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September 23, 2019

“Social security basic norms covered in the 2012 Social Security Law are mostly adequate and meet the present requirement”:

(Continued from previous article issued on 13 December)

National Project Coordinator Officer: We may have to review the 2012 Social Security Law, and if and when needed we would amend as may deem appropriate. Among the three social security systems, we are now implementing two systems of social security, and that the other one is still remaining to be implemented.
The ILO has suggested Myanmar government and the Social Security Board to wait for a short period on the scheme namely family social security system. It does not necessarily mean to halt and stopped the agenda, but to make a review over the Social Security Law in which what rules are actually getting the social security benefits and which rules virtually appropriate with the requirements of the workers. We asked to make a review. We need to replace some points with (15) categories of benefits under the two social security systems. When we analyzed into the (15) categories, they stand out as health care benefit and cash allowance benefits.
For an ill worker, he or she is entitled to take treatment at the clinic or at the hospital. If the worker is not capable to engage at the work, it is not necessary to go to the clinic or to the hospital. The worker may take a break and rest at home and enjoy the cash benefit.
In such situation, the family members are not included. The worker himself is getting benefits one sided. In the international security system, the one household head has the privilege in sharing health care for wife and kids when they are sick. If we consider and review such aspects, the workers in our country could have more social security.
Currently, we have (1.2) million workers under the social security coverage and network, and that they might have at least (2) family members in their household, totaling the number of people to (2.5) million. If we could amend the social security system, a total of (2.5) million people would come under the net entitled to enjoy benefits.
This idea has been suggested by the ILO for consideration, but at the same time we have to contemplate whether we are prepared and ready to facilitate such social coverage to (2.5) million people.
We have (100) social security clinics functioning with (77) social security board branch offices in (110) townships across the country. We are facing many difficulties such as that of providing enough health care; that of insufficient doctors; that of problems on inadequate clinics; that of remote and far away location of the clinics from the factories and mills. With these in the backdrops, we need to consider and prepare in advance on the side of the social security board before we could loop them into the system. In this regards, the ILO is providing assistance as much as possible.
Another factor is found to be satisfactory on the accident compensation cash benefits of the workers who sustained injuries at the worksite or during the travel to and from the worksites. These benefits include the accidents during the travel to and from the worksites.
In this regards, the employers are providing one per cent on behalf of the workers, and therefore, it tantamount to the fact that the travel to and from the sites is meant for the interest of the employers. Looking through the international norms, the common stipulations of the nations have many faceted such as long term benefits; physically disabled benefits; total rest for three to six months; one year rest; and lifelong benefits.
The cash benefits are given out on monthly basis; in installment basis; but not on lump sum basis. It is due to the reason; when the cash is being received in hand what would happen the next day is unpredictable. The aim and objective of the Social Security Board is to make the worker to be secured on the income. It is with the intent to make them to live in dignity for the rest of their life, and therefore, we never provide lump sum cash to the workers.
These factors are to be considered and reviewed together among the ILO, the employers, the workers, and the government. On the part of the ILO, we need to design the management in the framework of autonomy to enable to stand on our own. It is because of the reason that the Social Security Board has the duty and responsibility in providing service and the security of income.
Despite we have desire to provide full benefits, we have many limitations. Before we spend the budget, we need in seeking authorization for the expenditure, and that we encountered difficulty when the budget is downsized. We are trying to address the issues at our best.
Moreover, the funds for the workers benefits come from the employers and the workers themselves. The social security system is being managed by the Social Security Board and that when the board has more authority of management, the benefits would flow in much faster speed and tempo.
Moreover, the ILO would like to suggest that cost of living condition in the country should be reviewed periodically from two to three years with a view to increasing the benefits of the workers.
Director-General: With a view to apply the successful implementation of the social security project, the national level board has been formed with (20) members chaired by the Union Minster, where policy guidelines are being adopted. The implementation of work program is being carried out by the Executive Committee, which is assisted by Medical Advisory Team.
Moreover, we have office of the court of appeal for judgment on cases of settling argument or disagreement on workers affairs.
Another point that I would like to take up as main issue is about the (116) townships where (31,119) work organizations are established, with (12, 54,000) employees. Their health care and cash benefits are being taken care of. The social security benefits are not static and stagnant, as we are cooperating with the international organizations, and that we are working with the ILO very closely as we are the member of the organization.
We are working in full swing in accordance with the ILO convention, the international norms, and also the with the social security bench marks. I would like to add that Myanmar is also a member of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) in 1957, and also member of South-East Asia Social Security Association in 2015 where Myanmar linked up with them in the exchange of technical cooperation and exchange of information.
ILO Representative: Myanmar Social Security Organization is a member of international organization, as well as member of ASEAN, and also committed and involved with the Convention 102 of the ILO. Social security basic norms covered in the 2012 Social Security Law of Myanmar are mostly adequate and meet the present requirement, and even surpassed in some prescribed norms.
For example the cash benefit law allowed (50) per cent of benefits, but in Myanmar it has been providing up to (60) and (70) per cent of benefits. In many countries in the world, the workers who failed or stopped to pay contribution of social security share are no more entitled the social security benefits, but in Myanmar the worker are provided with (50) per cent benefits even after the retirement, which could be termed as excellent.
However, some factors are not in line with the current trend. If and when we could address and amend the law, the existing 2012 Social Security Law could be termed as internationally high standard law. At that time, Myanmar would be ready in a position to sign the Convention 102 which would be very much beneficial to the country. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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