Over the past three years, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has provided more than 87 billion riel in childbirth subsidies to 210,000 women across the country, according to Heng Sophannarith, director of NSSF’s policy division.
Sophannirath said despite the fact that Cambodia has dealt with the Covid-19 crisis this year, disbursement of benefits to women under the programme has been unaffected.
He told The Post on December 7 that, in the previous month, from November 1-30, NSSF subsidies amounted to more than 2.8 billion riel for 7,014 women. Figures for October were slightly higher. Those numbers did not include women who are civil servants.
He said the public is now well aware of the service and its process and importance.
Moch Channary, a company employee in Phnom Penh, received the subsidy when giving birth three months earlier. It was important, she said, as it greatly reduced her expenses.
“During the delivery period, I used the NSSF card and received the same care as those who did not. I received 400,000 riel and the 70 per cent maternity allowance by applying to the NSSF office,” she said.
After applying for benefits, Channary said she received notifications from the NSSF informing her that the funds were available. The process took only about two weeks each time.
“We could get the money at partner banks or get a cheque from the NSSF. Overall, we covered many expenses by using this NSSF card,” she said.
Free Trade Union deputy secretary-general Yung Leap lauded the government’s support, saying it helped ease women’s burdens at a critical time. Women are entitled to 400,000 riel per child – or 800,000 riel for twins, she explained.
“Separately, female workers can apply to receive a maternity stipend of 70 per cent of prior wages after giving birth,” Leap said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen implemented the programme in 2018 to provide cash support to all women in labour. Female workers in both formal and informal employment sectors are encouraged to register with the NSSF to receive the per-child benefits.
The NSSF said that in order to receive additional maternity allowances from the government, female workers must come to the NSSF office throughout the country at least three months before giving birth to complete the registration forms. They should bring a pregnancy test certificate stating their due date of delivery, an NSSF membership card or Health Equity Fund card, a Cambodian identity card and a clear contact number.