Moving towards a more resilient labour market

Mohammed Azman says Socso is ramping up efforts to adapt legal frameworks to ensure coverage for workers in all forms of employment.

AN average of 5,811 loss of employment (LOE) cases per month have been registered in the country, reveals the Human Resources Ministry.

Its minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said as of August this year, the job loss figure stood at 40,680 cases.

The national job portal, MyFutureJobs, has so far recorded 1.29 million vacancies from 21 sectors, and 564,830 active jobseekers having registered on this portal, with 196,471 successful placements having taken place,.

He also said that for jobseekers this was the time to grab the opportunity to get hired and benefit from government incentives managed by the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

Saravanan was speaking at the launch of virtual International Public Employment Forum (IPEF) 2021, held from Sept 6 to 9.

Socso, the forum organiser, is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an organisation that provided a social safety net for Malaysians.

Its organising committee ran three simultaneous virtual events under IPEF 2021, namely the International Public Employment Services Symposium, Socso’s Regional Return to Work Digimos Symposium 2021 and MYFutureJobs Career Expo 2021.

The two virtual symposiums under IPEF 2021 offered a platform to participants to share experiences, ideas and best practices with the aim of rebuilding the economy and the labour market post-Covid-19, as well as to address disability management in the new normal.

Another event was its mega job fair that listed over 25,000 job vacancies in multinational corporations as well as small and medium enterprises.

Saravanan said Socso’s Employment Insurance System Office had been closely monitoring the trend of LOE on a daily basis to provide protection to those who lost their jobs.

He said agencies under the ministry, including Socso, were called upon to assist workers and employers by way of incentives and programmes.

Under the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih), the flagship of the government’s programmes to address new challenges arising from the pandemic, Socso was tasked with implementing schemes such as Wage Subsidy Programme 4.0, PenjanaKerjaya 3.0, KerjayaGig and SIP Prihatin 2.0, which are targeted at employers, employees, jobseekers and the self-employed.

Every problem required carefully thought-out strategies and planning towards a solution, he added.

“The issues facing the world today have prompted Malaysia to create a resilient labour market to meet future challenges.

“There is also a need to strengthen the current labour market and continuously upgrade the evidence-based policies for better social security protection based on rapid response scenarios, whether it is related to health, employment or social protection response.

“Therefore, let us strategise viable solutions for the issues of employment and social protection in the country.

“This is crucial given the labour market is one of the important components of the nation’s economy.”

Saravanan hoped that IPEF 2021’s deliberations and recommendations would be carried through to become policies of the future for the betterment of not only the Malaysian workforce but also the world.

In his welcoming remarks, Socso chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said, “The IPEF 2021 is organised with the hope that participants will acquire new knowledge, prepare the workforce for a post-Covid-19 employment landscape, explore opportunities of the future labour market, cater for the unemployed and build positive relationships among employees with Socso.”

In his presentation titled Re-strategising Social Protection towards an Efficient Labour Market, Azman said Socso was ramping up efforts to adapt legal frameworks to ensure coverage for workers in all forms of employment.

These efforts included improving protection for informal workers through proposed amendments to the legislative act.

“Already in the pipeline is extending employment protection for self-employed individuals under the Employment Insurance Act 2017.

“The Employment Insurance System (EIS) will provide a form of income replacement for the self-employed when the business is closed or (there is) loss of income.

“To ensure successful implementation of the legislative coverage on informal workers, coherent control is required consisting of enforcement and compliance.

“The process calls for Socso’s systematic settings and arrangements within the organisation as well as external collaborative measures to consistently execute both measures.

“For example, automatic enrolment along with renewal of licences issued by other regulatory bodies in the country is an application of smart enforcement to ensure informal workers are protected.”

He observed that given the dynamic features of the self-employed, it is also important to align services based on individual needs.

“It is clear that the self-employed varies in terms of volatile earnings, diverse needs, and contribution capacities.

“Therefore, it is crucial for Socso to look into other strategic solutions as a one-size-fits-all approach may be less relevant in addressing the Digital Platform Economy (DPE) target group.”

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