New Social Security Act Provides More Benefits for Insurers with Effect this 20th October

Monday, 12 October 2015

            Good news for insurers! The new Social Security Act will include new benefits for insurers and will take effect this 20th of October. The new Act will include enhanced coverage to temporary employers of all types within the government sector under Section 33, including extended coverage for Thai workers abroad.



            Deputy Permanent Secretary of Labour Mr. Suradej Waleeittikul alongside Deputy Secretary-General of the Social Security Office Mr. Govit Sajjawiset revealed that the government, under the directions of General Prayuth Chan-ocha had policies to develop benefits and the standard of living amongst workers, whereby pushing amendments to legislation regarding social security for extended coverage. The legislation has been approved by the National Legislative Assembly which announced the Social Security Act (4th Edition) B.E. 2558 in the government gazette on the 22nd of June 2015. The new act will take effect 120 days after being announced, whereby starting on the 20th of October 2015. All insurers will receive benefits under the newest Social Security Act which consists of extended coverage such as cases of sickness, death, disabilities, unemployment, childbirth and childcare. The new act has essence in expanding benefits for insurers such as in the event of an accident or sickness, whereby increasing health promotion, disease prevention and assistance health funds for insurers in the event that the insurers receives damage or losses arising from medical services, to which the current act does not include. In terms of insurers with chronic illness, disabilities or death, insurers will receive more benefits even if the insurer has not made full contributions for the benefit’s eligibility. As for insurers inflicting self-harm resulting to illness, disability or death, not resulting from work, the insurer will receive compensation of up to 50 percent of their wage; the current act does not include this. At the same time, disabled insurers having been disabled before the 31st of March 1995 will be able to receive benefits throughout their lives. This is because this date was before the Social Security Office had amended laws expanding coverage to insurers with disabilities, leading to two groups of disabled insurers receiving unequal benefits, whereby one group only receiving benefits up to 15 years and the other throughout their entire life.

            In the event of child birth, insurers will receive benefits with unlimited times of up to 13,000 Baht for each birth, as well as support for taking maternity leave from work of up to 90 days, not exceeding 2 times for female insurers. As for child support, the new act provides support to children aged 0-6 years, with the benefit covering no more than 3 children. The support will be paid in lump sum each month at a rate of 400 Baht/person, whereby the original act gives coverage to only 2 children. In the event of unemployment, the new act provides enhanced coverage to insurers where employers have temporarily stopped operations as a result beyond their control, whereby the insurer has not been terminated. In this case, the insurer must have contributed for no less than 6 months. Such events include flooded factories, whereby insurers will receive up to 50 percent of their daily wages, in which the original act did not include. Furthermore, the new act extends coverage to insurers unable to pay their contributions resulting from reasons beyond their capabilities (at present insurers receive coverage only in the event of termination or resignation).

            In the event of death, supporting funds for insurers who have died have been amended as follows: if before death, the insurer has made contribution for 36 months or more, but not exceeding 120 months, support will be given at 50 percent of the insurer's monthly salary, multiplied by 4 (equating to approximately 2 months), whereby the original act provided support of 1.5 months. If the deceased insurer provided contributions for 120 months or more, support will be given at 50 percent of the insurer's monthly salary, multiplied by 12 (equating to approximately 6 months), whereby the original act provided support of 5 months. Revisions were also made to the eligibility criteria as follows: insurers can write a letter specifying the beneficiary to the insurer's pension fund in advance, whereby the rights will be equal to that of a descendant. If the insurer does not have descendants or a letter specifying beneficiaries, the benefit will go to brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or grandparents (at present insurers without descendants (father, mother, children or spouse) cannot write a letter specifying their beneficiary in advance, whereby their pension fund eventually contributes to the central fund). Coverage also includes non-Thai nationals whereby those completing work contracts without the intention to continue work in Thailand, will be given rights to receive pension funds even if they have not contributed to 180 months. 

            In the new Social Security Act, the government will support contributions to insurers under Section 40 at a rate of no more than half of the insurer's contribution, and expands coverage to all types of temporary employees within the government sector (at present coverage only includes monthly temporary employees). Such employees will be insurers under Section 33, whereby the government sector must submit the registration and contributions, whereby covering daily temporary staff too. The new act also extends coverage to Thai workers abroad, with employers with offices in Thailand and the insurer has been assigned to work in an office abroad.

            Furthermore, the new Social Security Act has an inspection committee which will ensure transparency and proper standards. Committee members of the Social Security Act will need to meet all specified qualifications, presenting an account of all assets and debts to the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Committee.

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12 October 2015