The number of people participating in the unemployment insurance policy nationwide surged from nearly 6 million in 2009 to over 8.3 million in 2012, an increase attributed to growing public awareness about insurance, heard a conference in Hanoi on October 10.

According to Le Quang Trung, deputy director of the Employment Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), applicants were mainly from big cities with a lot of industrial areas and export processing zones.

In 2012, applicants from Ho Chi Minh City made up 29.5 percent of the total. Those in southern Binh Duong Province represented over 18 per cent and in neighbouring Dong Nai, 9 percent.

According to reports from MoLISA and the Vietnam Social Insurance Agency, the implementation of the unemployment insurance policy helps protect the rights of workers. Yet State officials from the ministry and other relevant agencies said that problems remain.

These include indifference on the part of unemployed people towards the Government's policy to support them in vocational training, many struggling companies delaying payment of unemployment insurance and other companies trying to evade paying insurance by signing contracts with workers for less than 12 months.

Trung also noted that in many cases, workers had to wait a long time for insurance payments, so the money sometimes failed to come when needed. He explained that the delay happened due to a procedural complication.

Nguyen Minh Tri, director of the Job Placement Centre under the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the eligibility requirements limited access for those in need.

Currently, seasonal workers, people working on projects less than 12 months in duration and those working for companies that employ less than 10 workers are ineligible to participate in the unemployment insurance policy.

Tri pointed out that since these people have a higher risk of losing their jobs, they are the very groups that should be protected. He suggested a change of policy that would allow these groups of workers to participate in social insurance, an opinion shared by other labour experts at the conference.

He also said the exchange of statistics and information between agencies handling unemployment insurance was not as regular and timely as needed.-VNA