2016 and 2017 have seen significant developments in Cambodia with respect to social security, which have provided additional responsibilities for employers and benefits for employees.
By Chris Robinson and Samnangvathana Sor, DFDL
In recent months, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (“MLVT”), Ministry of Economy and Finance (“MEF”) and Ministry of Health (“MOH”) have issued various ministerial regulations (Prakas) concerning implementation of the health care insurance scheme, one of the three pillars covered by the National Social Security Fund (“NSSF”).
Health equity scheme
Prakas 404 extends the health care scheme through a health equity fund for informal workers (those who have entered into an employment contract to work for a period not exceeding eight hours per week and also casual workers) and provides additional allowances for both ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ female workers upon the birth of a child. These benefits are funded through the State budget and have been in force since 1 January 2018.
The ‘health equity fund system’ refers to a funding mechanism for social health protection provided to a targeted group of citizens, allowing them to benefit from free health care at local public health centres funded by the Government.
According to this Prakas, employers (including organisations that engage labour contractors) must register their employees with the NSSF regardless of whether they are regular or casual workers. In order for female employees to receive the additional childbirth allowances, they must report the pregnancy to the NSSF within three months prior to the birth of the child, or within one month after the birth at the very latest.
Prakas 448 requires enterprises employing one or more employees to register the enterprise and its employees with the NSSF. This amends the previous regulation which only applied to enterprises with eight or more employees. Enterprises that were already in operation but were yet to register with the NSSF were required to do so by 31 December 2017. Those enterprises established after issuance of Prakas 448 must register with the NSSF within 30 days of commencing commercial operations. Enterprises that have already registered with the NSSF for the occupational risk and health care schemes are not required to re-register with the NSSF. Additionally, enterprises must register new employees with the NSSF no more than three days after the commencement of their employment. However, this does not include employees already in possession of a valid NSSF membership card.
Prakas 449 requires all newly registered enterprises to contribute required payments to the NSSF within 30 days from the date of obtaining the certificate from the NSSF. Employers must then make monthly contributions to both the occupational risk scheme and health care scheme no later than the 15th day of the following month. Once registered, each enterprise must pay monthly contributions to the NSSF based on the employees’ salaries ranging from USD 0.40 to USD 2.4 per employee for the occupational risk scheme and between USD 1.30 to USD 7.80 per employee for the health care scheme.
Overall, these new developments in social security greatly increase the responsibility of companies, whilst providing more benefits to employees. In light of these on-going developments, it is recommended that companies observe and strictly comply with the recent regulations. The NSSF pension scheme has yet to be implemented, although it is being assessed closely by the NSSF and is expected to enter into force in coming years.