As the fourth wave of COVID-19 ravages industrial zones in Vietnam, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has proposed a benefit equivalent to sick pay for workers who are sent to quarantine to curb the spread of the epidemic.
According to the ministry, the current outbreak, which emerged on April 27, poses a detrimental effect on the labor market and business operations.
It has shuttered big industrial zones in northern provinces of Bac Giang and Bac Ninh, among others, sending a substantial number of workers to quarantine wards.
As stipulated in Vietnam’s 2019 Labor Code, workers who are suspended from the job due to a major epidemic are entitled to a suspension pay from their employers, which shall not fall below the statutory minimum wages if the suspension does not exceed 14 working days.
Nevertheless, the actual quarantine duration well exceeds 14 days as required by the authority. In this case, worker’s salary after the first two weeks in isolation will not be ensured as they have to negotiate it with the employers, a representative of the ministry said.
In light of the situation, the ministry is urging the Government to approve a welfare package for quarantined workers.
The workers must be a member of the social security program, who made contribution to the social insurance budget the month before their suspension from work, to be eligible for the new welfare package.
They also have to present paperwork to prove that their suspension is approved as quarantine time.
The new policy will be effective in a locale once 0.1 percent of the populace, or 0.1 percent of social security members, in that area are found infected with the coronavirus.
For each working day in quarantine, a beneficiary will receive 75 recent of their daily salary as recognized by the social security program the month before their suspension, as stated in Vietnam’s Law on Social Insurance.
Some 300,000 workers suspended from their job will benefit from this package, receiving an estimated amount of VND945 billion (US$409 million), or 7.4 percent of the current social insurance fund for sick and maternity pay, the ministry estimated.