PUTRAJAYA: The government has agreed to extend the invalidity scheme to foreign workers in the country to ensure they too are covered by the benefits of this scheme.

Human Resource Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong said this decision was agreed upon during a joint committee meeting on the management of foreign workers chaired by him and Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail here today.

He said the extension of the invalidity scheme was in line with the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 (Act 4).

“Currently under Act 4, local workers are covered by the employment injury scheme and the invalidity scheme, whereas foreign workers only have the employment injury scheme.

“Therefore, today’s meeting agreed to extend the social security coverage of the invalidity scheme to foreign workers in the country. The scheme provides 24-hour coverage for invalidity or death due to any cause and not related to the employment,“ he told a joint press conference.

Sim said the benefits under the invalidity scheme included invalidity pension, invalidity grant and funeral benefit.

“Under the scheme, RM4,500 is for the repatriation of the foreign worker’s remains/ashes to the home country,“ he said.

He said with the introduction of the scheme, Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) was expected to save more than RM25.38 million annually.

Previously, SOCSO assisted the repatriation process through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.

Meanwhile, Sim said the Ministry of Human Resources (KESUMA) intended to establish a complaint unit for foreign workers, as well as draft standard operating procedures (SOP) for this group.

“This is part of the reform and renewal of the Labour Department...a dedicated unit or SOP to handle complaints from foreign workers.

In other developments, he said there were several detailed matters to be addressed before the implementation of the multi-tier levy mechanism (MTLM) in January next year.

“KESUMA, the Ministry of Economy, together with relevant ministries, are currently studying the MTLM, including the threshold value and formula for the multi-tier levy before presenting it to the Cabinet,“ he added.