HCM CITY — The HCM City Employment Service Centre has asked the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to draft new regulations to deal with violations related to unemployment insurance benefits.
Tran Xuan Hai, the centre's director, said that over the last two years, 30 people already employed had applied for unemployment benefits.
He said the centre was unable to identify the suspected hundreds of other violators because it lacked a sufficient number of personnel.
Manual workers accounted for a majority of unemployment insurance claims, said Nguyen Cao Thang, head of the city's Unemployment Insurance Office.
Around 90 per cent of unemployment-insurance applicants who were manual workers have received a monthly allowance of VND1 million ($US50) or below.
Only 5-7 per cent of applicants have received the highest level of monthly allowances, from VND4 million to VND9.96 million ($200-$470).
Nguyen Dai Dong, head of the Employment Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that more companies were participating in the state's unemployment insurance fund, which had led to a higher number of claims.
For the first two months of the year, more than 19,100 laid-off workers in HCM City claimed unemployment benefits, an increase of 55 per cent against the same period last year, according to the HCM City Employment Service Centre.
Nearly 1.6 million workers in the city are covered by unemployment insurance.
In the meantime, many workers in big cities are rushing to apply for unemployment insurance benefits thanks to a loophole in the law.
Pham Bach Thanh, a labourer in northern Hung Yen Province's Noi Street, has just switched his job while applying for unemployment insurance money. With the salary of VND4 million ($200) per month at his previous company, the insurance company will have to pay him VND14 million ($700) for a six-month-grant if his applications are approved.
Thanh said it was his legal right to receive this grant as his old company had paid enough fees during three years. He's not a special case.
Figures from Ha Noi's Employment Service Centre showed that the centre has received more than 2,500 applications for unemployment benefits since early this year, an increase of 2.8 times compared to the same period last year. Most applications were from those who used to work for private enterprises.
According to the centre, many labourers asked for the money although they have found new jobs only a few days after quitting their old jobs. Up to 90 per cent of applicants claimed unemployment benefits but did not ask for support to find new jobs or improve their professional skills.
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan, head of the centre's Unemployment Insurance Office said that the law did not clearly describe the state of unemployment, thus, any jobless person was eligible for the unemployment benefits as long as their previous company fulfilled its duty in paying the insurance.
She said that currently there were no effective measures to verify all cases to see if they were in fact unemployed.
To deal with the issue, Loan suggested that the law be amended to clarify the status of unemployment. Only labourers who worked for enterprises which suspended operations or completely dissolved were eligible for the grant.
"Those who are unemployed due to clarify being dismissed or intentionally quitting jobs must not be on the list for receiving money. This will prevent labourers from switching jobs for money," she said. — VNS