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Vietnam lawmakers vote in favor of workers, slacken strict pension rule

Workers of Pou Yuen Vietnam gather for a negotiation with labor union officials at their factory on the fifth day of their strike in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh City March 31, 2015

Workers of Pou Yuen Vietnam gather for a negotiation with labor union officials at their factory on the fifth day of their strike in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh City March 31, 2015. Photo: Reuters
Vietnam's legislators have voted to let employees keep the option of receiving lump-sum social insurance payments when they choose to leave their companies. 
Roughly 87 percent of the legislators agreed with this policy at a session of the National Assembly -- Vietnam's legislature -- on Monday, three months after thousands of workers protested a proposed rule that aimed to keep all employees in the state pension system until their retirement date. 
The controversial rule, designed to shore up the pension fund, was slated to go into effect next year, but now the National Assembly ordered relevant agencies to roll it back. 
In late March thousands of workers in Ho Chi Minh City and some southern provinces protested against the rule in a strike that lasted nearly a week.
The workers calmed down only after the government guaranteed that all social insurance policies would stay unchanged until the end of the year, and that it would seek amendments so employees could still choose to take the lump-sum payment, or get paid monthly in retirement.
Experts say the Vietnamese government is finding it hard to maintain a sustainable pension system.
Vietnam’s social security fund is forecast to have deficits beginning in 2021 and risks being depleted by 2034 without reforms, according to the International Labor Organization.
Efforts by the Vietnamese government to raise the retirement age in the past two years have been rejected by lawmakers.

 

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