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ASEAN Labour Ministerial Meeting on response to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on labour and employment


On May 14th, 2020, the Video Conference of ASEAN Labour Ministerial Meeting on response to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on labour and employment was held with the participation of 10 member countries of ASEAN, Secretary Board of ASEAN and International Labour Organization. Vietnam Delegation was led by Minister of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung.

At the meeting, the Ministers shared the information on the policies, program and group of social support of each countries to response the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, relating to the issue of wages/income, employment, safety and health. As well as, the Ministers/Leaders of the Delegations also shared the recommendation to the general response of ASEAN to the impact of COVID-19 in the fields of labour and employment.

ASEAN labour ministers have called for measures to ensure workers’ income, jobs and safety at an video special conference in order to support labourers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ministers exchanged and shared data and information on measures and policies to cope with COVID-19 for workers, particularly issues relating to their income, employment, safety and health.
They also discussed recommendations for common response of ASEAN to COVID-19 impacts in the field of labour and employment.
At the Conference, the Ministers adopted a Joint Declaration which stressed the need to implement joint efforts to promote labour and employment policies in response to impacts of pandemics, economic crisis or natural disasters in the future.
They agreed to provide support for the livelihood and health of all workers, especially those working in high-risk sectors, and safeguard their labour rights amidst the impact of COVID-19 to the economies and industries of ASEAN member countries; ensuring to provide that all workers, including migrant workers, laid off or furloughed by employers affected by the pandemic are compensated appropriately by the employers and eligible to receive social assistance or unemployment benefits from the government where appropriate, in accordance with the laws, regulations and policies of respective ASEAN member countries.
They agreed to facilitate access of all workers infected by COVID-19 to essential health care services and other relevant medical support as necessary and prevent discrimination against infected workers; provide appropriate assistance and support to ASEAN migrant workers affected by the pandemic in each other’s country or in third countries; and further strengthen the effectiveness of active labour market policies at national and regional levels, occupational safety and health standards, and social protection systems through productive and harmonious social dialogue to retain employment, reduce the vulnerabilities of at-risk workers, and improve their resilience.
They also agreed to enhance cooperation with tripartite partners, civil society, international organisations, ASEAN Dialogue Partners and other stakeholders in mutually agreed areas such as knowledge sharing, research and development technical assistance and resource mobilisation to support rapid responses and post-pandemic recovery plan; and continue sharing of best practices and lessons learnt among ASEAN member countries on measures to help at-risk workers and employers and promote their resilience.
Minister of Labour - Invalid sand Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung shared Vietnam’s experience in coping with the pandemic, including the Government’s approval of the relief package worth over VNĐ62 trillion (US$2.7 billion) for around 20 million people with a focus on workers who had lost jobs and incomes and businesses affected by the pandemic.
On this occasion, Minister Dao Ngoc Dung informed that Vietnam expected to submit the "ASEAN Declaration on Human Resource Development in a Changing Work World" to the 36th ASEAN Summit in June 2020 and will then develop a Roadmap for implementing the Declaration. At the same time, the Minister looks forward to welcoming the Director-General of ILO and the Ministers of Labour and Education of ASEAN, and the General Secretary of ASEAN to Vietnam and attend the "High-Level Conference on Human Resource Development in the Changing Work World” in 2020 for a chance to discuss on further cooperation in this area in the near future.
ASEAN Labour Ministerial Conference on Responding to the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on labour and employment has been great successful and adopted the Joint Statement of ASEAN Labour Ministers on response to the impact of of COVID-19 on labour and employment.