Vietnamese firms sued for owing insurers over $46 million

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Insurers across the country have filed lawsuits against 1,824 companies for owing more than VND977 billion (US$46.34 million) in staff insurance contributions.

The companies have not paid the money for at least 13 months, the insurance companies claim.

A report from Vietnam Social Security, the national social insurance agency, showed that unpaid social insurance by companies had escalated to VND7.75 trillion by the end of November, up 16 percent year on year.

Companies also owed more than VND2.9 trillion in health insurance money and VND552 billion in unemployment insurance.

Mai Duc Thang from the agency said employers owing insurance money or delaying payment was a common problem that's gotten worse as the bad economy has driven many into dire financial straits.

Insurers have in fact won many such lawsuits, but they've still been able to collect only very little money from the defendants.

Thang also blamed weak punishment because fines are cheaper than interest rates. Thus businesses often choose to keep their staffs' insurance contributions to spend on operations.

Officials also said the number of workers with social insurance has increased slowly, at around 3-5 percent every year, making it hard to establish the goal of covering half of the labor force by social insurance plans by 2020.

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