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Compulsory to register domestic workers with Socso
Published on: Sunday, July 25, 2021
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Credit: deskera.com
Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) advised all employers of local and migrant domestic workers to register their employees with the Social Security Organisation (Socso) immediately. 

This is because by mid next year when Socso commences its enforcement of this new extension plan, payments would have to be backdated to June 2021.

PSWS, who works closely with local and migrant domestic workers, is also urging all domestic workers in Malaysia, including documented migrant domestic workers and part-time local domestic workers to start speaking to their respective employers, to get registered.

Local domestic workers who work on a schedule for numerous employers in one week, will also be eligible for Socso coverage as each of their employers will register them for social security protection in case of work related mishaps in their respective homes.

However, domestic workers, whose employers ferry them from house to house like an on-call cleaning service, who predominantly are migrants, are considered as employees of an agency and will be viewed as workers and not domestic workers by Socso. Nevertheless, they too are eligible for Socso coverage as migrant workers.

It has been close to two months since Socso coverage was extended to domestic workers and PSWS has received many complaints from local domestic workers whose employers have threatened to terminate their services, should they press for their Socso registration. Fearing this threat, some have not even broached the subject with employers. According to Socso, domestic workers cannot register themselves and will need their employers to do so for them.

“It is for this reason that it is very important for Socso and the Ministry of Human Resources (MoHR) to embark on an awareness campaign to encourage employers to see the benefits of registering their domestic workers for the Socso coverage,” it said in a statement. 

PSWS also urged all domestic workers to ensure that they have a written agreement with their employers, so even if their respective employers are reluctant to register them, a Socso claim can still be made should there be a work related mishap, just by showing proof of employment or engagement of services. The domestic worker will also need to prove that the mishap took place during the time of work or during travel to or from work.

Since the Socso coverage is compulsory, employers will not be able to replace one domestic worker for another as all domestic workers are eligible.

The employers’ Socso contribution is very minimal, especially because domestic workers’ wages are very low. Many still earn less than the minimum wage as the law continues to explicitly deny domestic workers entitlement to the minimum wage.

Therefore, employers have no reason to deny workers their right to social protection when at work or even on their way to or back home from work.

This is an important milestone for workers in a sector that is predominantly women who have never, in the 63 years of the country’s independence, had a safety net that will take care of them if they were to get hurt or injured while carrying out their work.

Domestic workers in Malaysia fall into the informal sector that makes the nature of their work and wages precarious because Malaysian law has never recognised them fully as workers who deserve the same rights as all other workers in the country.

In April this year, the Minister of Human Resources (MoHR), M. Saravanan issued a new regulation to the Employees Social Security Act 1969 (Act 4) and Employment Insurance System Act 2017 (Act 800) that would allow Socso to extend its coverage to domestic workers, without having to change the law.

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) is a non-governmental organisation that has been committed to the concerns and interest of women workers as well as to the larger issues of democracy, justice and equality in the Malaysian society, since 1984. 

 



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