Nearly 18 million of workforce at risk of losing livelihoods

13:00 | 29/07/2020 Economy

(VEN) - The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Vietnam’s labor market hard despite government efforts to help workers and businesses overcome the consequences of the disease and the country’s overall success in curbing infections.

nearly 18 million of workforce at risk of losing livelihoods

Many processing industry workers have lost their livelihoods

While unemployment keeps rising, efforts to create jobs face difficulties. According to preliminary calculations and local reports, as of June 2020, 30.8 million workers aged 15 and over were affected by the pandemic. These include workers who have lost their jobs or had to reduce their working hours and incomes. Some 57.3 percent of the total number of affected people, equivalent to 17.6 million people, have sustained pay cuts. Some 7.8 million workers who have lost their jobs are concentrated in the processing industries, wholesale and retail, warehousing, accommodation and catering services.

According to Do Anh Tuan, Head of the Personnel Department at Hanoitourist Corporation, turnover in the past six months only reached nine percent of the annual plan and is expected to continue to decline sharply. Many hotels have had to close their doors or have had their revenues seriously reduced. Hanoi’s famed Metropole Hotel, for example, has reported a turnover decline from VND3 billion to only VND200-300 million during the first half of the year.

According to Nguyen Bui Lam, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Airlines Corporation’s Civil Affairs Department, said only about 20 percent of employees are working regularly, while 80 percent are working occasionally or furloughed. Currently, the number of full-time employees in the industry is only about 50 percent and this rate is expected to increase to about 65 percent in the third quarter of 2020.

According to Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Van Thanh, on April 9, the government issued Resolution 42/NQ-CP on measures to support people facing difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On April 24, the prime minister issued a decision on measures to support people facing difficulties caused by the pandemic. The solutions are mostly focused on financial aid. As for businesses, although some policies have been adopted to ease their difficulties, such as borrowing capital to pay salary and suspending contributions to retirement and survivorship funds, outright support is lacking.

Businesses have unanimously petitioned the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to propose relaxing the conditions and criteria for support from the social security package of VND62 trillion and extending suspension of social insurance payments to the end of the third quarter of 2020. In addition, units and localities have strengthened vocational training support for those who have lost their jobs in a bid to restore them to the labor market.

According to Deputy Minister Le Van Thanh, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has taken these suggestions under advisement and will propose to the government measures to create favorable conditions for enterprises in order to not only maintain production and business activities, but also ensure stable employment. Thanh also emphasized that the ministry has submitted a document to the government on easing conditions for business to easily access the social security assistance package. The ministry is also considering a proposal to allow businesses to use the Unemployment Insurance Fund in order to train and improve worker skills.

While the number of unemployed workers continued to increase, the results of job creation efforts in the first six months were minimal. Jobs were found for an estimated 540,000 employees, achieving 36.5 percent of the plan.

Thu Phuong