Forum: Unemployment insurance helps to tide people over between jobs

Ms Khong Sow Cheng repeats the idea that unemployment insurance is a social welfare programme that disincentivises work (Why certain models of unemployment insurance will not work here, March 10).

Unemployment insurance is a form of insurance that should function like any other insurance. The only difference is that instead of protecting a property against theft or damage, this is protection against unemployment or loss of income.

Mr Luo Siao Ping in his letter, "A good insurance plan can help the jobless, while avoiding pitfalls" (March 8), suggested how such a potential unemployment insurance scheme might work.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having ravaged economies around the world, the prospect of long-term unemployment is going to be a reality for many people. This is a global phenomenon; jobs as we have known them are going to be scarcer.

Therefore, while it is important to ensure that people who face unemployment through no fault of their own have an incentive and the means to get back to work as soon as possible, we also need to understand that they will need some money to tide them over between jobs, which could be for a longer period than many expect.

The global economy may not be in a healthy state for a long while, and unemployment insurance would help many people get by in these tough times.

Unemployment insurance is not meant to be an alternative to what is already in place - it should be an addition.

Establishing unemployment insurance could be the perfect collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The Government could provide the framework for policies, and the private sector could look at ways to fund insurance fairly between employees and employers, ensure it will genuinely help those who need it, and make abuse of the system expensive.

The nature of the global economy and, by extension, how people earn a living, is changing.

Just as we cannot be stuck in old notions of earning a living, we cannot get stuck in our old conceptions of providing protection for those who get left behind.

Tang Li