Interview with a Worker on Living, Resting and Working in a “Three-on-the-Spot” Factory

In June 2021, Vietnamese authorities rolled out a policy to curb the spread of COVID-19 among workers, while allowing factories to continue operating in safe conditions. Known locally as “three-on-the-spot”, the policy essentially requires factories wishing to remain open to have a set up in place that allows workers to work, eat, sleep and rest in the factories 24 hours per day without having to leave, while following strict COVID prevention measures including social distancing and regular COVID testing. Factories’ and workers’ participation in “three-on-the-spot” is entirely voluntary.


To date, the policy has been implemented with relative success. From the north to south, factories able to meet these requirements have been able to stay open. Several factories working with The Centre on worker wellbeing programmes have also implemented “three-on-the-spot” process at their production facilities.  To find out how “three-on-the-spot” is working, what workers think of it and the impact it is having on families, The Centre has conducted several interviews with workers at these factories. 


We were delighted to have the opportunity to speak to Ms. Thao, a mother of a nine-year-old girl who recently did a month-long “three-on-the-spot” shift at her factory. The sole breadwinner in her family, she works in the folding department and has been an employee for five years.

1. How does the three-on-the-spot system work? 

The meals were well prepared for us. We were given breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks if we worked overtime. After working hours, we were able to rest. We could use our mobile phones to call home. We could also talk to our co-workers in our rest area. The factory provided us with pillows and cushions for sleeping, we bring our own blankets. As our factory used insect control method, there was no need for us to bring mosquito nets. We kept 2 metres distance from each other at all times.

2. Can you tell us what a typical day in the life of a three-on-the-spot worker is like?

We work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and have a lunch break for one hour from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. We also work overtime sometimes from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The overtime is on voluntary basis.


In my opinion, three-on-the-spot is okay with me. I feel safer working and staying in the factory as the factory has demonstrated a great effort in controlling the entry and exit of people at the factory. As all I have to do is work and rest after working hours, I don’t have to spend time on housework, cooking etc. The only downside is that I miss home and worry whether my family are safe or not.


3. How are your fellow colleagues with children coping with the three-on-the-spot system? What issues do they face? What about young workers?

Most of my colleagues chose to stay at home with their children. Just some co-workers with children above 18 years old agreed to stay in factory. Young workers are okay about staying in the factory. The youngest in our factory are 18 years old.

4. How do you stay in touch with your family? Are they allowed to visit you?

I called my family daily during that three-on-the-spot period. They were not allowed to visit me. And it is also the local government requirement that people are not allowed to go outside.


5. Was there any option for bringing family members to the factory with you during the three-on-the-spot phase?  

No. Only registered workers staying in the factory could be there. If they could not stay as they had no-one to take care of their children or parents, they were allowed to stay at home to take care of their families. Three-on-the-spot is voluntary.


6. Has the factory implemented any special measures to support parent workers separated from their children? 



7. What COVID prevention measures are in place in your factory during this three-on-the-spot phase?

No one was allowed to leave the factory. If workers had to buy something, there was a support team to go out and collect those things for workers. The aim of this measure is to control the people accessing the factory, and prevent workers from getting infected by COVID-19.


8. As a parent worker, what has been the most challenging aspect of this three-on-the-spot system? 

I missed my child. Even though I could call her every day, I still worried about her a lot as my family lives in an area with a high-risk COVID-19.


9. If this system continues, what measures of type of support do you think would be most beneficial for parent workers like you? 

I think that the factory did the best they could for workers. They took care of us and I feel satisfied with the factory. For me, the factory paid me my full salary even after I stopped working the “three-on-the-spot” shift. 


The Centre offers a comprehensive suite of services to support parents and young workers in supply chains in Vietnam. During this challenging time, we continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on factories, workers and children – these updates together with a list of useful resources can be viewed on our COVID-19 Resource Hub


Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you wish to learn more about our services in Vietnam and explore options for collaboration.  

Published on 27/09/2021

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