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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fake IDs prompt call for NSSF re-registry

Garment workers make clothing at a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2014.
Garment workers make clothing at a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2014. Pha Lina

Fake IDs prompt call for NSSF re-registry

The Ministry of Labour on Monday said it will require private institutions, such as factories, to re-register for health insurance under the expansion of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) due to challenges stemming from workers using someone else’s identification cards and providing incorrect information.

The ministry, in a statement, said it noticed problems with workers “borrowing” the identity card of someone else; providing the wrong name and gender; and specifying the incorrect place of birth and age.

It added that employers and employees won’t face penalties, but instructed employers to take action to prevent the errors from happening again.

Union and labour rights officials yesterday said the practice of using others’ IDs is common in Cambodia.

Moeun Tola, executive director of labour rights group Central, said not many people have ID cards or birth certificates because they often run into difficulties navigating the process or can’t afford them. But there’s no figure on how many workers might be using fakes.

“It’s common, especially in the rural areas, for people to use someone else’s ID,” he said.

Under a new scheme, workers’ contribution of 1.3 per cent of their gross monthly salary will be matched by employers under the NSSF expansion to provide health insurance. NSSF previously only provided workplace injury insurance.

Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said parties are now working to correct the discrepancies, noting that under the Labour Law, an employee can be disciplined if they provide false information. But in this case, “nobody will be punished”.

More than 100,000 workers had already been registered for health insurance, Thorn added.

“Issuance of social security card with correct personal information is very important when it comes to claims – the insured, the beneficiaries and future pension fund,” Kaing Monika, deputy secretary-general at the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said yesterday. He added that using someone else’s ID doesn’t necessarily mean workers are underage.

However, it is believed to be a fairly widespread practice.

Under the Labour Law, workers aged 15 to 17 can only work half a day, but one 18-year-old garment worker, who asked to remain anonymous, yesterday told the Post she started working full time at 15. “I used my sister’s birth certificate when my auntie, who was working there, begged for a job for me,” she said.

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