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Worker insurance near

The government’s long-pledged health insurance scheme for private sector employees, including factory workers, is just around the corner, officials promised yesterday while refusing to name a more specific date.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Labour held a public forum on the insurance plan, which is expected to cover some 800,000 employees.

“We have already prepared the subdecree,” said Som Sophorn, deputy director of the National Social Security Fund. “It will be compulsory and will start later this year, beginning first with the factories around Phnom Penh and then moving step by step beyond the city.”

Currently, the fund covers only workplace-related illnesses and injuries, and takes a 0.8 per cent tax from workers’ salaries for the service, according to the ministry.

The new health insurance scheme is set to operate similarly, splitting a tax between employer and employee.

But Moeun Tola of the legal NGO CLEC said it “should be exclusively paid for by the employer; the employees already pay taxes”.

Garment manufacturing association spokesman Ken Loo said insurance is “an obligation we will comply with”.

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