Support for self-employed workers made jobless: Making sure no one is left behind hinh anh 1Self-employed workers adversely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for State support. (Photo: Vietnam News Agency)

Hanoi (VNA) -
Provisions on social distancing against the COVID-19 pandemic are having the biggest and most severe impact on self-employed workers.

The Prime Minister has signed a resolution on measures as well as a relief package in support of those facing difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the relief package amounting to 62 trillion VND for around 20 million beneficiaries. Current, the only requirement is that the realisation of the package must ensure the right recipients and the earliest date possible. However, difficulties and bottlenecks are unavoidable in the disbursement of the largest social welfare policy Vietnam has ever seen.

The ‘leave no one behind’ policy is causing a problem for relevant authorities and localities.

Self-employed workers - the hardest hit

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the world, the self-employed workers and workers who have had their contracts terminated but are ineligible for unemployment insurance are the most vulnerable group in Vietnam’s labour market. Vietnam has promptly included them in the group of those to receive State support.

Dr. Chang-hee Lee, Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam, stated that the most vulnerable group included those in unofficial jobs, migrant workers and women. Their demand must be taken as a priority, he continued.

Though the figure has fallen in recent years, there is still more than 70 percent of work hands (including those in agriculture) in unofficial employment. Most of these workers do not enjoy basic protection forms, such as income protection, sick leave and healthcare.

According to Dr. Lee, in the COVID-19 crisis, the hardest hit are the self-employed and domestic helpers.

He also pointed out that domestic migrant workers (who make up 13.6 percent of the total population) often work in the unofficial economic sector and they have no access to social security.

The four fields defined by the ILO as the hardest hit include accommodation and food, production, wholesale and retail sale, and real estate and trading operation. These areas employ 44.1 percent of female workers and 30.4 percent of male ones.

Women are also frontline caretakers. They make up the majority of the 2 million unpaid domestic workers, as well as of the jobs hardest hit. That is why it is so necessary to bring them into consideration in the policy responses, Dr. Lee stressed.

Hard to define beneficiaries

Provisions on social distancing against the COVID-19 pandemic are causing the heaviest impact on self-employed workers and those in unofficial jobs. Worse still, they are often ineligible for protection policies like unemployment and health insurance of the social welfare system. On the other hand, however, they are the hardest to define when State support policies are implemented.

Support for self-employed workers made jobless: Making sure no one is left behind hinh anh 2Each vendor can receive the support of 1 million VND per month. (Illustrative photo: Vietnam News Agency)

Confirming self-employed workers are the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung said that defining those among them to receive the support will be a hard nut to crack.

Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Social Affairs Bui Sy Loi said local authorities have an important role to play in defining the right people to receive the support.

To make the work easier, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has proposed a list of self-employed workers, which includes vendors, motorbike taxi drivers, rubbish collectors, porters, lottery ticket sellers, workers at restaurants and accommodation establishments, and caretakers.

Following a decision by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs will issue a circular concretely defining self-employed workers. This will serve as a basis on which local authorities can make the list, ensuring that no one is left behind./.

The Government has issued Resolution 42/NQ-CP in support of those facing difficulties caused by COVID-19. They belong to seven groups, including workers whose contracts are suspended; employers confronting financial difficulties and having paid at least half of the unemployment benefits to workers in the April-June period; household businesses having annual revenue of less than 100 million VND suspending operation from April 1; workers having their contracts suspended but ineligible for unemployment support; revolutionary veterans enjoying monthly support; beneficiaries of social support, and poor or near-poor households under the national poverty criteria listed to December 31 last year.