Government once again asks companies and workers to enrol under social security schemeAs response to the scheme has remained sluggish even after two years of its rollout, the government is considering taking strict action against employers do not comply.
After making several changes in the Contribution-based Social Security Scheme, the government has once again asked companies and workers to get enrolled under the scheme.
The Social Security Fund Secretariat, which manages the fund and is responsible for the implementation of the scheme, through a notice, has called the employers and their employees to register within this fiscal year.
“The secretariat has been constantly issuing notices and reaching out to the general public to encourage enrolment,” Bibek Panthee, a spokesperson with the Social Security Fund Secretariat, told the Post.
Earlier, there had been some concerns regarding the scheme and its benefits, causing hesitancy among companies and their employees to sign up for the scheme.
“With the new changes in scheme, most of the concerns have been addressed. We have issued the notice to inform the companies and workers about the new changes,” said Panthee.
In its more than two years of implementation, the scheme, which requires monthly contributions from both employers and employees for providing various coverage to workers, has seen a sluggish response so far.
But Panthee said the social security scheme, which has been rolled out for formal private sector workers, will be strictly enforced this time.
“Those companies or employers that do not join the scheme within this fiscal year will be liable to consequences,” he added.
According to him, companies failing to join the scheme will face actions, such as denial of company’s operation licence renewal, freezing of bank accounts and properties, and passport confiscation.
“The board meeting of the secretariat had also thought of creating the momentum towards increasing registration before we start taking actions for noncompliance,” Panthee said. “We are giving some time before we head into strict compliance. We spent last year on promotion of the scheme. We even provided relief to employers because the economy was hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The secretariat has also decided to amp up the monitoring of employers who have not yet enrolled under the scheme and take action against them.
“So far, compliance to the social security scheme has been weaker also because the government was liberal as implementing the social security scheme can take several years. Now, there will be some provisions coming through the federal budget regarding the actions to be taken against employers,” Panthee said.
“The social security scheme will be strictly enforced if employers do not register within the stipulated time. Such companies will not be allowed to take part in the bidding process too.”
Under the scheme, an amount equivalent to 31 percent of the worker’s basic salary—11 percent deducted from the worker’s monthly salary and 20 percent contributed by the employer—must be deposited to the social security fund.
For their contribution, workers are offered financial security under four categories—medical treatment, health protection, and maternity plan; accidents and disability plan; dependent family plan; and old-age security plan.
The government made massive changes in the Social Security Scheme Operating Procedures, 2018 in February to widen the scope of coverage for beneficiaries and making it easier to access the facilities available under the scheme.
“With the second amendment, we expect everyone to enrol under the scheme,” Panther said.
He added that the latest notice should not be seen as just another call for enrolment, noting that all employers should have enrolled and registered their employees within the first six months of the scheme’s launch.
“Considering the information about new changes might take some time to reach out to all, we have given three months time so that the concerned companies and workers can register before this fiscal year’s end,” Panthee said.
As of March 8, 13,686 employers and 197,165 employees have enrolled under the scheme which was rolled out in November 2018.