All members of the public may now be able to access social security following the promulgation of new legislation.
President Choummaly Sayasone recently issued a presidential ordinance announcing the new law after the National Assembly approved the bill in July last year.
The law expands the government’s social security scheme to cover the whole of society, including those who are self-employed and those who volunteer to participate in the scheme, unlike two previous prime ministerial decrees that only afforded limited coverage.
Decree No 70 covered social insurance for state employees and their immediate family members only, while Decree No 207 only granted social insurance to employees of private enterprises.
The new law is part of the government’s effort to double social security coverage to 50 percent of the entire population by 2015. The government, employers, employees and those who volunteer to participate in the social security scheme are obliged to make financial contributions to the national social insurance fund.
Under the law, a state employee is required to contribute 8 percent of his or her overall income every month to the insurance scheme, while the government contributes 8.5 percent.
An employee within a private enterprise is required to pay 5.5 percent of his or her income every month, while the employer contributes a further 6 percent of the employee’s income.
But the law does not specify how much the government should contribute or subsidise for individuals who choose to participate in the social security scheme and what percentage they should pay themselves.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare’s Social Insurance Department Director General, Dr Yangkou Yangleuxay, said a prime ministerial decree would be drawn up to define the percentage both the government and the individuals should contribute to the social security fund.
“We will work out the decree within this year,” Dr Yangkou said. “A number of members of the public have expressed interest in joining the scheme.”
He said officials were proposing that the decree should mandate that the government contribute half as much to the fund as the individuals.
The exact amount remains unclear and will be discussed later in the drafting process before a final draft is submitted to cabinet for approval.
The government decided to expand coverage of the state-subsidised social security scheme to allow the general public to benefit from the country’s growing economy.
According to the law the social security scheme covers seven categories, including healthcare, mothers of newborn children and those who have miscarried, work-related accidents, disease and disabilities, retirement, death and joblessness.
Immediate family members of those who sign up to the scheme will also benefit.
Government employees, private company employees and individuals who sign up to the scheme will each be covered by the categories that apply to them under the law.
Source: Vientiane Times