PERSATUAN Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) calls on all employers of local and migrant domestic workers to register their employees with the Social Security Organisation (Socso) immediately because by mid-2022, when Socso commences its enforcement of this new extension plan, payments will have to be backdated to June 2021.
PSWS, which works closely with local and migrant domestic workers, also urges 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 homes.
However, domestic workers whose employers ferry them from house to house – as with an on-call cleaning service – are considered employees of an agency and will be viewed as workers and not domestic workers by Socso.
Nevertheless, they too are eligible for Socso coverage.
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 their 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 Human Resources Ministry to embark on an awareness campaign to encourage employers to see the benefits of registering their domestic workers for Socso coverage.
PSWS also urges all domestic workers to ensure that they have a written agreement with their employers, so even if their 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 Socso coverage is compulsory, employers will not be able to replace one domestic worker with 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 on their way to or back home from work.
This is an important milestone for workers in a sector that is predominantly made up of 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, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri 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)