HR Electronic Records

Vietnam - Electronic Archiving of Paper Originals

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Legal Framework for Electronic Archiving 

Although some countries require certain types of documents to be kept and archived in their original paper form, for most categories of documents, including HR-related records, there is no such requirement, and it is generally acceptable to use electronic versions of paper records (i.e., scanned copies of paper originals) during most government agencies’ inspections and audits or in court proceedings.


The evidential or probative value of electronic versions of paper records may be more easily challenged before a court than it would be for the originals. This is mainly because the original records could be tampered with or changed before being scanned, and, unless proper technology has been used (e.g., encryption and timestamping), it may not be easy to detect such changes from a scanned copy. In specific situations, it may be good practice for employers to retain archives of paper originals in the event such originals would be requested by a specific investigator, auditor, judge or authority.


Are electronic scanned copies of paper originals legally valid?

The legal validity of “data messages” in Vietnam cannot be denied solely because they are in an electronic format (Law on E-Transactions (No. 51/2005/QH11)). A “data message” includes information created, transferred, received and stored via electronic means. Under the Law on E-Transactions (Art. 13), data messages have the same value as the original if the content in the data message:

  • is retained/assured since the creation of the data message ; and,
  • can be accessed and used as a complete form.

If a data message is required for evidence, its value will be determined by (Art. 14):

  • the reliability of the method used to generate, store or communicate the message;
  • how the data message’s integrity was ensured and maintained;
  • how the identity of the data message’s creator was identified; and,
  • other relevant factors.


Are there any legal requirements for electronic archiving systems (EAS)? 

Vietnam does not have any legal requirements relating to the validity of electronic archiving systems. Under Vietnam’s Law On E-Transactions (Art. 15), records can be archived as a data message as long as:

  • the content is accessible when needed;
  • the data message is retained in the same format in which it was generated, sent or received, or in a way that accurately demonstrates the message’s content;
  • the content is retained in a way that allows the origin/destination of the record to be identified along with the date and time it was sent/received.


HR Best Practices: The full electronic archiving era is approaching, but for now it is not possible to guarantee that all paper documents can be destroyed. Indeed, the acceptance of digital copies can remain subject to the discretion of the judge.


UKG's HR Compliance Assist team relies on a network of internal and external compliance experts and lawyers to provide clients with best practices and recommendations on topics such as HR document retention, employee data privacy, and HR electronic records. HR Compliance Assist also provides local compliance monitoring and alert services in select countries where UKG's customers have employees. HR Compliance Assist is a service exclusively available to UKG customers.

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