The National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved the draft Law on Social Security Scheme, which consists of 11 chapters and 107 articles.
Passed by the Council of Ministers in early August, the bill was approved by all 105 members present at the assembly.
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng said during the assembly’s plenary session that the law aims to ensure equity, social solidarity and improvements to people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.
He said the law was important for those in both the public and private sectors, as well as the self-employed.
“The draft Law on Social Security Scheme aims to create social security in line with the principles of social solidarity and equity in four areas – pensions, healthcare, occupational risk and unemployment for people in the public sector, the private sector and those covered by the Labour Law, including airline, maritime and domestic workers, as well as the self-employed,” Sam Heng said.
He said the draft law had gone through numerous technical meetings within the ministry, as well as consultative workshops with experts and development partners – particularly employers and unions – before being submitted to the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly for approval.
He said the government had successfully implemented occupational risk and healthcare social security schemes for more than two million private sector and health service employees, current and former civil servants, and veterans.
The scheme, he said, also covered healthcare services through health equity funds for more than 700,000 workers in the informal economy, including cyclo and tuk-tuk operators, athletes, commune council officials and village chiefs.
Chheang Vun, the chairman of the National Assembly’s Commission on Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Information and Media, echoed Sam Heng’s remarks.
He said the law was important, especially for poor factory workers, as it would enable people to receive health treatment and pensions.
“The law is vital to resolving social issues. Every country that cares about the interests of its people, especially those with low incomes, adopts such a law to provide security for their wellbeing and livelihoods,” he said.
However, Vorn Pov, the president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), took issue with the draft law.
He said the government had not held in-depth discussions with the relevant civil society organisations before sending the draft law to the National Assembly for approval.
“The draft law was passed without discussions being held with all relevant civil society organisations and other stakeholders. In future, draft laws should be put up for broad discussions with the relevant parties before being approved,” Pov said.