SOCIAL PROTECTION NEED FOR INFORMAL ECONOMY WORKERS IN CAMBODIA
Dowload press release in Khmer
Oxfam in collaboration with ILO organize a National Workers Forum on “Social Protection for Informal Economy Workers” today to disseminate and to discuss the current situation, need and issues faced by informal economy workers; and barriers to accessing social protection benefits.
There are 170 participants from government ministries, development partners, private sectors, civil society organization partners, trade unions network members, local/union leaders, and informal economy workers. This platform will be a space for the participants to demystify what informality means, share, and discuss on necessary procedures such as registration for social protection which will promote a better coverage of social protection to the informal economy workers, especially women.
Furthermore, there will be a presentation on the key findings of the research study on “Contributory Capacity of Informal Economy Workers to National Social Security Fund” and the group discussion on how we can work together to promote the inclusion of social protection at policy level.
Ms. Sophoan Phean, Oxfam National Director, said “Social Protection is an important tool in supporting vulnerable people, especially informal economy workers who have actively and significantly contributed to the development of their family and country economy. More importantly, it addresses the socio-economic impacts of Cambodia resulting from Covid-19 outbreak and other shocks and takes part in preventing the risks of falling back into poverty.”
Ms. Sim Ath, a street vendor selling banana and potato, said that she is reluctant to visit the hospital, and instead choosing other cheaper options such as over-the-counter medicine or other herbal medicine whenever member of the family is getting sick.
“When I am sick, I dare not complain because I am poor. If I really needed to go to the hospital and it could cost me more than 100,000 riels, I would have nothing to pay for that,” said Ms. Sim Ath.
Ms. Sim Ath has been a street vendor for 4 years, along with her husband, a tuk-tuk driver. They have three children, but only her six-year-old child is in her current care, and other two stay with their grandmother. As a street vender, Sim Ath earns around 15,000 riels to 20,000 riels per day, but it requires her to ride her motorbike from one place to another switching locations from morning till evening, facing various risks while selling steam banana and potato along the road. This income could only cover her utility and housing cost while other necessities such as food and loan payment are still lacking.
National Social Security Funds or NSSF card is relatively a new information to Sim Ath as an informal economy worker. Similarly, it is still vague for other informal economy workers when it comes to the social security system as well as its benefits because they are not yet legally recognized and included in the registration process to receive such benefits.
Other informal economy workers especially women are the most vulnerable groups, facing various risks including instable income, discrimination, unsafe and unstable working conditions, low income, as well as limited space to participate in the association.
This National Worker Forum a part of the project “Improving Synergies between Social Protection and Public Finance Management” implemented by Oxfam, ILO, UNICEF and Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) with the generous financial support from the European Union. This project aims to strengthen national social protection systems through technical support, explorative research, and capacity development, focusing on public financial management system, budgeting, and financing of social protection. The project focuses on supporting the royal government of Cambodia to strengthen and expand the national social protection system through system strengthening activities towards effective, evidence-based, and inclusive financial, and budgeting processes.
Informal Economy Worker refers to workers who are not formal workers and have no contract, no working hours or clear working conditions. Most self-employed workers, including domestic workers, tuk-tuk drivers, transporters, street vendors, farmers, and entertainment sector workers are in informal employment.
The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) facilities this active involvement of a social protection-focused civil society in Cambodia, Nepal, Senegal, and Uganda. OXFAM is a member of GCSPF and leading on behalf of the GCSPF in Cambodia.
Oxfam has been supporting Cambodia’s development since 1979, making it the first INGO operating inside Cambodia during the controversial post-Khmer Rouge genocide period. Oxfam in Cambodia works in a wide range of programs advocating for women Economic Empowerment, Livelihoods for vulnerable groups, Natural Resource Governance, Climate Change Resilience and Sustainable Energy, Financial Inclusion, Social Protection and Decent works, Sustainable and Climate Resilient Agriculture, Disaster Preparedness and Humanitarian Relief, Civic Engagement and Financing for Development. https://cambodia.oxfam.org/who-we-are
Ms. Naratevy Kek
Communications Coordinator, Oxfam