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Govt officials urged to expedite aid to the unemployed

Local labour authorities around the country need to quickly implement government measures to assist the unemployed and help cushion inevitable job losses in the months to come, according to a leading official.
Director-General of the Department of Labour Skill Development at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ms Anousone Khamsingsavath, made the remarks on Wednesday discussing responses to the impact of COVID-19 on employment.

The global pandemic has severely impacted the economies of many countries, including Laos, and most workers cannot claim unemployment benefits when faced with temporary or permanent job loss, she said.
“Poverty in Laos will be exacerbated because large numbers of people have been laid off from their jobs,” she added.
Labour officials admitted their concerns about the ongoing issue. Although many measures have been introduced to assist the workers, authorities have not received a strong response from some employers, including those in specific economic zones who don’t have clear plans for recruiting Lao labour.
“The labour meeting discussed efforts to ensure that all workers, including workers returning from Thailand, and those laid off or furloughed by employers affected by the pandemic, are helped appropriately by their employers and receive assistance or unemployment benefits from the government where appropriate in line with the regulations,” Ms Anousone explained.
It was also agreed to strengthen the effectiveness of active labour policies, advise all employers the need to recruit local workers, and enhance social protection systems through productive and harmonious social dialogue to retain employment, reduce the vulnerabilities of at-risk workers, and improve their resilience.
Participants agreed on the need to assist Lao workers returning from Thailand through effective application of the Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Workers to ensure their well-being and safety, as well as facilitating their movement and reuniting them with their families.
The ministry reported recently that the unemployment rate had surged from the average of 2 percent to 25 percent at present.
The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job. Many businesses ceased operation during the recent lockdown and authorities are hoping for a quick rebound in employment as measures are lifted. 

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update May 22, 2020)

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