Workers seek pension relief

Workers seek pension relief

Want fund tapped to ease virus hardship

Securing support: More than 250 security guards whose contracts ended on April 30 queue to register with their company’s representatives to see what benefits they are entitled to. The guards gathered at the Government Complex building on Chaeng Watthana Road where they had also been working. (Photo by Pronprom Sattabraya)
Securing support: More than 250 security guards whose contracts ended on April 30 queue to register with their company’s representatives to see what benefits they are entitled to. The guards gathered at the Government Complex building on Chaeng Watthana Road where they had also been working. (Photo by Pronprom Sattabraya)

Cash-strapped workers staged a May Day rally at the Labour Ministry yesterday demanding the Social Security Office (SSO) release 30% of contributions they have made to a pension fund as they desperately need the money.

They said they want the money released immediately as many of them are now unemployed and have no income due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Boon Arayapon, leader of the group, said despite the fund stipulating pension benefits would not be made available until they turned 55, the unprecedented situation brought about by the pandemic made it necessary for some of their money to be released now.

He said the SSO, which administers the fund should release 30% of the money that workers have contributed as a relief measure.

"Many people cannot wait till they are 55 under the present circumstances. Some have been made unemployed. Others have had their salaries and overtime pay cut as businesses struggle," he said.

The workers' demand was received by Duangrit Benjatikulchairungreung, an aide to the labour minister, who promised to table the demand at the next SSO board meeting.

Mr Duangrit said that the ministry is now working hard to help subscribers to the social security scheme who have lost their jobs due to outbreak.

"People insured under the social security scheme who have been affected by Covid-19 will be compensated, regardless of whether or not their workplaces were ordered to be closed by the government," he said.

Under Section 33 of the Social Security Act, people forced to stop working will be given 62% of their daily wages based on a maximum monthly salary of 15,000 baht for a maximum of 90 days.

"About 1.1 million have applied for compensation. Three million have already been compensated and 200,000 more will be compensated on May 3," he said.

According to the SSO, those affected by Covid-19 can apply for the compensation by filling out a form at www.sso.go.th/eform_news/, or filling out a printed version and posting or faxing it to their local social security office.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday praised all Thai workers for being an important cog in the country's economy and promised to improve welfare and rights protection schemes for both formal and casual workers.

He also urged workers to improve their skills to match market demand and prepare themselves for work after Covid-19.

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