Socso’s tie-up with Grab, Foodpanda boosts coverage for gig workers

The govt agency also working with platform service providers and gig workers to explore long-term strategies in ensuring that no one is left behind

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic credit: perkeso.gov.my

SOCIAL Security Organisation (Socso) said it has no regulatory power to compel delivery platforms to provide social protection scheme for self-employed individuals or gig workers.

The agency clarified that it is not within its jurisdiction to define the contractual relationship between gig workers and platform service providers, and subsequently enforce platform service providers to contribute to their delivery partners.

However, its collaboration with major companies like Grab Malaysia and Foodpanda Malaysia Sdn Bhd will help to increase awareness and provide wider coverage for gig workers in the country.

Socso CEO Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed (picture) told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) the agency has organised over 200 engagements sessions directly with gig workers and more than 65 platform service providers, including Bungkusit, Lalamove, Halo Rider, GoGet, MULA, DeliverEat and HappyFresh, as of July 2021.

In mid-July, Socso announced that it now covers over 145,000 food and parcel delivery partners, including riders and walkers, after Grab Malaysia and Foodpanda registered almost all their delivery partners under SPS Lindung.

“The partnership between Socso and platform service providers is a win-win approach, where service providers benefit greatly if their delivery partners have road safety awareness and practise safe riding.

“Their delivery riders, meanwhile, will have a peace of mind that their welfare and that of their families are guaranteed should they be involved in accidents or death related to their delivery activities,” Mohammed Azman said.

He added that the collaboration, among others, covers data sharing, collection contribution system, education on safety, prevention activities and promotion of Socso’s Return to Work programme.

“Consistent planning and effort are made to engage as many platform service providers as possible with the aim of providing social security protection to their delivery partners.

“These engagements are expected to grow into long-term collaborations with platform service providers to ensure adequate social protection for all their delivery partners or gig workers,” Mohammed Azman said further.

To date, the feedback from all platform service providers are positive towards their delivery partners being registered under SPS Lindung.

SPS Lindung is a programme under the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme (SESSS) that was announced by the government in Budget 2021. The government provides a full subsidy of RM232.80 contribution under Plan 2 of the SESSS for one-year protection.

Through direct engagements with gig workers, Mohammed Azman said Socso recognises that gig workers, including delivery riders, are free to work with multiple platforms at their own schedule, using their vehicle like self-employed businesses.

“Besides getting protection for gig workers in the event of accidents, occupational diseases or death, our collaboration with platform service providers is also one of our strategies to help raise awareness among the providers and their delivery partners on the importance of social security protection even after the programme has ended,” Mohammed Azman said.

He said the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) had increased the demand for gig economy services, including gig workers to deliver food and goods to customers.

He said the Royal Malaysia Police revealed that during the nine months of the MCO implementation in 2020, a total of 2,576 deaths involving motorcyclists were recorded and two-thirds of them were delivery riders.

The Socso CEO said SPS Lindung is designed to address the immediate protection gap among all delivery riders, regardless of which platforms these workers are actively carrying out the tasks.

He said Socso is also working with platform service providers and gig workers to explore long-term strategies such as data sharing, prevention education and the Return to Work programme in ensuring that no one is left behind.

Besides SPS Lindung, he said Socso implements the PenjanaGig Programme, SPS Prihatin Wanita and KerjayaGig for the protection of workers in the informal sector and the gig economy.

He added that Socso has several initiatives in the pipeline to improve social protection for workers in the informal sector and the gig economy, but still in the preliminary stage.