|Vendors are common in Ha Noi. They are among the casual labour force that often misses out on the social insurance safety net. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
HA NOI (VNS)— If media outlets gave more coverage to the social insurance policy for workers in the informal sectors, these workers would be more likely to participate in the programme, labour experts say.
About 139,000 people voluntarily participated in the social insurance programme last year –barely 1.3 per cent of those eligible.
Most of them learned about the programme, which has been in place for five years, through word of mouth rather than media coverage, according to Luu Quang Tuan, deputy director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA).
Nguyen Thi Thu Hien, a part-time domestic helper in Ha Noi's Hoang Mai District, said she did not intend to sign up for social insurance.
"It would be too complicated. I'd have to go through so much paperwork," she explained.
Workers in the informal sectors represent 70 per cent of the total number of workers, according to a survey ILSSA conducted in Ha Noi's Thanh Xuan and Dong Anh districts. They also depend heavily on financial support from friends and family.
The survey revealed that as informal workers' incomes rose, they would be more likely to participate in the insurance programme.
Older people also showed more interest in the policy, with 55 per cent of people over 40 expressing willingness to participate. Additionally, those with family members already participating in the programme are more likely to sign up themselves.
Viet Nam is not alone in facing the challenge of promoting voluntary social insurance participation among informal workers. Other developing countries have the same problem, said Axel Neubert, regional representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, at a recent workshop held to review the voluntary social insurance programme.
Neubert added that a long-term strategy was needed to integrate voluntary social insurance promotion and other social protection policies with national socio-economic development targets.
Many labour experts agreed, saying that the country lacked a rights-based social protection system that included the entire population. — VNS