HCM CITY — More than 20,000 laid-off workers in HCM City have claimed unemployment benefits this year, according to the HCM City Employment Service Centre.
In February, 10,110 workers claimed benefits, an increase of 150 per cent against the same period last year, said Nguyen Cao Thang, deputy director of the centre.
Each day, the city is receiving an average of 400-500 applications for unemployment benefits.
Thang attributed the increasing number of applications to the closing of many enterprises as well as to cuts in production.
In addition, more employees have registered for benefits compared with previous years because application procedures have been simplified.
Thang said that, in many cases, particularly among manual workers, employees intentionally quit their jobs in order to become eligible for benefits.
Many of them began work at another company soon after receiving their unemployment benefits.
Do Quang Khanh, deputy director of the HCM City Social Insurance Agency, said the shortage of manual workers had led to a high staff turnover rate at labour-intensive enterprises. To prevent workers from quitting, many companies have terminated employment contracts with workers if 12 months of unemployment insurance premiums had been paid. This allowed workers to apply for unemployment benefits.
However, companies engaging in this practice then rehired the employees and signed a new contract with them, said Khanh.
He said that his agency was aware of the practice, but there was little that it could do to prevent it from happening. According to the city's Centre for Human Resources and Labour Market Information, the city needs 35,000 workers in March, with half of that demand for unskilled workers. —VNS