HCM City workers sad wirh low Tet bonuses
  • | | December 03, 2021 07:59 AM
Le Van Thanh had incurred VND10 million (USD 435) in debt while staying at home during the three-month social distancing period for Covid-19 prevention in Ho Chi Minh City. He will have to repay the debt before the Lunar New Year (Tet) Holiday. Thanh is afraid that he won't be able to return home for the holiday if his company reduces Tet bonuses.

Le Van Thanh

"I've heard that this year's Tet bonuses will be much lower compared to previous years," the 34-year-old worker at a garment company in Ho Chi Minh City said. "I'm afraid that I don't have enough money to return to my family home in Ben Tre Province for Tet."

Thanh finished secondary school and has been working at the garment company for eight years. With a current monthly income of VND 8 million (USD 348), he tries to lead a modest life to save VND 1 million a month. He thinks that's a fair income for his work and could afford a simple life in HCM City until the latest Covid-19 outbreak occurred in late April.

"I had to spend all of my savings during the long social distancing period when my company closed," he said. "I even had to borrow over VND 10 million from friends. Now I'm trying to work extra hours to earn more money to repay the debt before Tet Holiday."

Thanh said that last year he was given VND 11 million (USD 478) and had a warm reunion with his family at Tet Festival.

"I had a stable income last year and I was happy with that Tet bonus which was fair with my contributions and efforts through the year," he said. "This year I can’t expect much because I know that our company has faced a difficult year because of the pandemic. Many other workers in other companies are suffering the same situation but I just hope that the Tet bonus won’t be too small."

Another worker in Ho Chi Minh City, Tran Thi Ve, also said that her family may have to cancel the plan of returning to their hometown in An Giang Province during the coming Tet holiday due to financial difficulties.

Tran Thi Ve and her son

The 32 -year-old worker said that she is working for a footwear factory while her husband is a truck driver. Their companies have only operated at half capacity following the latest Covid-19 outbreak and they have both been informed that their Tet bonuses would be sharply cut this year.

"We used to return to our hometown every Tet Holiday but maybe we can’t this year," Ve said. "Many other workers in my companies will also stay."

Ve said that she received VND 5 million (USD217) for Tet bonus in 2019 and it was cut by half in 2020 due to Covid-19. This year it would be further cut.

"We usually use Tet bonus to spend for Tet holiday so a small Tet bonus means that we can’t have a proper Tet this year," she said.

A survey carried out by HCM City Trade Union Federation said that firms in local export processing zone and industrial parks would experience a 50-70 percent on Tet bonuses from 2020 this year. Some companies can’t afford Tet bonuses at all due to spending on Covid-19 prevention and control activities.

A survey of 1,035 firms in HCM City last year showed that the highest bonuses for Tet last year was VND 1 billion (USD43,478) and the average bonus was VND 8.81 million (USD383).

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