The revised Law on Social Insurance (the Law), which was passed in last November, aims to improve social insurance regimes and policies and ensure equality in the payment of social insurance premiums and enjoyment of social insurance benefits.
The 125-article Law has many revised contents, focusing on expansion of the insured, better protection of employees’ rights and strengthening of the sustainability of the social insurance system.
Expansion of social insurance coverage
Under the Law, social insurance includes compulsory social insurance, voluntary social insurance and supplementary retirement scheme.
Compulsory social insurance covers the following regimes: sickness; maternity; labor accident and occupational disease; retirement; and survivorship allowance. Compared to the current regulations, the Law adds three groups covered by compulsory social insurance. Accordingly, part-time staffs in communes, wards and townships will participate in compulsory social insurance from January 1, 2016; persons working under labor contracts with a term of between full 1 month and under 3 months, from January 1, 2018; and employees who are foreign citizens working in Vietnam with work permits or practice certificates or practice licences granted by competent Vietnamese agencies, also from January 1, 2018, under the Government’s regulations.
Voluntary social insurance covers retirement and survivorship allowance. The Law does not set an age limit for voluntary social insurance participants. Specifically, persons covered by voluntary social insurance are Vietnamese citizens aged full 15 years or older and not subject to compulsory social insurance. The State will provide supports for voluntary social insurance participants.
The Government shall stipulate, while the State encourages employers and employees to participate in, the supplementary retirement scheme.
Better protection of employees’ rights
Rights of employees are provided in Article 18, which says employees, but not employers as under current regulations, are entitled to manage social insurance books of employees.
It is noteworthy that employees may obtain information on their payment of social insurance premiums from employers every six months. Every year, employees may have their periods of social insurance premium payment certified by social insurance agencies. They may request employers and social insurance agencies to provide information on the payment of social insurance premiums and enjoyment of social insurance benefits.
The Law adds some rights of employees. Accordingly, employees are entitled to health insurance when taking leave on maternity allowance for childbirth or child adoption, or being on sickness allowance, for those who suffer a disease on the Ministry of Health-issued list of diseases requiring long-term treatment. They may also take medical assessment of their working capacity decrease, if their health conditions have become stable after treatment of a recurring injury or disease and have their period of social insurance premium payment reserved. They need not to pay medical assessment costs if they are eligible to social insurance.
To protect employees’ interests, social insurance agencies will publicize in the mass media employers that violate the obligation to pay social insurance, unemployment insurance or health insurance premiums.
Trade union organizations may initiate lawsuits at a court against violations of the law on social insurance which affect the lawful rights and interests of employees and employee collectives. This is a new provision of the Law.
Prohibited acts are listed in Article 17, including:
- Shirking the payment of compulsory social insurance or unemployment insurance premiums.
- Delaying the payment of social insurance or unemployment insurance premiums.
- Appropriating social insurance or unemployment insurance premiums or allowances.
- Falsifying or forging dossiers in the implementation of social insurance or unemployment insurance.
- Illegally using the social insurance fund or unemployment insurance fund.
- Causing obstacles or troubles to, or harming the lawful and legitimate rights and interests of, employees or employers.
- Illegally accessing or exploiting the database on social insurance or unemployment insurance.
- Making untruthful reports or providing inaccurate information or data on social insurance or unemployment insurance.
Under the Law, the national e-database on social insurance management will be put into operation by 2020.
Effective on January 1 next year, the Law will supersede the 2006 Law on Social Insurance. The Law will not apply to unemployment insurance which is governed by the Law on Employment.- (VLLF)