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Wider unemployment insurance plan urged

Update: March, 02/2013 - 05:32

HCM CITY (VNS)— Unemployment insurance should be expanded to seasonal workers, workers with short-term labour contracts as well as all enterprises.

This opinion was voiced by the deputy director of the HCM City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Van Xe, at a conference held yesterday to gather public comments on the draft law.

Seasonal workers, workers with labour contracts of less than one year and employees of enterprises with fewer than 10 employees would be ineligible to participate in the unemployment insurance programme under the currently drafted Law on Employment, Xe said.

Seasonal and short-term workers were at higher risk of being laid off than those with longer-term contracts and were therefore in greater need of the protections of the unemployment insurance programme, Xe said.

Enterprises employing fewer than 10 workers were also more vulnerable to insolvency in the current economic downturn, he said.

There were 69,446 enterprises with fewer than 10 workers, accounting for 70 per cent of the total number of enterprises in HCM City, he noted.

He suggested that participation by these companies in the unemployment insurance programme should be compulsory, allowing them to enjoy the one-per-cent contribution made to the unemployment insurance fund from the State budget.

Unemployment insurance should cover employees with short-term labour contracts and workers of employers with fewer than 10 employees, agreed Ngo Thi Loan, national programme coordinator of the International Labour Organisation country office for Viet Nam.

The social insurance agency needed to design specific unemployment insurance policies for seasonable and part-time workers, as well as farmers and fishermen and other non-office workers, Loan said.

The agency also needed to tighten supervision and audit of the programme to prevent abuse of the unemployment insurance fund, she said.

Last year nearly 500,000 laid-off workers applied for unemployment insurance, a year-on-year increase of 43 per cent, said Nguyen Dai Dong, head of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' Employment Department.

Most laid-off workers were between the ages of 25 and 40, Dong said.

The department estimated that the unemployment insurance fund spent more than VND2.3 trillion on unemployment insurance benefits last year.

In HCM City alone, more than 143,600 unemployed workers claimed benefits. — VNS

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