This time last year, Mr. Recognition received a Tet bonus of over VND20 million. However, things have changed drastically, and he has been unemployed for the past 12 months. The Employment Service Center in Cau Giay district is bustling with people applying for unemployment benefits. Among them is Mr. Cong, who has been collecting unemployment benefits with his friends for the past 9 months. They used to work at a packaging company in Hoang Mai District, but due to restructuring, many people became dissatisfied and lost their jobs.
Mr. Cong, who has been with the company for 19 years, reminisces about the memories and friendships formed during his tenure. Unfortunately, his plans to take a leave of absence and find a new job after Tet were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. He spent most of his time at home from February to May, struggling to make ends meet. The pandemic also forced him to delay payments on his newly bought car, which has been sitting idle for three months now.
In June, Mr. Cong went for his first interview in a long time. However, he felt out of place as he was competing against younger candidates who had more experience in the real estate industry. Despite the disappointment, Mr. Cong remains optimistic and not disheartened. He acknowledges his age as a limiting factor but finds solace in the monthly unemployment benefits of 9 million dong. This money helps him and his wife manage their family expenses, especially during Tet. However, with half of his income gone, Mr. Cong knows he needs to tighten his belt this year.
Mr. Dung, a 50-year-old former deputy manager of an airline insurance company, shares a similar story. He resigned from his position due to a salary reduction and believes it’s challenging for someone his age to find a new job. These stories are not uncommon, as the General Statistics Office reports that 32.1 million people in Vietnam have been negatively affected by Covid-19.
The pandemic has also affected small businesses like the bread cart owned by Mr. Phu and Mrs. Thanh’s shop. They used to generate substantial profits during Tet, but this year their income has been reduced by half. To make ends meet, Mr. Phu had to work as a shipper while Mrs. Thanh was laid off and started looking for alternative sources of income. Their savings gradually dwindled until there was nothing left.
Despite the challenges, people like Ms. Nguyen Thu Ha are looking forward to collecting their unemployment benefits. She plans to spend the money on food for Tet, but worries it might not be enough. Ha, who lost her job as a janitor, and her husband faced financial difficulties throughout the year. Private lessons for their eldest child and kindergarten expenses for the youngest added to their financial burdens. The unemployment benefits have been a lifeline for them.
As we approach Tet, these individuals, like many others, will have to tighten their belts and adjust their celebrations. The financial strain caused by unemployment leaves them with little room for extravagance. Yet, they remain resilient and hopeful. The support they receive from unemployment benefits provides a glimmer of hope during this challenging time.
After completing his paperwork at the Employment Service Center, Mr. Cong bids farewell to his colleague and leaves with a positive attitude, wishing everyone a Happy Tet. It is uncertain if the opportunity for work will present itself, but he remains hopeful.
Remember, everyone’s journey is unique, and setbacks can happen to anyone. If you want to learn more about supporting individuals in need, visit Truth and Hope.
Based on: Phan Duong – Vnexpress