New government bailout package: More benefits, less red tape

06:00 | 26/07/2021 Society

(VEN) - The government has announced a bailout package of VND26 trillion (US$1.13 billion) for workers and employers hard hit by the fourth wave of Covid-19. It is the second government relief program since the pandemic began last year.

New benefits

The decision, announced by Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung at a July 7 press conference, provides detailed guidance on conditions and procedures for implementing 10 support policies.

new government bailout package more benefits less red tape

The package is a follow-up to a previous initiative of VND62 trillion Vietnam issued last year to support the needy and businesses hit by Covid-19.

Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Van Thanh said Resolution 68/NQ-CP is designed to achieve the dual goal of pandemic control and economic development.

The package includes benefits for holders of occupational accident insurance policies, with the premium reduced from 0.5 percent to zero percent, while the benefits remain unchanged. Employers can use the savings to support workers. Foreign workers in Vietnam who pay this insurance will be entitled to benefits.

Regarding support for quarantined people, those infected (F0 category) and those who have come in direct contact with them (F1) are eligible for VND80,000 a day for meals over a maximum of 21 days. Their treatment costs will be paid by the state, for no more than 45 days. Small children are eligible for an additional VND1 million. Pregnant women and mothers feeding children under six can receive VND1 million if they have to suspend or stop working because of the pandemic or quarantine.

Some 2,000 artists with a fourth-class professional title and low income are also eligible for supports as are an estimated 26,000 certified tour guides. “This is a support package that is so open that it cannot be more open,” Dung commented.

Quick, easier access

he Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has been asked to ensure that the package reaches those in need, including informal laborers and street vendors.

new government bailout package more benefits less red tape

Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung stressed that the application procedures have been shortened and simplified to provide the easiest access possible to benefits, calling the change “a revolution”. With the previous support package, businesses had to satisfy very strict requirements to borrow money to pay their workers. Since commercial banks consider the loan applications on the fifth day of every month, many firms had to wait as long as a month to have their requests examined.

The minister said that he reached agreements with the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and Director of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) on removing complicated procedures and completing others within four days and the disbursement within three days. This means businesses will be able to access their support benefits within one week rather than 40 days.

Although procedures will be greatly simplified, implementation of the bailout will be strictly supervised and inspected by the Fatherland Front, trade unions and other relevant organizations.

Economists say the bailout (Resolution 68/NQ-CP) was issued at the right time - upon the fourth large-scale outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic affecting numerous industries and fields. This new, complicated and growing outbreak has been worrying both employers and employees nationwide since late April. In the second quarter of 2021, the pandemic caused 12.8 million people to lose their jobs or reduce working hours, 3.7 million people more than in the first quarter.

“People are looking forward to support every day, especially informal laborers. Therefore, if agencies and localities are slow in deploying the support package, we will be guilty,” Dung said.

Although procedures will be greatly simplified, the bailout package will be realized according to law and its implementation will be strictly supervised and inspected by the Fatherland Front, trade unions and other relevant organizations.

Hoa Quynh