Workers should be insured [Archives:2003/04/Business & Economy]

January 27 2003

Director of the Secretariat Office for social securities Sultan al-Hakemi, has recently given an interview to the Yemen Times conducted by Mohammed Bin Sallam in which talked in details on this vitally important social institution, the nature of its function, the benefits gained by employees n private sector establishments and problems facing the institution in performing its tasks.
At the beginning of his talk Mr al-Hakemi said the social security was established in 1978 according to the law No. 16 for 1978. It practiced its activities in 1988. Its role has been enhanced during the post- unification period with issuing the law No. 26 for the year 1991 which is still valid till today.
The main objective of this institution as al-Hakemi indicated is to cover a wide-range segment of people working in different production sectors and institutions , specifically in the private sector.
The number of registrants within the social security list has reached 160.000. This is of course a small number if compared to the number of labor force in our country.
Al-Hakemi has bitterly complained of the evasion of some foreign companies operating in the field of oil in order to insure its labor force.
The Social Security is not able to convince those companies to adhere to the laws and bylaws. The Social Security has to insure employees in cases of death, job risks and the old age.
Even public hospitals don’t show any adherence to insure the foreign cadres in accordance with the Yemeni law where hundreds of doctors and foreign female nurses are working.
“Insurance is a must on the part of companies owners. Those who employ more than five are not exempted from insurance whatever his or her nationality is,” al-Hakemi said.
To insure the workers by their bosses means a partnership and the insurance money is not considered a state’s revenue.
The social security institution is regarded as a confident insurer to regulate the different facets of interests in accordance with laws.
During the previous years, a part of these subscriptions in the treasury bills, banks deposits, along with other holding companies, banks and other mixed institutions have been invested.
Al-Hakemi has reiterated that insurance is a must for every one regardless of the sector they are working for. This includes, organizations, banks, and workshops. This right has been guaranteed by the international laws for the human rights and the constitution of the republic of Yemen as one the important laws that should be taken into account.
The social security law has a social and humanitarian dimension which is closely related to the life of the human beings and insuring their standards of living.
This part of an activity has to be given an attentive focus by all social classes and by all the civil society organizations and industry and commerce chambers.
If there is not a comprehensive coverage for the majority of our citizens, the society and the state will face an inevitable consequence such as, a high increase in unemployment and the needy without even being supported and given a helpful hand.
It is commonly believed that the social security laws start from the geographical gradation and then gender gradation. The former is related to the administrative division of the governorates and the latter includes number of workers below 15 and then moving to 5 people. In future we are planning to included 3 and then even reaching to one worker.
As for the investment companies and labs, al-Hakemi explained that a large number of sectors evade from insurance duties. More than 1060 institutions have been recorded in the capital secretariat and the number is on the rise.
Al-Hakemi has called on the embassies and international organizations operating in Yemen for the necessity to include Yemeni and non-Yemeni workers and retirees in our country except for the diplomats for taking insurance.
The social security insurance has performed its role properly through addressing the Yemeni foreign ministry to convince the embassies and organizations since 2000 and has repeated the same request in 2001.
Several embassies have positively responded to this call including the Italian Embassy, German Embassy, Algerian Embassy and the Japanese Embassy.
Up to this moment, other embassies and other legations haven’t taken out insurance where a large number of Yemenis and non-Yemenis work for.
Regarding the significance of raising awareness of the significance of insurance, al-Hakemi has called on all the media institutions for taking part in all aspects to raise the great awareness of the significance of insurance.
“There are instructions and directives given by the cabinet and the leadership of the insurance institution to raise the significance of insurance for showing the positive aspects of insurance,” al-Hakemi added further.
This will be supported by launching campaigns using the ways and means such as, delivering lectures holding symposiums starting from the capital secretariat and then the Yemeni governorates.
In addition to this, preparations are underway to publish a periodical during the current year which could play an active role in effecting awareness locally through distributing those periodicals to embassies and laborers working abroad.
On a question on the workers’ service period and when they deserve the pension whether in death or in handicapped cases. al-Hakemi said that : “There are different periods, for instance, the time limit for the old age which is 15 years or at least 10 years.
Preparations are underway to improve the salary system where the maximum salary is less than 7.000.
Unfortunately, some still get less than 1.000 per month.
On the other hand, al-Hakemi made it clear that his institution has mapped out plans for insuring Yemeni workers working abroad in collaboration with the Ministry of Expats.
Currently, a new law is about to be published in English language in order to be distributed to the embassies, legations, and the companies operating in Yemen.
The institution has decided to grant simple loans for the pensioners at symbolic interests which do not exceed 9 percent of the overall loans. This can be done in a 5-year basis for those who want to get married or to establish micro-projects.
The most distinguished feature of the social security law in Yemen is that it doesn’t distinguish between the foreign labor force and the Yemeni labor force. When an Arab or foreign worker, his or her overdue is paid to him within 24 hours on the condition that his service is one year or more.
During the last few years, more than 10.000 Arab as well as foreign employees get their pension money.
Currently, around 1.000 are recorded with the insurance from the Arab as well as foreign workers. There are still thousands of people who have not been insured for the above-mentioned reasons.