According to Article 99.3 of the Labour Code, in case of ceasing work due to a breakdown in electricity or water without fault of the Employer, the Employee shall be entitled to payment of the wage on ceasing work. Such wage shall be agreed by the parties as follows: (i) If work is ceased for fourteen (14) or less working days, the salary for ceasing work agreed shall not be less than the minimum wage rate; or (2) If work is ceased for more fourteen (14) working days then the wage for ceasing work to be paid shall be as agreed by the two parties but ensuring that the wage for ceasing work in the first fourteen (14) days is not lower than the minimum wage rate.
The power outage with advance notice according to the policy of power suppliers may be considered as a breakdown in electricity without fault of the Employer. Thus, the Employee may be entitled to payment of the salary for ceasing work according to Article 99.3 aforesaid. Accordingly, both options: (i) to request the Employee to take annual leaves; or (ii) to reduce the Employee’ salary are not according to regulations of the Labour Code. In this case, the Employer shall pay the salary for ceasing work to the Employee according to one of the two plans.
It should be noted that the Employer should not unilaterally decide on the amount of salary for ceasing work paid to the Employee, even if the salary determined is higher than the area minimum wage or is higher than the area minimum wage within the first 14 days. The reason for this view is that the Labour Code does not have any provisions to deal with the case where the Employee does not agree with the salary for ceasing work. Therefore, in order for the avoidance of the risk in case of not reaching the salary agreement with the Employee, the Employer should pay the Employee the full salary as agreed in the LC.
The issue here is what should the Employer do if there are too many affected the Employee which causes difficulties to reach an agreement on the wage for ceasing work with the collective of the Employee? The Labour Code also does not have any specific guidelines for the method of agreement in this case. In fact, some enterprises have consulted with and received consensus from the executive committee of the grassroots trade union before implementation. This agreement can be reached through a meeting to consult about the agreement on the salary for ceasing work paid to the Employee. However, this is still an unclear issue of the Labour Code, so the legitimacy of this solution is uncertain. Therefore, the Employer should reach agreements with all Employees of the enterprise on the salary for ceasing work. Nevertheless, in order to simplify the process, the Employer may also make a list of the Employee which is attached to the enterprise’s general proposal on the salary for ceasing work with a unified reduction rate (%) for the salary of all Employees which must not be lower than the area minimum wages, then collect confirmation from the Employee by signing on this list.