The Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen spoke to the Lao dong (Labour) newspaper about the difficulties facing female workers today.
The Government's Resolution 85/2015 on supporting female employees will take effect this November. Can you share your thoughts about the policies it includes?
There are 26 million female employees in Viet Nam, accounting for 48.6 per cent of the country's workforce. The number of those of a reproductive age or with small children is on the rise among non State-owned enterprises and industrial zones. Most of them are migrant workers who struggle with housing, incomes and parenting.
To address the situation, the Government issued Resolution 85 with some important points that include improving working conditions for female employees. For instance, more bathrooms and toilets in the workplace.
Flexible work timetables should also be offered to female workers, Female employees should have access to regular health checks and obstetrical care.
Those caring for children less than 12 months will be entitled to a paid 60-minute break per day to care for their children.
Pregnant employees will have the right to end their contracts temporarily or permanently if the job has adverse effect on their babies.
I think these policies will make valuable contributions to the advancement of women and will help women find a balance between work and family.
The policies also show the Government's determination to improve the quality of women's lives.
However, the resolution only benefits six million female workers with official jobs, while the other 19 million who work will not directly benefit from the policies.
It is required that the government work out new solutions to support women's advancement.
What do female workers need to do to meet integration demands in the context of the upcoming TPP? How will authorities support women in this context?
Export industries such as textiles and clothing, footwear and seafood processing will benefit from the TPP.
This means female employees should be entitled to better incomes, job opportunities and working conditions.
The Government still needs to offer preferential policies and support for women. They may include vocational training and credit access that enable workers to create jobs for themselves or shift jobs due to the impact of integration.
Female workers, especially those working in manufacturing and industrial zones often have to ask their parents to take care of their children due to the limited space in rented house. What is your opinion about this?
The number of young female workers in manufacturing and industrial zone accounts for 65 per cent of the workforce, but housing condition, kindergartens and access to healthcare remain limited.
I think we need to increase efforts to solve these problems as soon as possible. Female employees should be entitled to access to basic social services. A family of four or five cannot fit in a small house. Both children and parents are put at a disadvantage if they live far away from each other.
In Binh Duong and Dong Nai, enterprises sell houses to their workers with a repayment period of ten years. This model should be used in other localities. — VNS