At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday, the Council of Ministers approved a draft law on expanding the scope of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to cover pensions.
The law is of immense importance, particularly in providing greater protections for women, Hun Sen said on Facebook on Saturday.
“The government will continue to provide workers with greater protection and further benefits to ensure they have better lives,” the prime minister said.
The draft law aims to expand the social security fund according to the principles of solidarity and equality and comprises four parts – pensions, healthcare, health and safety at work, and unemployment benefit.
The composition of the law is designed to improve the livelihoods of workers, allowing them to live with greater dignity. This includes workers in the public sector and those who come under the labour law, including housemaids, flight attendants, ship crews and the self-employed.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post on Sunday that passing the law was a top priority, with it to be forwarded to the National Assembly next week.
“The law is needed and is under the direction of Prime Minister Hun Sen. When passed, its application will be made according to the law, with those who fail to apply it being in the wrong,” he said.
He also called on the media to conduct campaigns to help in the law’s effective implementation.
Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (Central) programme coordinator Khun Tharo told The Post on Sunday that he applauded the content of the draft law, with workers in the informal sector, including maids, having been incorporated.
However, he said its scope should be expanded to include workers in all sectors. He also raised concerns over the effective application of the law when it comes into effect.
“When the law is passed, those eligible will pay contributions into the fund so transparent governance is required to ensure they receive the services they have paid for,” Tharo said.
A lack of details on the law’s effective governance, particularly guaranteeing its sustainability, was of concern, he said.
However, he said it was positive that the social security fund was being expanded. Compared with neighbouring countries, Cambodia had lagged in its provision of healthcare and health and safety at work, with the scope now extended to cover pensions.
To be complete, the unemployed should also be included in the NSSF, he said.
The participation of the public and private sectors, the government, workers and employers were needed to ensure the transparent and effective application of the NSSF body’s mandate, Tharo said.
Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached by The Post for comment on Sunday.