointed to hold posts or titles for a certain term of office in Party or state agencies or socio-political organizations at the central, provincial or district level, and a number of types of commune-level cadres who are on the state payroll and salaried by the state budget. Civil servants are Vietnamese citizens who are recruited and appointed to ranks and positions or titles not based on term of office in Party or state agencies or socio-political organizations at the central, provincial or district level, a number of commune-level titles, in the army and public security forces, and in the managerial apparatuses of public non-business units, who are on the state payroll and salaried by the state budget or wage funds of public non-business units. Meanwhile, the concept of public employees is distinguished from the concept of civil servants. Public employees are Vietnamese citizens who are recruited to work in public non-business units under work contracts and salaried by the wage funds of these units.

Under the Law on Cadres and Civil Servants, public-duty activities of cadres and civil servants are to perform their tasks and exercise their powers in accordance with law. They are carried out on the following principles:

 Observance of the Constitution and law: All activities carried out by cadres or civil servants for the discharge of public duties must comply with laws as public duties are state duties.

 Protection of the interests of the State and the rights and legitimate interests of organizations and citizens: Public-duty activities must aim to serve the interests of the State, to protect the rights and legitimate interests of organizations and citizens. During the performance of public duties, cadres and civil servants must serve the people and listen to their opinions.

 Publicity, transparency, and acting strictly according to competence and under inspection and supervision: Public-duty activities must be carried out by competent persons in a public manner and under the inspection and supervision of competent bodies and the public. Decisions and acts of cadres and civil servants must be clear, transparent and lawful.

 Assurance of systematicity, uniformity, continuity, smoothness and effectiveness. Due to their systematic nature, public-duty activities are effective only if they are carried out in a continuous, uniform and uninterrupted manner from high to low level.

 Assurance of the administrative hierarchy and close coordination. In the administrative hierarchy, subordinates must submit to superiors and local administrations must submit to the central government. The administrative hierarchy must be coupled with close coordination among levels, sectors, cadres and civil servants holding different positions and having different powers in the performance of public duties.

Legal-administrative status of cadres and civil servants

The legal administrative status of cadres and civil servants includes all legal provisions on the election, recruitment and employment of cadres and civil servants and on the interests, obligations and legal responsibilities of civil servants.

Election and recruitment

The election, approval and appointment of state cadres to hold posts or titles for a certain term of office are prescribed in the Constitution, the Law on Organization of the National Assembly, the Law on Election of National Assembly Deputies, the Law on Organization of the Government, the Law on Organization of the People’s Courts, the Law on Organization of the People’s Procuracies, the Law on State Audit, the Law on Organization of the People’s Councils and the People’s Committees and the Law on Election of Deputies to the People’s Councils, among others.

The election of persons to hold titles in the Communist Party or socio-political organizations complies with the Party Statute or the statutes of such socio-political organizations.

Civil servants are recruited by competent agencies or organizations based on their work requirements, working posts of civil servant titles and allocated payroll norms. The recruitment and appointment of judges and procurators comply with the Law on Organization of the People’s Courts and the Ordinance on Judges and Jurors of the People’s Courts or the Law on Organization of the People’s Procuracies and the Ordinance on Procurators of the People’s Procuracies.

Employment

Regarding training of cadres, civil servants, agencies and organizations competent to manage cadres and civil servants must draw up training and retraining plans in order to create sources and raise the qualifications of cadres and civil servants.

Transfer of cadres and civil servants is to dispatch cadres or civil servants from one agency or organization to another, or from one working position to another within an agency or organization as required by public duties.

Seconding of cadres and civil servants is to dispatch cadres and civil servants from one agency or organization to work in another for a definite period of time according to public-duty requirements. Seconded cadres and civil servants must submit to work assignment by agencies or organizations in which they are seconded. During this period, they remain to be staff members of the seconding agencies or organizations.

Commendation and reward of cadres and civil servants are employed to materially and spiritually encourage them to accomplish their tasks. Commendation and reward are diverse in forms, including the award of certificates of merits, diplomas of merits, medals, orders, emulation titles or honorable state titles, rank promotion and wage raising.

Regarding resignation and relief of duty, civil servants holding leading or managerial positions may resign or be relieved from duty due to poor health, poor capability, low prestige, duty requirements or for other reasons.

Assessment of civil servants aims to clearly determine the moral quality, capabilities, professional qualifications and the performance of their duties. Assessment results will serve as a basis for work arrangement, employment, appointment, training, commendation, rewarding or disciplining of civil servants as well as application of policies toward them. 

Obligations and interests

Cadres and civil servants have the following obligations:

- To be loyal to the Party and the country; to protect the honor of the Fatherland and the national interests; to respect and devotedly serve the people.

- To properly perform and take responsibility for the performance of assigned tasks, the exercise of delegated power, execution of superiors’ decisions, and management and use of assigned state property.

- Not to violate prohibitions set by the Law on Cadres and Civil Servants.

They have the following rights and interests:

- To be provided with conditions to perform public duties: To have powers corresponding to their tasks; to be provided with equipment and information related to assigned tasks; to be trained to raise their professional qualifications; to be protected by law while on duty.

- To enjoy salaries and salary-related allowances.

- To take annual leave and leaves for personal reasons, to retire under the Labor Code.

- To learn, to conduct scientific research, participate in socio-economic activities, to enjoy preferential policies on housing, travel, social insurance and health insurance under law.

Legal liability

Cadres and civil servants are liable to be disciplined in case of committing violations. Their legal liability shall be determined by competent bodies for their illegal acts.

Disciplinary forms applicable to cadres include reprimand, caution, dismissal from office and relief from duty. Cadres who commit crimes and are convicted by courts will naturally resign from their positions. In case of being sent to prison, they will naturally be dismissed from work.

Disciplinary forms applicable to civil servants include reprimand, caution, wage degrading, demotion, dismissal from office and dismissal from work. Civil servants holding leading or managerial positions who commit crimes and are convicted by courts will have to resign. All civil servants who are sentenced to imprisonment will naturally be sacked.

Cadres or civil servants who commit illegal acts causing damage to the property of agencies or organizations must compensate for such damage.

Cadres or civil servants who violate the law while performing public duties and cause damage to others are obliged to refund to the agencies or organizations the money amounts paid by the latter to the victims.

Those who commit illegal acts involving elements of crime, including offenses associated with the performance of public duties (position-related crimes) and offenses not related to public-duty activities, will be examined for penal liability.

At present, the reform of the regimes on civil servants is considered the key to the administrative reform in Vietnam, aiming to build a contingent of cadres and civil servants who are fully qualified, capable and clean, and perform public duties effectively. The Law on Cadres and Civil Servants serves as a legal foundation for that reform.-

VNL_KH1 

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