Employers found missing social security scheme’s monthly premium deadlineEmployers not paying the monthly amount on time means workers will be deprived of access to full facilities and services promised under the contribution-based social security scheme.
The contribution-based social security scheme, already seeing a lukewarm response from the public, has encountered a fresh problem: Employers are not paying the monthly premium of their employees on time.
The Social Security Fund Secretariat, the government body that manages the fund and oversees the implementation of the scheme, has discovered that many employers are not depositing their premium within the stipulated time.
“The law clearly states that the monthly premium should be paid on time—within 15 days. But we employers are not doing so,” Bibek Panthee, spokesperson for the secretariat, told the Post. “In some cases, employers come to deposit the money only after the worker has already died or met with an accident. Some employers have paid the monthly premium only for those who have fallen ill, and not for others.”
As per Section 4 (4) of the Contribution-based Social Security Scheme Act, 2017, the employer should deposit the total amount within the 15 days of the month for which salary needs to be paid.
The much-talked social security scheme, which was rolled out for formal private-sector workers, has witnessed a luke-warm response in more than two years of its enforcement. As of now, 13,140 employers and 187,107 workers have registered under the scheme and the fund has collected more than Rs3.84 billion so far.
In a bid to attract employers and employees, the government recently introduced credit facilities for contributors to the social security scheme.
Every month, both employers and workers are required to contribute to the Social Security Fund. An amount equivalent to 31 percent of a worker’s basic salary—11 percent deducted from the worker’s monthly salary and 20 percent contributed by the employer— is deposited at the fund.
As per existing rules, it is also the employer’s responsibility to deposit the total amount— both employers’ and the workers’ share, at the fund. The secretariat also sends three reminders— on the first, seventh, and the fourteenth days of the Nepali month— to employers to submit their due premium on time.
“Despite frequent reminders, employers are found not to be depositing the amount within the given deadline,” said Panthee. “Now, we are also making arrangements to send similar alerts to enrolled employees.”
Workers are offered financial security under four categories of support—medical treatment, health protection, and maternity plan; accidents and disability plan; dependent family plan; and old-age security plan.
However, not paying the premium on time can have consequences for workers and deprive them of their promised facilities and perks under the scheme.
For accessing facilities under accidents and disability plan and dependent family security plan, the monthly contribution has to be made on the stipulated time.
“If the contribution can not be made within the given timeframe, 15-20 days extension can be provided for exception cases if only the employer informs the secretariat. But that has not happened,” said Panthee. “We have rather seen cases when payment has come after the accident has happened.”
Employers not making the payment for accidents and disability plans and dependent family security plan affect not only workers if they meet any accidents or dies in accidental or occupational accidents but also dependent family members.
If such a situation arises, when employers have not made a timely contribution but workers are entitled to facilities as mentioned in the social security scheme, it will be the responsibility of the employer to provide financial coverage to the workers.
“If there is no timely payment and something tragic happens, then employers can not run from their responsibility by depriving workers,” said Panthee. “In such circumstances, the employer must pay for all the services and the fund will not make the payment.”
For medical treatment, health protection and maternity plan, one month of delay doesn’t affect the prospect of accessing services if the contribution has been paid for the past three months consecutively. The worker will continue to get facilities for the next three months. Once the contribution is made for the next three months, the worker, once again, becomes eligible for facilities and services.
“We have also issued a notice so that employers make the regular payment every month,” said Panthee. “But we urge the employers to make the payment on time so that workers are not deprived of any facilities.”