The Ho Chi Minh City Social Insurance Agency has complained of time-consuming trial procedures and up-front court fees to sue enterprises for unpaid insurance fees.
Nguyen Van Sang, the agency director, said they have filed 62 lawsuits against enterprises since 2008 for late insurance fee payments totaling more than VND52.5 billion (US$2.95 million).
However, the agency had collected only VND10.8 billion ($606,400) so far, he said during a meeting Friday with the HCMC National Assembly’s delegation.
Sang said the city People’s Court had rejected agency proposals to stop the owners of foreign enterprises facing such lawsuits leaving the country. The court had explained that the Social Security Agency was suing a legal entity not an individual so they couldn’t prevent individuals from leaving the country, Sang said.
Out of the four recent cases against foreign-invested enterprises for non payment of insurance fees, the city People’s Court had completed only one trial and ordered Kwang Nam Company to pay the agency VND7.2 billion of which it has only paid VND1 billion so far.
Meanwhile, the remaining trials against Vina Haeng Woon Industry, Sin B and Vsic Informatic companies have not started because the company owners had left the country.
“It means workers of these three companies are being hurt,” Sang said.
The insurance agency also complained about having to pay upfront court fees that are only returned if the agency wins the case.
Sang cited an article in the Ordinance on legal costs, saying his agency shouldn’t have to pay court costs up front because it was filing the lawsuits for the benefit of workers. However, he said the city People’s Court had rejected his request because the law suits did not legally qualify as being “for the benefit of others.”
He said the agency had already deposited to the court more than VND283 million of which only VND64 million was returned.
The court had not returned the agency’s upfront court costs in their lawsuit against Vina Haeng Woon Industry Company, despite the company’s declaration of bankruptcy following 16 months of court delays.
The city Social Insurance Agency also proposed enterprise owners who did not pay insurance fees should face criminal charges, adding the current regulations weren’t enough of a deterrent.
Bui Hoang Danh, head judge of the city People’s Court, said he has asked HCMC Social Insurance Agency to request that he petition the Supreme People’s Court for an agency exemption from advance court payments
The HCMC Social Insurance Agency is also in charge of health insurance. The agency collects insurance money directly from employers, who are required to deduct 3 percent of workers’ salaries each month for both health and social insurance policies.
Reported by Nguyen Thuy