Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Lê Văn Thanh
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Lê Văn Thanh told Vietnam News Agency how the ministry had made huge efforts to implement social security policies to keep labourers working after the peak of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the beginning of 2020, Government issued many solutions to support its people, businesses and labourers. What are the differences between those policies and the ones introduced at the fourth outbreak of the pandemic?
Previously, we had many policies to support businesses and people affected by the pandemic. During this fourth wave of the pandemic, we issued new policies, especially focusing on supporting workers, employers and groups of people directly affected by COVID-19.
We have provided more specific support and regulations, and included those who have lost their jobs in the coverage of the policies. In particular, we focused on monetary support as well as other policies so that businesses can have funding to pay their employees and restore production and business, overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government has taken drastic steps in providing solutions to ensure social security. How have they been implemented and what measures has the Ministry taken to help businesses, people and employees access support packages?
As soon as the fourth wave of the pandemic occurred, the Government issued Resolution 68/NQ-CP and Decision No. 23/2021/QD-TTg on supporting people, workers and businesses affected by COVID-19.
As soon as it was issued, all ministries, branches and localities took drastic and timely action. We properly passed on information to people, localities and especially officials so they understood the policy thoroughly and could implement it.
As a result we have achieved some relatively good results, providing more than VNĐ20 trillion to more than 22 million employees and employers.
There are three basic policies. The first policy is about insurance, we have provided over VNĐ5 trillion to more than 12 million employees.
With the monetary support policy, we have provided more than VNĐ14 trillion to over 12 million employees. Regarding the support policy for enterprises to borrow money to pay workers who have stopped working and resume production, so far we have provided over VNĐ600 billion to more than 1,000 employers and over 160,000 employees.
In the process of implementing these policies, what difficulties and problems has the ministry encountered?
In the past, the pandemic has been very complicated, especially in the southern provinces, so it is very difficult to deliver the money to people. Employees and employers have not been very active in sending documents to the local agencies to receive the support, so we also have a few problems regarding this matter.
Some local officials have not thoroughly understand this policy, they have different interpretations, so the handling of the matter is not flexible enough. Some localities have not been active enough to deploy the policy in the best way, so the outcomes have not been as we expected.
In addition, through the implementation process, it was found that a number of provisions of Resolution 68/NQ-CP and Decision No. 23/2021/QD-TTg were not suitable in reality and do not cover all groups of people that need support. Some regulations are too strict, some are not practical. Therefore, we need to continue to modify these policies.
What solutions does the Ministry have to addressed these problems?
From the difficulties and obstacles in practice and especially how we review the regulations, the Ministry proposed the Government and the Prime Minister amend Resolution 68/NQ-CP and Decision No. 23/2021/QD-TTg to expand subjects and simplify procedures. That will help everyone access support while at the same time procedures for receiving the support are made easier.
Along with a number of social security policies that have taken effect, the Government has just issued Resolution 116/NQ-CP on supporting employees and employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from the Unemployment Insurance Fund with a total budget of VNĐ30 trillion. Can you provide more information about the beneficiaries of this policy?
Based on the balance of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Government consulted authorities who issued Resolution 116/NQ-CP and immediately after that issued Decision 28 2021/QD-TTg on supporting workers and employers affected by COVID-19 from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. This is an unprecedented policy.
The beneficiaries of the policy are employees who are participating in unemployment insurance as of September 30, 2021, so the number of employees benefited from the support policy will be larger. The support is made in cash directly from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to employees. We also have a policy to reduce the contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for employers from 1 per cent to 0 per cent from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022, with the total amount being VNĐ38 trillion.
What are the results of the implementation of the support package so far?
As for the policy on support from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, 7.8 million labourers have been reviewed and VNĐ123 billion has been delivered. For the policy of reducing unemployment insurance payment from 1 per cent to 0 per cent, Việt Nam Social Insurance has reviewed 363,000 employers with over 10 million employees and have provided VNĐ7.6 trillion to these employers.
MOLISA is working closely with the Việt Nam Social Security on this, we will try to complete the support package within 45 days and no later than December 31, 2021. But at this speed, we hope to be able to complete ahead of time.
Entering the new normal stage, in order for the goods supply chain to not be broken, ensuring human resources is an urgent requirement. So what should we do to make employees feel secure to return to work so that businesses can resume production?
Government has a plan to restore production and business for all people in a new normal state. Being aware of the shortage of labour resources in the future, we must have a plan to avoid disruption of the labour supply chain.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is making plans to restore the labour market. In which, first of all, we ensure that employees can work in safe conditions. We must conduct vaccination for workers, and at the same time support workers in travelling and working.
To ensure social security for employees while they work, we have asked localities and businesses to have policies to keep employees working, ensuring them about wages and safe working regimes.
At the same time, localities have to assess the current situation of the shortage. On that basis, we will arrange to make up for the shortage of workers.
In addition, if the shortage continues, we will mobilise from other special sources to avoid disruption of the labour supply chain for businesses to resume production in the new normal situation. — VNS