Event staff can claim SSF benefits

Event staff can claim SSF benefits

The Labour Ministry says the law does allow employees of event-organising firms forced to suspend their operations because of the Covid-19 crisis to claim compensation from the Social Security Fund (SSF).

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said yesterday operators of such firms currently in the doldrums wrote to him and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha seeking state assistance for their employees who have now been laid off.

With bans on large gatherings in effect, conferences and functions have been cancelled and the firms' activities have ground to a halt. With income down to zero for months for many of them, firms have not been able to afford wages for their employees. Mr Suchart said the firms were desperate as they could no longer shoulder the expenses.

The minister said Gen Prayut earlier ordered the Social Security Office to review the law and find out if these employees were qualified to obtain compensatory assistance. Mr Suchart has now confirmed employees from event-organising firms are eligible to collect compensation from the fund.

The Event Management Association last week urged relevant agencies to implement measures including the government's 50% co-payment subsidy for the monthly salaries of their employees for the next 4-6 months, or until their businesses return to normal conditions and for the deferment of social security contributions from employers and workers for six months.

The association also insisted that for employers who have had to suspend their businesses, their employees should be entitled to unemployment benefits at a rate of 50-62% from the Social Security Fund.

Upathum Nisitsukcharoen, the association president, bemoaned the recently introduced restrictions, such as the closure of convention centres and hotels.

The ban on business operators from arranging events with 20 participants or more has left most organising companies in a financially difficult position. Moreover, the SSF's unemployment benefits do not cover the business losses of event organisers.

Yesterday, Mr Suchart explained that the SSF extends coverage to the employees of organiser firms that placed their business on hold or closed permanently as a result of government orders that halted conventions, meetings and other functions.

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