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$260 mln proposed to train workers vulnerable to Covid unemployment

By Hoang Phuong   March 16, 2021 | 08:27 pm PT
$260 mln proposed to train workers vulnerable to Covid unemployment
People apply for unemployment benefits at the Hanoi Center for Employment Services, June 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
The labor ministry plans to earmark VND6 trillion ($260.4 million) for training workers at risk of losing their jobs due to Covid-19.

Tran Tuan Tu, head of the unemployment insurance division at the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs’ employment department, said on Tuesday the ministry would seek approval for the program from the government this month.

It will draw VND6 trillion from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to train workers. Each worker would receive around VND1 million each month for six months for their job training. Around one million workers would benefit from the program.

Businesses wishing to benefit must meet certain conditions: they should have paid unemployment insurance premiums for their workers for the previous 12 months, restructured their business or production model to cope with the adverse effects of the pandemic and furnish financial reports of the nearest quarter to prove their revenues fell by at least 20 percent from the same period in 2019.

They could apply to the ministry, and the program is expected to begin within a year after the policies are announced.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund had around VND84 trillion left at the end of 2020. Though the law stipulates money from it could be used to train workers who lose their jobs due to technological changes, no business has been able to apply so far due to stringent requirements.

Last year over 1.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits, a 32 percent increase from 2019, mostly due to the pandemic. Around 43 percent of the applicants were from five industrialized cities and provinces: Hanoi, HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Long An.

Over 26,000 unemployed workers received training for jobs like driving, cooking and bartending to get back into the workforce.

The pandemic severely affected 90 percent of businesses, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the World Bank. The worst affected industries included textiles, telecommunications and electrical appliance manufacturing.

Around 35 percent of domestic private businesses and 22 percent of foreign companies have had to lay off employees.

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