Hanoians flock to draw unemployment benefits

By Ngoc Thanh, Hoang Phuong   June 12, 2020 | 11:31 am GMT+7

Hundreds of people are flocking to the employment center in Hanoi every day for unemployment benefits after losing their jobs due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

A crowd gathered in front of the Hanoi Center of Employee Service- HCES in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District on the early morning of Thursday before the center is opened. The first ones come to wait in line almost two hours before the opening time at 6 a.m. These days, 80 percent of the files the center had received are for unemployment compensation. Those applying those files work in various fields, including salespersons, electronics technicians, accountants, garment workers, tour guides, and construction technicians. Within May, the center had received 11,700 of such files, up 41 percent against the same period last year in 71 percent against May 2018. In the first ten days of June, more than 4,500 files had been applied and in Wednesday alone, 431 new files had been admitted while 1,000 people had come to get help in finding jobs.

A crowd gathered in front of the Hanoi Center for Employee Service in Cau Giay District early on Thursday before it even opened. The first ones had arrived and stood in line almost two hours before it opened at 6 a.m.
So far, 80 percent of the applications the center receives is for unemployment benefits and others are people looking for jobs. The applicants include salespersons, electronics technicians, accountants, garment workers, tour guides, and construction engineer.
In May the center received 11,700 applications, 41 percent up from May last year and 71 percent up from May 2018. In the first 10 days of June more than 4,500 people had applied and on Wednesday alone, there were 431.

In accordance with the protocol to prevent Covid-19 spread, all people coming to the center must have their body temperatures checked.  Ung Doan Hung, a staff at the center, said in the past one month, he has checked temperature for around 700 people per day on an average day and 900 during peak days.  The man who gets his temperature checked is a 58-year-old technician at a taxi firm. He had lost his job since late April after working for 25 years. He had planned to work for a few years and kept paying for social insurance for 20 years in full so that he could get access to the retirement pension following the Law on Social Insurance, but the pandemic came and changed everything.  At this age I could hardly find a job anywhere, he said, adding that the college tuition of his son in the next two years would be a burden for him and his wife.

Everyone coming to the center has their temperature checked for Covid-19 symptoms.
Ung Doan Hung, an employee at the center, said in the last one month he has been checking the temperatures of around 700 people per day on average and 900 on crowded days.
The man getting his temperature checked in the photo above is a 58-year-old technician at a taxi firm. He lost his job in late April after working for 25 years. He had planned to work for a few more years and pay social insurance for the full 20 years so that he could get a retirement pension, but the pandemic changed everything. "At this age I can hardly find a job anywhere," he said, adding that paying the college tuition of his son for the next two years would be a burden for him and his wife.

People rush into the center to get tickets that mark their ordinal numbers after the step of temperature check.

People rush into the center to get their queue tokens.

Data at the center show that among people applying for unemployment compensation, women under 35 make up more than 30 percent, women over 35 account for 30 percent. The ratio is 23 percent for men under 35 and 22 for men over 35.

Data from the center shows that of women account for 65 percent of people applying for unemployment benefits.

Phuong Ngan (L) from Ba Dinh District carries her six-month-old daughter to the center to file for the compensation. She took a xe om drive to the center and showed up at 7 a.m. Bringing her baby along, Ngan was given the priority to get her ticket first. Ngan had come to the center once two days ago but she did not have the agreement to postpone employment contract granted by her employer, she could not file for compensation.  Ngan works as an office worker for a construction company in based in Hanoi’s Dong Da District. In March, she returned to work after her six months of maternity leave. Due to the Covid-19 impacts, her company did not get many contracts and work, leaving her more than free time than needed at work. Eventually she decided to quit. Three months from the day they end the working contract, employees who obtain the social insurance can apply for the unemployment compensation.

Phuong Ngan (L) of Ba Dinh District brought her six-month-old daughter to the center to apply for unemployment benefits, and so was ushered into the front of the queue. She worked for a construction company. In March she returned to work after six months of maternity leave. But due to the pandemic her company did not get have much work. Eventually she decided to quit.
Three months from the day they lose the job, people who have social insurance can apply for unemployment benefits.

Employees at the center are said to work at their full capacity in the past month. From now until July, the pressure would even bigger because more people will come for the compensation procedure. This is because many of them had only lost their job since April, director of the center, Ta Van Thao, said.

"From now until July the pressure [on us] will be even greater because more people will come for unemployment benefits as many have lost their jobs since April," Ta Van Thao, the director of the center, said.

A 26-year-old woman completes a file to ask the center help her seek for a job.  The Covid-19 pandemic has cost nearly five million Vietnamese workers their jobs as of mid-April, bringing Q1 employment figures to a 10-year low. Processing and manufacturing industries were most heavily impacted with 1.2 million jobs affected; followed by wholesale and retail, 1.1 million; plus accommodation and catering services, 740,000, according to General Statistics Office (GSO). Of those affected, 59 percent are temporarily out of work, 28 percent are taking turns to work, and the remaining 13 percent have lost their jobs.  Vietnam had closed all non-essential business services in late March in an unprecedented move to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. While most non-essential services were allowed to resume operations after a social distancing campaign was lifted in late April, karaoke parlors and disco bars were not allowed to reopen until Tuesday after the nation had not recorded community transmission of the Covid-19 virus for 54 days.  The nation’s Covid-19 tally currently stays at 332. Of these, 320 have recovered and the remaining 12 are active cases receiving treatment.

A 26-year-old woman applies for a job.
The pandemic has cost nearly five million workers their jobs as of mid-April, taking Q1 employment figures to a 10-year low, with just 75.4 percent of population in working age having jobs. Manufacturing was the worst affected with 1.2 million jobs lost, followed by wholesale and retail (1.1 million) and accommodation and catering services (740,000), according to the General Statistics Office.
Vietnam closed all non-essential businesses in late March in an effort to contain the pandemic. While most non-essential services were allowed to resume operations after a social distancing campaign was ended in late April, karaoke parlors and discotheques were not allowed to reopen until Tuesday.

 
 
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