Quoting the Head of Employment Division Nguyen Dai Dong, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported Tuesday (6 Jan) that some 300,000 people might be affected by the economic slowdown.

The industrial and services sectors, which employ around 9 million workers, will be the hardest hit while over 35 million agricultural labourers will see their working hours reduced by this wave of unemployment.

The ministry has asked all localities to survey and report fully on their unemployment rates by the second quarter of this year.

It plans to create between 3-3.2 million jobs over this year and the next year in an efforts to keep the urban unemployment rate under 5%, and reduce the proportion of workers involved in agriculture to under 50%.

It is expecting around 100,000 Vietnamese to find work abroad each year, 60% of them skilled labour, and 10% from poor districts.

A decree on unemployment insurance that took effect from the first day of this year is expected to partly mitigate the impacts of the economic slowdown.

The decree provides a framework for laid off workers who cannot find another job to receive insurance for three to 12 months depending on how long they've paid to the fund.

It will not be until the beginning of 2010 that the first such workers can benefit from the decree, given the requirement that a worker must have signed a contract of at least 12 consecutive months to become eligible.

"Unemployment insurance is needed to stabilise workers' life and to assist them in training and finding new jobs," said Nguyen Thanh Hoa, Deputy Minister of MoLISA.

Hoa dispelled concerns that the regulations would mean more hardship for businesses already suffering from the global financial meltdown, saying that they had had ample time to prepare for it since the law was passed in 2006.

Bernama (.my) - January 6, 2009