Government gives one-month extension for registration under the contribution-based Social Security schemeA contributor can also get social, educational and housing loans from the Social Security Fund.
The government has decided to give a month’s extension to employers and workers to register under the Contribution-based Social Security scheme. The ambitious scheme, which protects formal private-sector workers, had fallen abysmally below its target after the enrollment drive ended last week.
Before the deadline expired on Thursday, a total of 8,818 employers and 1,00,968 workers had registered under the scheme, according to the Social Security Fund—the government authority implementing the scheme. The fund also collected more than Rs76.5 million in contributions from both employers and the workers.
The lukewarm response to the social security scheme had continued since its implementation. The extended deadline for subscription to the scheme has been set for November 29.
“There have been requests from employers for giving them some extra time as many of them could not register because of the festive season. Therefore, the government has decided to give more time for registration,” said Kapil Gyawali, executive director at the secretariat of the Social Security Fund. “Employer and public, in general, have started showing interest in the scheme which is being implemented for the first time in the country.”
The government is heavily counting on over 3,500 private sector firms, which registered under the scheme in the last three days before the expiry of the erstwhile deadline, to assume employers and workers are turning positive towards the scheme.
After enrollment under the scheme and regular contributions, registered workers from the private sector will be entitled to old-age pension, medical treatment, health protection, maternity coverage, accidents, and disability compensation.
For accessing various coverage, both employers and employees have to contribute an amount equivalent to 31 percent of the workers’ basic monthly salary—11 percent is to be deducted from the worker’s monthly salary with the remainder 20 percent contributed by the employer.
Response to the scheme remained low mainly because of hesitation on the part of the employers and confusion among workers regarding how their monthly contribution would return to them.
In a bid to attract more beneficiaries, the government has also revised the scheme by drafting two new working procedures for utilising the funds collected under the scheme and providing loans to workers. With the changes in the scheme, a contributor can also get social, educational and housing loans from the fund.
Gokarna Bista, Labour, Employment and Social Security hoped that with a month’s extension more employers and workers will join the scheme which was brought in to provide much-needed comprehensive protection to workers and their family members.
“We are well aware of the tall task of registering tens of thousands of workers under the scheme. The government needs to look after workers’ welfare through this scheme,” said Minister Bista. “Every worker—employed with small or big companies must register with the scheme. This is not optional, it’s mandatory for all.”