Self-employed taxi drivers as well as drivers for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Grab will soon be covered under insurance, according to a report by The Sun. From June 1, the Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) will provide benefits to these drivers, just like workers under a contract of service.

This scheme will cover over 73,000 taxi drivers and 35,000 active Uber and Grab drivers, who will make a contribution rate of 1.25% of their insured monthly income. These drivers previously had to purchase their insurance coverage by themselves.

Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) chief executive Datuk Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said that EIS would require all self-employed taxi drivers to register with SOCSO. “The annual contribution payment ranges from RM157.20 (RM13.10 a month) to RM592.80 (RM49.40 a month),” he said.

Mohammed Azman added that the extension of social security protection under a scheme for the self-employed begins with these drivers.

“The Human Resource Minister has agreed to include Uber and Grab drivers as well under this scheme,” he said. “Self-employed taxi drivers, who are exposed to accidents or occupational diseases while at work, will be covered under the EIS and their dependents will have social security protection in the event of death.”

The scheme is said to cover medical, temporary and permanent disablement, funeral and dependent’s benefits (pensions), as well as constant-attendance allowance, education loan, physical and vocational rehabilitation facilities and Return to Work Programme.

“The constant-attendance allowance is something different and additional that Socso will be giving,” said Mohammed Azman. “When an employee becomes 100% or permanently disabled due to injuries in the course of his employment, he or she will be dependent on a caretaker whether it’s the wife, mother or even a maid. The constant-attendance allowance is given to the caretaker.”

The EIS will come under the Self Employment Social Security Bill 2017, set to be tabled by human resource minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem in the Dewan Rakyat in its next meeting from March 6 to April 6. Once passed in parliament, the drivers will be given a two-month grace period to register with SOCSO.

“The act will allow SOCSO to administer the scheme for self-employed taxi drivers,” said Mohammed Azman. “SOCSO enforcement officers will go down to the ground to reach out to the taxi drivers and those offering similar services to inform them about the scheme and register them.”

Under Budget 2017, a total of RM60 million was allocated for the implementation of the scheme for individual taxi drivers with a monthly income of up to RM3,000.

Such coverage for the self-employed is in accordance with the principles of universal social justice under Article 23 Human Rights (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations 1948) and the International Labour Organisation Convention C102 Social Security (Minimum Standards) 1952 and R202 Social Security Protection Floor Recommendation, 2012.