Sunday October 14, 2012
Weed out bad employers who neglect their duties
SUNDAY STAR SAYS
IN about two weeks, the Social Security Organisation (Socso) will launch an operation against employers who fail to register their businesses and workers.
This action will not come a day too soon. Irresponsible employers are fully aware of their legal obligations, yet choose to ignore them at the expense of staff welfare.
Such apathy and neglect are unconscionable and inexcusable. Workers who are not registered are not entitled to their rightful benefits.
It is bad enough for any employee in any sector to be so deprived. In those sectors where high risks of accidents and injuries are ever present, the situation is intolerably worse.
Socso’s operation beginning on Nov 1 is designed to protect workers who should be covered under the Employment Injury Insurance Scheme and the Invalidity Pension Scheme, in the event of workplace accidents.
Errant employers charged under Section 3 (1) of the Social Security Act 1969 may be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to two years, or both, upon conviction.
As it often happens, a lack of firm action against such employers can only encourage more of them to shirk their responsibilities even more.
All relevant authorities, including the police, should get involved, coordinate their respective actions and optimise joint operations in rooting out offending employers.
In 2001, more than 6,000 offending employers were fined a total of RM1.3mil. In an operation last month in just two locations in Johor, 10% of the 800 employers investigated were found liable.
There is little doubt that all of these employers wish to be part of the high-income nation that Malaysia is supposed to become. Yet their neglect of their own workers makes them unworthy of such aspirations.
The international reputation of Malaysian employers has been taking a beating lately. This is where reckless and thoughtless employers are to blame, with this insufferable minority victimising Malaysian and foreign workers alike.
The workers themselves should also step up and speak out in defending their rights. Natural justice affords them basic protections under the relevant laws, whether or not they have already been registered accordingly.
As Socso well knows, even workers who have been registered are often unaware of their due entitlements. Socso itself should embark on educational exercises for workers besides operations against errant employers.