VCN - It was inevitable that businesses were affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, whereby many businesses had to suspend production or even go bankrupt, leading to many employees losing their jobs or taking a break from work. In this case, what solutions are needed to support workers? Customs Newspaper spoke withMr. Bui Sy Loi (pictured), Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly's Committee of Social Affairs, about this issue.
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How do you assess the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on Vietnam's labor and employment markets?
At present, there are no specific statistics on the number of unemployed people affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, but the figures on bankruptcy and temporary cessation of enterprises have partly shown its impact on the labor market. According to my own observations and considerations, it is influenced by some groups. Specifically, there will be two groups – one is the workers themselves who are located in the affected area, can’t move into industrial parks and factories to continue working because they have to isolate to prevent epidemics, like VinhPhuc.
The second is workers working in FDI enterprises return to their hometowns during the New Year and return at the time of the outbreak of Covid-19 and must carry out isolation (for those who come from epidemic-affected areas). In this case, the enterprise must not only use existing workers but also have strategies to attract local and non-epidemic workers and move in to replace inaccessible labor.
In the future, if the epidemic continues to be complicated and widespread as at present, the impact on Vietnam's labor market is entirely possible. We will have to restrict the labor of countries working in Vietnam that come from epidemic-affected areas or have moved from Vietnam when theepidemic occurred. Besides, when we cannot import raw materials from epidemic areas, we will obviously be affected in the short term and this will have long-term impacts in the future if we do not have other solution or if the epidemic is not prevented.
When events such as epidemics and natural disasters occur, the support of the Government is needed more than ever. In recent years, the Government and ministries and agencies have taken many measures to support businesses to overcome these difficulties. How do you assess these support packages?
From the early days of fighting against the Covid-19epidemic, the Government has determined to focus on implementing adual task: preventing and fighting against epidemics as well as socio-economic development. By this time, the negative impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on businesses, workers and the economy was increasingly evident.
The immediate action is to strictly implement the measures stated in the Prime Minister's Directive 11/CT-TTg of March 4, 2020. This is very important work, especially the measures ofbalancing and meeting the capital demand for production and business; applyingprompt measures to restructure loan repayment terms, considering exemption and reduction of loan interest for customers who are facing difficulties due to epidemics, implementing a credit support package of about VND250 trillion; extending the payment of tax and land rent to those affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. It is notable that there is one more support for enterprises is the suspension of social insurance (SI) contributions to the Pension and Death Fund for businesses facing difficulties due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
It can be said that this "rescue package" is different from all "rescue packages" that the Government has done before. I assess these are very good and timely policies to support businesses. We do not make trade economic interests for lives, the safety of the people is completely true. Butit does not mean that there is absolutely no economic development in the current context. We must take every opportunity to maintain and develop the economy, in which the role of "midwife" of the State is very important now.
In your opinion, what additional policies or measures are needed for workers affected by the Covid-19 epidemic?
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, some businesses have to close or suspend operations leading to unemployment or temporary unemployment, so we need to review andpay unemployment insurance for workers who are unemployed so that they can ensure their daily life and can be trained, improve their skills or can transfer to other occupations and maintain their incomes. This is a very important issue,otherwise workers will be susceptible to the double difficulties of both coping with the Covid-19 epidemic and coping with no income, leading to an uncertain life forthemselves and their families.
The enterprises currently having to suspend production due to lack of raw materials or can’t export goods, they can take advantage of this time to organize training, retraining and improving skills for laborers. A part of the unemployment insurance fund may be used to assist businesses in doing this. Currently, with about VND70,000 billion of surplus unemployment insurance fund, in my opinion, it can be applied to help remove difficulties for businesses and employees.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund is not only for employees who are unemployed but also for training and retraining workers to return to the labor market, preventing unemployment and helping workers always have jobs. We must use the solution of unemployment benefits and try to re-train the labor force in order to have the human resources for socio-economic development of the country, as well as to avoid the situation of workers falling into unemployment or getting in trouble.
Besides, when there are incidentsand crises, it is important to prepare human resources to meet the requirements when affected. Our human resource development strategy is not only short-term, not only current, but also long-term and future-oriented. The reason for preparing long-term human resources is the current quality of human resources in our country is very low. Trained workers account for 60% of the total working age employees. It seems high, but the core of the problem is only 25% of trained workers have degrees and certificates. These workers rarely fall into the impact of a crisis, including economic and epidemics.
The remaining 35% of workers among the 60% of trained workers are un-skilled,they meet many difficulties to change their job.
Handling this problem, businesses need a management approach. It is necessary to train workers with key occupations and knowledgeable occupations. Since, when there are changes, workers can immediately change careers. In addition, businesses must prepare an immediate retraining strategy to handle the problem.
Thank you, Sir!
By XuanThao/Quynh Lan