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Vietnam’s NA urged to admit fault in social insurance restriction

Saturday, May 23, 2015, 13:53 GMT+7
Vietnam’s NA urged to admit fault in social insurance restriction
This file photo shows worker at a garment factory of Garmex Saigon JSC in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) should admit its fault to laborers for issuing a revised law keeps many workers away from receiving a lump-sum social insurance allowance after leaving job, a deputy said Thursday.

“I feel ashamed and guilty when witnessing workers going on strike to protest Article 60 of the 2014 Law on Social Insurance,” Vo Thi Dung, chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City Fatherland Front Committee, said at yesterday’s NA meeting in Hanoi.

The law-making NA convened for its ninth session on Wednesday.

The 2014 Law on Social Insurance was approved by the NA in November 2014 to revise the 2006 Law on Social Insurance and is slated to take effect on January 1, 2016.

Dung requested that the NA amend the Article 60 and admit its fault to laborers for having adopted it. Pursuant to the article, the scope of employees eligible to receive a lump-sum social insurance allowance when they resign from work is narrowed.

That means only a limited number of people are entitled to such lump-sum payments, while other resigned employees must wait until they reach their retirement age to get or receive such lump sums.

In Vietnam, the retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women.    Dung’s responses came a day after the government proposed that the NA revise Article 60 to offer laborers two options on how to receive social insurance allowances once they leave their job. The government’s proposition was agreed by most NA deputies.    One of the options is that laborers stake a lump-sum social insurance payment upon their resignation, and the other option is that laborers continue paying insurance premiums – voluntarily or through their new employers – and receive their social insurance payment upon retiring. The government took the move after Article 60 faced a strong opposition from workers at Pou Yuen Vietnam Co. Ltd., a Taiwanese-invested maker of sport shoes and garments for export in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Tens of thousands of Pou Yuen workers went on strike on March 26, and they agreed to resume work on April 2 after competent agencies promised to consider their aspirations. These workers argued that they likely could not continue to work until they retire, so if they quit their jobs in the near future they would have to wait for a long time to get such payment. Some workers said they might quit their current job and start business on their own in the future, so they wanted to get lump sums upon resignation as capital for their new career.

Most strikers requested that the law give them the right to decide on either taking a lump-sum social insurance allowance or accumulating their periods of payment of social insurance in order to receive a pension when they retire. Sharing the same view with Dung, Truong Trong Nghia, a deputy from Ho Chi Minh City, said that in some certain cases, lawmakers should devise rules that offer options for people to choose to comply with the laws. Lawmakers should avoid unnecessarily imposing regulations on people, Nghia added. Another deputy, Nguyen Thanh Tam, from the southern province of Tay Ninh, commented that competent agencies reacted slowly to the protest of Pou Yen workers. He added that Article 60 must be revised to meet the legitimate rights and interests of laborers.

Nguyen Tu Phuong, vice chairman of the Nghe An Province Labor Federation, also said he supported the point of view that laborers should be given a right to self-determination regarding how to receive social insurance allowance.  

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