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Social insurance debts to hit 2.6 million employees

Thuy Dung
Monday,  Nov 20,2017,18:06 (GMT+7)
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Social insurance debts to hit 2.6 million employees

Thuy Dung

HANOI – Around 2.6 million employees may lose health and retirement insurance benefits as their employers have not paid social insurance premiums for them.

The labor unions that represent their rights and interests have found it tough to take legal action against their employers.

National Assembly (NA) deputies grilled the chief judge of the Supreme People’s Court, Nguyen Hoa Binh, at a session last Saturday.

The long-unpaid social insurance has affected the legitimate rights and interests of workers. But almost no measures have been taken to deal with the problem, said deputy Phan Thi Binh Thuan of Binh Duong Province.

Four laws allow labor unions to file lawsuits on behalf of employees whose legitimate rights and interests are violated. Therefore, many local unions have taken companies failing to pay social insurance premiums to court but their petitions have been returned for a variety of unclear reasons.

Thuan proposed the chief judge explain this and present solutions for labor unions to file legal action against those companies.

A staggering 103,000 companies owe around 2.6 million employees social insurance payments totaling about VND14.7 trillion (US$647.4 million), according to the chief judge.

He said labor unions have filed 138 lawsuits but have run into stumbling blocks. A case in point is representatives of labor unions are not authorized by employees.

He added these lawsuits are civil in nature and that plaintiffs and defendants have the right to settle.

However, labor unions do not have this right, so their lawsuits do not meet the current legal procedures.
Regarding solutions, the chief judge said the National Assembly had passed the amended Penal Code which goes into force early next year. Owing social insurance debt is treated as a criminal offence.

Therefore, courts at all levels will handle such cases in the coming time.

Deputy Truong Thi Bich Hanh of Binh Duong Province was not satisfied with the response of the chief judge. “If there are such laws, but they cannot be applied in reality, outrage among workers could not be avoided,” she said.

According to the Constitution, deputy Luu Binh Nhuong of Ben Tre Province said labor unions represent employees, but “we force unions to seek mandates from employees in order to file a lawsuit. This is contrary to the Constitution.”

Therefore, the chief judge asked the NA Standing Committee for approval to review relevant regulations and work towards allowing labor unions to take legal action.

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