The four-year unemployment insurance scheme implemented from 2009 to 2012 shows that it is a meaningful and effective social policy, but several problems arise that need to be solved.

This is the focus of a seminar on unemployment insurance held by the National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Ho Chi Minh City on March 1.

According to Do Thi Xuan Phuong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Social Insurance Agency, the number of people joining unemployment insurance and money in the fund has both continued to grow over the last four years. In 2009, there were nearly 6 million people with unemployment insurance, with the fund collecting more than 3.5 trillion VND. In 2012, 8.3 million people joined this kind of insurance and the fund’s revenues reached about 8 trillion VND.

The insurance fund reached nearly 15.6 trillion VND in late 2011, and was estimated to be 24 trillion VND by the end of 2012.

However, Nguyen Dai Dong, Head of the Employment Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that in 2012, nearly 500,000 people registered as unemployed, but only 420,000 of these people were entitled to unemployment benefits and just 5,000 people received vocational training assistance from the unemployment insurance fund.

Despite the large insurance fund, expenditure for vocational training is still low, and labourers only pay attention to cash benefits.

Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the committee, said that social insurance and unemployment insurance in particular, need to be reformed and expanded to include more labourers, especially those working in unofficial sectors.

An ILO representative and Nguyen Van Xe, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, suggested that vulnerable groups, including seasonal labourers, cleaners and foreign workers looking for jobs for the first time need to receive more attention. It is also necessary to expand the scale of insurance participants, including labourers with work contracts less than 12 months long and organisations with fewer than 10 employees.-VNA