Better protection at the workplace

Good initiative: Personal driver Faridzuan, who is registered under Socso, cleaning his boss Kishin’s car in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians who employ local or foreign domestic workers must register them under the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

Enforced under the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 (Act 4), the requirement came into force on June 1 with registration opened to employers and employees on June 16.

Named the Social Security Coverage Expansion for Domestic Workers, the contribution rates are to be proportionate with the workers’ salary.

Based on data from Socso, 104,400 domestic workers comprising 15,000 Malaysian citizens and permanent residents (PR), and 89,400 foreign migrants, will benefit from the initiative.

Domestic workers include maids, nannies, caregivers, personal drivers, gardeners, bodyguards, house security guards, cooks and helpers hired to perform a variety of household services.

Under the Act, Malaysian domestic workers and those with PR status are covered under the Employment Injury Scheme and Invalidity Scheme, which alleviates the burden of medical expenses facing both employers and affected workers.

They are also covered under the Employees’ Insurance System Act 2017 (Act 800) in the case of job loss.

As for foreign domestic workers, they are only covered under the Employment Injury Scheme.

Foreign domestic workers who are employed by foreigners in the country are not entitled to this coverage.

Employers may face compounds for failure to register their domestic workers under the Acts and upon conviction, face a maximum penalty of two years’ jail and RM10,000 fine.

Socso chief executive Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said employers who hire new domestic workers are given 30 days from the employment date to register with Socso.

“However, domestic workers who are covered under any existing commercial insurance policy related to employment injury and invalidity for Malaysian citizens, PR or Temporary Resident (TR), as well as employment injury for foreign citizens are granted a cooling off period until the expiration of the insurance policy or May 31 next year, whichever is sooner.

“If the expiration of the existing insurance policy is after May 31, 2022, it is compulsory for employers to register and contribute to Socso starting from June 1, 2022,” he told The Star.

Due to the national lockdown,

he said employers could do a full online registration through Socso’s Assist Portal without having to physically attend any of the application processes.

“All relevant forms are available on and subsequently, contribution payments can be done online via the Assist Portal,” he said.

“The extension of social security coverage to domestic workers under Socso not only recognises domestic workers’ contribution to the economy, but also accords domestic workers similar social security protection as formal sector workers in Malaysia, in terms of workplace accidents or occupational diseases.”Mohammed Azman said the coverage was not only beneficial to workers but bosses too.

“If a domestic worker is involved in a workplace accident, Socso does not only cover the medical costs but also provides a replacement of income (in terms of temporary or permanent disability benefits) if he or she cannot perform duties for a prolonged period.

“This will take the burden off the employer’s shoulders,” he said.

With encouraging response from the public who have been making inquiries since earlier this month, Socso is undertaking a multi-pronged approach to reach out to employers, focusing on institutional engagement as well as mass and social media.

“This is a positive indicator that employers and domestic workers are receptive towards the scheme and keen to be protected.

“We target by June 1 next year, all domestic workers will be registered under Socso,” said Mohammed Azman.

Businessman Jai Kishin, 54, from Kuala Lumpur said he would certainly register his foreign maid under the scheme in her best interest.

“This is a very good initiative. It shows that in Malaysia, we are taking care of our domestic workers, who also include foreigners.

“This is something new and I’m sure many of us will be happy to contribute so that the welfare of our workers is taken care of,” said Kishin, who also employs a local driver, Faridzuan Zainal, under his company’s payroll.

Technopreneur Chong Ming Huei, 41, said such protection for domestic workers was long overdue, considering their long hours and wide job scope.

“My family once hired a repairman to work on some long-term maintenance and renovation work in our house for over nine months. It was not a requirement then but I made sure to contribute to Socso for him.

“It is common sense that workers must be protected at work so that the burden of any possible mishap would not be an issue later,” he said.

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