Contributions from self-employed to be mandatory soon, says Socso

PETALING JAYA: Self-employed workers in all job sectors will soon have to contribute to the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme, says the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

Its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said the mandatory contribution would be introduced in stages in all sectors especially those with higher risk such as transportation, agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, fishing and the arts.

ALSO READ: Budget 2023: Govt to bear 80% of Socso contributions for gig economy workers

“The initiative will involve strategic collaboration between Socso and regulatory agencies such as the Road Transport Department, Muda Agricultural Development Authority, the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia, National Entrepreneur Group Development Fund (Tekun), National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (Finas), local authorities and others,” he said in a statement.

Azman said as of Sept 28, a total of 562,797 self-employed individuals had registered under the scheme.

He said the government will bear 80% of the scheme's contribution for those who register.

The government would also continue to provide full contributions to self-employed workers serving as volunteers in the public sector such as the Civil Defence Force and the People's Volunteer Corps (Rela).

Meanwhile, to address the national unemployment rate, Azman said Sosco has been given a RM150mil allocation by the government to implement an Employment Incentive Programme that would create career opportunities for over 70,000 job seekers nationwide.

ALSO READ: Looking into gig workers’ needs high on ministry’s list

He said several new categories of employment were introduced, including: youths aged 18 to 30 who have been jobless for three months; job seekers in the ICT and digital sector; and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates.

“An incentive of RM600 to RM750 per month for three months will be given to employers who hire employees from target groups such as women, persons with disabilities, former prisoners, military retirees, indigenous people and tourism sector workers.

“We also introduce a new category in which the elderly can be appointed by government-linked companies (GLCs) for the purpose of sharing their experiences and to allow them to generate income,” he said.

The employment initiative also allows employers to replace foreign workers with locals through the Malaysianisation programme, he added.

Azman said job seekers who find placement under the hiring incentive programme could seek mobility aid, with RM500 financial assistance given to those who find a job outside of their home state and RM1,000 to those travelling from Sabah or Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia, and vice versa.

ALSO READ: Budget 2023: Stimulate gig economy, protect p-hailing industry

Azman said Socso is also looking to expand its MYFutureJobs satellite centres at Urban Transformation Centres (UTC) nationwide.

Socso and the Human Resource Development Corporation (HRD Corp) will also establish a National Placement Centre in the Klang Valley to act as a one-stop centre and lifelong learning centre for the purpose of giving graduates exposure to the current labour market.

“The centre will adopt the concept of “experiential learning” which also offers job matching services and provide recommendations based on the employee’s skill gap,” he said.

Azman said Sosco is also responsible for performing health screening for workers.

“The programme (Socso Health Screening programme) aims to provide early detection of non-communicable disease and to allow for early action for employee health care.

ALSO READ: Socso coverage for three million housewives

“Through this programme, Socso contributors aged 40 and above who are eligible will have the opportunity to undergo health screening.

“The government allocation of RM80mil through Budget 2023 allows the programme to be improved by offering additional screenings to detect or prevent critical diseases including diabetes, kidney and liver ailments, and cancer.

“Women will also get additional screenings such as mammograms and pap smear tests to identify the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer,” he said, adding that the initiative will benefit 2.3 million workers.

When tabling Budget 2023 on Friday (Oct 7), Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said it would be compulsory for self-employed workers to contribute to Socso, especially in high-risk sectors.

This was to safeguard the welfare of those in the self-employed sector, including gig economy workers.

Following the announcement of the dissolution of Parliament on Monday (Oct 10), the Budget will be retabled after the formation of the next government.

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