Informal workers vulnerable and unprotected

[15 October 2017] – Vietnam has 18 million informal workers, accounting for 57% of the workforce, who are unprotected and vulnerable as they work without official employment contracts.

The information was shared at the launch of a report on Vietnam’s labor force following a survey jointly conducted by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Vietnam.

Many of such employees are even hired to work in the formal sector, making up one third of a total of 16 million wage earners. Despite working for State-owned enterprises and organizations, they are not offered regulatory social insurance and many other benefits.

In fact, informal workers in Vietnam account for over 70% of the workforce with a total of about 40 million people including 22 million people working in the agricultural sector.

Nguyen Thi Xuan Mai, head of the Population and Labor Statistics Department under the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, said the survey showed trends and typical characteristics of Vietnamese informal workers. They do seasonal or temporary jobs without labor contracts and must work for long hours for low pay.

Hanoi and HCMC are the two cities with the most informal workers, over 20% of the total.

Enterprises in the informal sector are small ones without business registration, and social and health insurance and social welfare payments for their employees, Mai added.

As compared to men, women tend to do more vulnerable jobs. 31.8% of male informal workers take vulnerable jobs while the rate is 59.6% for female informal workers.

Their monthly wages are also much lower than their peers in the official sector. Informal workers can earn only VND4.4 million a month on average compared to VND6-7 million for official ones.

Chang Hee Lee, director of the ILO in Vietnam, said Vietnam should offer more official jobs so that the number of informal workers may go down.

The labor force survey was conducted with 20,000 households in 63 cities and provinces by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam.

- The Saigon Times.

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