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Aug 242017
 

Organization: UN Women
Country: Viet Nam
Closing date: 30 Aug 2017

I. BACKGROUND

Maternity protection for women is a legal and social recognition that the healthy reproduction of our societies is a collective responsibility. It is crucial to ensure wellbeing, health and nutrition of mothers and their children. Maternity protection contributes to reduction of maternal and child mortality and safeguards women’s employment and income security during and after childbirth, and enhance income security of the family at very critical period of people’s life. It helps to ensure women’s access to equal opportunity and treatment in the workplace and recognize unpaid care and domestic work done by women. Thus, to contribute to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) such as SDG 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10.

Maternity protection has been recognized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in its third Convention (No. 3) since 1919 and continued to be promoted in the Maternity Protection (Revised) Convention, 1952 (No. 103) and the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183). In addition, the ILO Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102) and the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) provide guidance for cash maternity benefits and effective access to maternity care. During the 20th century, most countries of the world have enacted maternity protection legislation at national level, however, scope and benefits are varied. Each country set its own conditions for eligibility. In general, the scope tends to be narrow, exclusive rather than inclusive. Only 28 per cent of female workers in employment are protected by cash benefits for their maternity. Most of them are wage and salaried workers in the formal economy[1]. In other words, many women working in the informal economy, including own-account and contributing family workers, domestic workers, casual and home workers may be excluded. Also, women who perform unpaid domestic and care work as their primary activity need protection around childbirth.

Vietnam has specific regulations on maternity leave that are unique in the Asian region. Overall, laws are set in place to ensure that female workers are completely protected during and after child-bearing. In May 2013, Vietnam increased the duration of maternity leave. Female workers are now entitled to six months of maternity leave as opposed to the four months that they used to be entitled to[2]. However, these advanced benefits are only available for a small proportion of female workers who are working in the formal economy and covered under the mandatory social insurance scheme. With the total working population of 53.3 million people in 2016, there are only 12.9 million people (24%) covered under mandatory social insurance schemes[3]. A large majority of women workers in the informal economy, including family workers and own-account workers, will continue lacking effective access to income security during and after maternity.

Introduced in 2008, the voluntary social insurance scheme aims at expanding social insurance coverage to informal sectors and can only reach around 200,000 workers up to date. Limited benefits and high contribution rates – vis-à-vis the participants’ limited contributory capacity – have been seen as two of the key reasons for its slow increase. Currently, the voluntary insurance scheme provides only pension and death benefits, which are both for long-term Yet, short-term benefits such as sickness, working injuries and incidents and maternity benefits, are not available. Pre- and post-natal maternity care are provided under the social health insurance scheme that covers 82% of the population.

The unequal access to and benefit from social protection for women in the informal economy do not align with regulations under national laws and international conventions such as the ICESR, and CEDAW to which Viet Nam is a state party, as well as the guidance provided by ILO Conventions and Recommendations related to social security and maternity protection in particular. . Although Viet Nam did not ratify any ILO Conventions on maternity protection, it supported the adoption of Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204) which in its paragraph 18 calls for the progressive extension of social security and maternity protection among others to workers in the informal economy. Article 13 under the Law on Gender Equality promotes equal access to social protection for female workers. CEDAW’s Concluding Observation to Viet Nam 2015 recommended that the government should “provide a regulatory framework for the informal sector, with a view to providing women in this sector with access to social protection and other benefits”.

Under the voluntary insurance scheme, although the government provides a subsidy up to 30% of the social insurance fee for workers in poor and near poor families and decreases the contribution level to a minimum as at the national poverty rate, given the fact that incomes of female workers in the informal economy are often low and unstable, lack of maternity protection for women can discourage women to participate in this scheme. The unavailability of paid maternity leave for women in the informal economy can decrease the chance of survival of the mother and the new-born and lays the conditions for optimal physical and cognitive development of the infant. Without maternity leave, these women may shift into even lower-paid and more insecure work in order to care for their infants. This will widen gaps in accessing health care and decent work for women.

Over the world, three mechanisms have been used to provide paid maternity leave or maternity cash benefits to women workers: (1) Employer liability, with employers directly or indirectly bearing the entire cost of paid maternity leave or its share together with social insurance; (2) Social insurance, financed through contributions from employers and employees and occasionally also from the government; and (3) Tax-financed (non-contributory) cash transfer schemes for women who are not covered under social insurance.

The recent trend has been moving away from employer liability because it may entail disincentives for employers to hire, retain and promote women workers. And it also does not provide a feasible avenue for protecting workers in the informal economy. Countries, especially developing ones, have been promoting extending maternity protection coverage to certain categories of workers in the informal economy who have some contributory capacities. It applies the principle of solidarity: all workers, including men, collectively bear the costs of maternity benefits by contributing, according to their capacity, to a common social insurance scheme. Moreover, ensuring universal coverage through a combination of different mechanisms including government’s subsidy for workers with limited contributory capacities is also crucial to increase the coverage[4].

The government of Viet Nam is aiming at increasing the coverage of social insurance to 50% of the total labour force by 2020. Around 76% of the total working population are currently still not covered under any social insurance scheme and majority of them are working in informal economy. Thus, the Government is now preparing a Master Plan for the Social Insurance Reform (MPSIR) by 2035 that will guide future reforms of the policy and legal framework, and the improvement of institutional capacity and governance of the entire social security system. The ILO is providing technical support for drafting two important documents being prepared by the Government: the Comprehensive Report to the Government for the Extension of Social Security Coverage (by August 2017) and the Master Plan Social Insurance Reform. Furthermore, the ILO is supporting an actuarial assessment to test the financial sustainability of the proposed social insurance reform, including extension of short-term benefits coverage to the informal economy workers.

In this context, UN Women and ILO are proposing to provide technical support to Ministry of Labour- Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to promote universal maternity protection for women and propose a possible design for the extension of the maternity benefits to all workers who are currently not covered under the mandatory insurance. In line with this technical cooperation, UN Women and the ILO are seeking for a highly qualified international consultant to conduct a study on the expansion of paid maternity leave to women in the informal economy in Viet Nam.

II. OBJECTIVE

The consultancy is aimed at providing evidences and proposing policy options on the expansion of paid maternity leave in the informal economy, reviewing country experiences in order to align with ILO Conventions and Recommendations and other relevant international agreements. The outcome of this consultancy will support MOLISA and related stakeholders to promote for paid maternity leave as a universal right and to support MOLISA in defining parameters and design of possible maternity benefit scheme for all female regardless their type of employment. The consultant is expected to work closely with UN Women and ILO experts on gender and social protection, based in Hanoi and Bangkok, as well as coordinate closely with the Social Insurance Department under MOLISA to fulfil the objectives of this consultancy.

III. SCOPE OF WORK

  • Review current Vietnam’s legislation on maternity leave, identify gaps between national legislation and international standards.

  • Review global, regional and national practices on expanding paid maternity leave in the informal economy.

  • Propose parameters and design of a possible maternity benefits schemes for all female workers who are not covered by the mandatory social insurance, aligned with international standards and learning from international practices. This task will use the results of the actuarial assessment on financing options for the expansion of paid maternity leave in informal economy in Viet Nam conducted separately in relation with the development of the Master Plan on Social Insurance, (the consultant is not asked to conduct his or her own financial assessment).

  • Discuss the relevance and feasibility of these solutions with key stakeholders, including representatives of workers and employers, civil society and women associations;

  • Provide policy advocacy messages to the to the government, National Assembly, social security institutions, enterprises and public to their supports for the expansion of maternity benefits to women workers in the informal economy to support the political endorsement of the expansion of maternity benefits to all women workers in the informal economy.

IV. SPECIFIC TASKS

Specifically, the Consultant will perform the following tasks with expected timeline

Tasks & Location and Timeline

  1. Propose the report outline and clarify methodology and steps for the study of a possible design for the expansion of maternity leave to all workers in informal economy in Viet Nam – Home-based – September 2017.

  2. Identify relevant stakeholders and meeting with them including representatives from government, CSO, women in the informal economy, women associations, Viet Nam Social Security (VSS), Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, employers’ organizations, including Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry… to get their views on the issue.

UN Women, ILO and Social Insurance Department (MOLISA) will provide support in meeting relevant stakeholders – Ha Noi – September 2017.

  1. Identify and agree with UN Women and ILO on the selection of relevant country experiences to be analysed for this report – Home-based – October 2017.

  2. Collect necessary data and information for the study and draft the report, including review of relevant international instruments.

UN Women, ILO and Social Insurance Department (MOLISA) will provide support for data collection.

Submit the first draft report to UN Women and ILO, no later than 30 October 2017.

Revise the draft report to reflect UN Women and ILO comments.

Home-based – November 2017.

  1. Prepare a power-point presentation detailing the review methodology and preliminary findings for the possible design of maternity benefits extension, and present at consultations with stakeholders, including a brown bag lunch with UN agencies.

The feedback provided at the consultations must be documented by the consultant.

The timing, participants and agenda of the consultations will be mutually agreed between UN Women, ILO and Social Insurance Department (MOLISA)

Ha Noi (TBC) – November 2017.

  1. Finalize the paper with the incorporation feedbacks from the consultations as well as UN Women, ILO and MOLISA to finalize the report and submit to UN Women and ILO, no later than 1 December 2017.

After the submission, UN Women and ILO will review for approval and may come back with request for further revision if necessary.

Home-based – December 2017

In addition, the international consultant must attend skype calls and meetings at the request of UN Women, ILO and its partners.

V. OUTPUTS/DELIVERABLES

The payment will be provided in two instalments as bellow:

Payment – Expected deliverables – Timeframe

  1. 1st installment

50% of total contract

· Inception report clarifying the research methodology, analytical framework, and report outline

· First draft study report

30 October 2017

  1. 2nd installment

50% of total contract

· Presentation of methodology and preliminary findings

· Final report with policy options, recommendations and policy advocacy messages.

10 December 2017

VI. LOCATION OF WORK

Home-based with the presence in Ha Noi for some meetings with stakeholders during the data collection and consultations (estimated 2 missions to Ha Noi in the last week of September and 3rd week of November 2017 tentatively).

VII. DURATION OF ASSIGNMENT

The entire time of the assignment will be from September to 10 December 2017.

VIII. CONTRACT SUPERVISION

The consultant will work closely with UN Women and ILO experts on gender and social protection, for the later, based in Hanoi and Bangkok, as well as coordinate closely with the Social Insurance Department under MOLISA to fulfil the objectives of this consultancy.

The consultant will work under day-to-day supervision of the Programme Analyst on WEE/DRR and ultimately report to UN Women Country Representative.

IX. QUALIFICATIONS

Education: Master’s Degree in Economics, Law, Social Policy, Sociology, Gender Studies, Development or other relevant disciplines;

Required experience and skills:

  • At least 10 years of relevant experience in the field of social protection, economic policies, and legal reforms, experience on researches on social insurance for maternity benefits will be an advantage;
  • Sound expertise on conducting researches and studies related to policy options in the areas of social protection and social insurance; expertise on actuarial assessment will be an advantage;
  • Knowledge on international standards on social protection, gender equality and human rights;
  • Prior experience supporting UN agencies for policy advocacy will be an asset. Fluency in written and spoken English is essential.
  • X. APPLICATION EVALUATION CRITERIA

The applicant will be evaluated based on technical capacities (70%) and financial proposal (30%). Technical evaluation will be based on the following criteria stated as below.

  1. Master’s Degree in Economics, Law, Social Policy, Gender Studies, Development or other relevant disciplines; – 10 POINTS
  2. At least 10 years of relevant experience in the field of social protection, economic policies, and legal reforms, experience on researches on social insurance for maternity leave – 30 POINTS
  3. Sound expertise on conducting researches and studies related to policy options in the areas of social protection and social insurance; expertise on actuarial assessment; – 30 POINTS
  4. Knowledge on international standards on social protection, gender equality and human rights – 10 POINTS
  5. Prior experience supporting UN agencies for policy advocacy – 10 POINTS
  6. Fluency in written and spoken English – 10 POINTS

A two-stage procedure is utilized in evaluating the submissions, with evaluation of the technical components being completed prior to any price proposals being opened and compared. The price proposal will be opened only for submissions that passed the minimum technical score of 70% of the obtainable score of 100 points in the evaluation of the technical component.

The technical component is evaluated on the basis of its responsiveness to the Term of Reference (TOR).

Technically qualified consultants may be selected for an interview before financial evaluation.

Maximum 100 points will be given to the lowest offer and the other financial proposals will receive the points inversely proportional to their financial offers. i.e. Sf = 100 x Fm / F, in which Sf is the financial score, Fm is the lowest price and F the price of the submission under consideration.

The weight of technical points is 70% and financial points is 30%.

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on Cumulative analysis, the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

a) Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and

b) Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

How to apply:

XI. APPLICATION PROCEDURE AND DEADLINE

Interested applicants must submit the following document/information (in PDF format) to demonstrate their qualifications

Technical component:

  • Letter of interest clearly stating relevant experience and qualification against required qualification above

  • Signed Curriculum vitae with contact details for 3 references

Financial proposal (with your signature)

  • The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount in US Dollar including consultancy fees and all associated costs i.e. airfares, travel cost, meal, accommodation, etc.

  • Please note that the cost of preparing a proposal and of negotiating a contract, including any related travel, is not reimbursable as a direct cost of the assignment.

  • If quoted in other currency, prices shall be converted to US Dollar at UN Exchange Rate at the submission deadline.

Complete applications should be sent to . Only applications with all items mentioned above will be considered.

Deadline for Application: 30 August 2017

NOTE: Documents required before contract signing:

• UN Personal History Form

• Full medical examination and Statement of Fitness to work and travel for consultants with travel involved. (This is not a requirement for RLA contracts).

• Individual subscribers over 65 years of age are required to undergo a full medical examination including x-rays at their own cost and obtaining medical clearance from the UN Medical Director prior to taking up their assignment.

• Release letter in case the selected consultant is a government official.

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