Covid-19 impacts had caused 1,000 businesses in Ho Chi Minh City to owe more than VND1.6 trillion ($70.7 million) in employee social insurance by 2021-end.
Social insurance debts were up 1.5 percent from 2020, according to the HCMC Social Security Office.
Phan Van Men, director of the office, said these businesses had made late payments for six months or more, as of the end of 2021.
He said the main reason for the late payment is Covid-19 impacts, which had caused many businesses to suspend operations or even go bust.
Besides, following social distancing measures, the social insurance sector had also halted their inspection and as a result, many firms were not reprimanded or fined for late payments, allowing debts to drag on for months.
Another obstacle in the recovery of insurance debts includes authorities having yet to issue clear guidance on collecting the debt from businesses that were dissolved, went bankrupt, or ceased operation.
Contributions to the social insurance fund pay for worker pensions and other forms of compensation when they fall sick or take paternity or maternity leave.
To be able to receive the maximum pension allowance, which is equal to 75 percent of the basic salary, employees are required to contribute to the fund for at least 35 years for men and 30 years for women.
To deal with existing debts, the city Social Security Office will strengthen the inspection of firms, especially after fines for those who evade social insurance contributions or make late payments were raised on Jan. 17.
The office also proposed the police agency press criminal charges on those who collected long-term debts and evade social insurance payments, affecting the income of workers.
By the end of last year, more than 93,000 companies in HCMC had a total workforce of over 2.2 million.
Within that year, about 200,000 employees had quit their jobs and stopped paying social insurance premiums.
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