Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng said the government has focused on ensuring the welfare and provision of social protections, most recently through the launch of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) pension scheme for the private sector under the provisions of the Labour Law.

Samheng made the remarks during the opening ceremony of an ASEAN Workshop on “Sharing Social Security Funds in Health Care and Pensions for Self-Employed Persons”, held in Siem Reap on November 3.

The workshop was organised to provide an opportunity for ASEAN member states to learn from each other’s successes, challenges, solutions and experiences, while implementing their respective social security funds.

“The social security fund that the government has implemented will provide financial protection to citizens working in the private sector in their old age, as well as public officials. In the future, it will be extended to people living near the poverty line and those working in the informal economy.

He said that both the formal and informal economies have contributed significantly to national economic growth. According to statistics from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), small and medium enterprises represent the majority of businesses around the world.

He said that in ASEAN, small and medium enterprises accounted for about 97 per cent of the total enterprises in the region. They employed around 60 per cent of the workforce, which reflects that the importance of these enterprises in the economic development of ASEAN member states.

He also shared his pleasure at the news that “ASEAN’s statement on Social Security Fund Mobility for Migrant Workers in the region”, was approved by the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Council on October 13.

The statement was an initiative that was led by Cambodia, in its position as ASEAN Chair 2022.

He said the statement has been submitted to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits for approval and proclamation in November.

Deductions for pension contributions for individuals under the provisions of the Labour Law were implemented in October, with a contribution of 4 per cent being deducted from salaries at the beginning of the following month.

Heng Sophannarith, deputy director-general of the NSSF, said that as of the beginning of October, 1,466,725 workers in more than 13,300 enterprises in the existing NSSF system will be obligated to make these contributions. In 2008, the labour ministry introduced the occupational risk fund and in 2021, this project was launched for public officials.

In 2016, the government launched health care insurance for private sector workers, and in 2018, it launched a 24-hour health insurance program for public officials. In general, both workers and public officials have the same social security coverage.