Employers not paying drivers’ social security, says report

Drivers are the most prone to death or being maimed in accidents as they drive up and down but their employers are not contributing to their social security.

Drivers are the most prone to death or being maimed in accidents as they drive up and down but their employers are not contributing to their social security.

A world report on road traffic injury (2007) reveals that road crashes are the second leading cause of death globally. Every year 1.2 million people around the world die as a result of road injuries and 50 million or more are injured or disabled.

However in Rwanda, a March 2008 research report on employer compliance to register with Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR) or Caisse Sociale du Rwanda (CSR) has shown that individually owned businesses do not contribute to their employees’ social security.

The survey found that though 82.3 per cent are not registered with SSFR, they are not contributing to employees’ social protection through social security. This is abusing employees’ rights.

Everyone as a member of society has a right to social security, Articles 22 and 25(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The research generally discovered that most employers are compliant scoring 74.7 per cent mark after visiting 2,978 employers, 752 were not registered with SSFR. This translated into a non-compliance rate of 25.3 per.

SSFR however recommends that basing on the envisaged role of social protection in poverty alleviation, it is necessary to lay strategies for extending social protection to informal and other uncovered sectors. SSFR researchers however discovered social protection has recently received wide spread and growing attention and is increasingly recognised by governments and international financial organisations for its role both in poverty alleviation and economic growth.

This new found prominence, the report says prompted International Labour Organisation (ILO) to appeal for immediate action to design new strategies for extension of social protection.

"We argue that it is with an improved understanding of issues and dimensions of social protection that we can make appropriate interventions. One of the issues crucial in laying down modalities for extension of social protection is to understand the compliance rate," the report further reads.

The research findings indicated that there are some non-registered employers but the non-compliance situation is not very alarming. According to statistics in the report, Rwamagana and Rubavu districts in the eastern and western provinces respectively have high non-compliance levels while Nyarugenge and Kicukiro have low non-compliance levels. According to the research, the major reason for failure of employers to comply with the obligation of registering their employees with the fund is ignorance. The research team found that 41.6 per cent of the employers are not aware of social security law requirements.

The other reason is poor delivery of services and limited financial resources.

"These reasons have to be considered if social protection is to be extended to uncovered sectors like informal and rural groups," the researchers advise.

Other reasons like hiring of casual workers and being new in business are all linked to ignorance.

However, social security law requires employers to register their workers with the fund within 8 days after the work commencement date, whether under contract or not, it is advised in the report.

Besides establishing the compliance level of the employers, the research also revealed that employees are reluctant to follow up their social security contributions thus attributing to the non-compliance of the employer. During the research, employees were asked whether they had ever made attempt to know if they are registered with social security fund of Rwanda and 82.8% gave a negative response, major reason being that the priority for saving is not old age but pressing needs like housing and education for children among others. The majority of non-compliant employers do not pay taxes (73%) and this further justifies the fact that ignorance is a major factor hindering employer compliance. Assessment findings reveal that out of 3,980 professional tax (TPR) tax payers registered with Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), 30.2% is not registered with SSFR.

The SSFR is optimistic that the existing legal instruments will be amended such that heavy sanctions are placed against employers who do not pay social security contributions for their employees.

Forced compliance is the ideal solution where voluntary compliance has failed. Also drivers should be educated on the right to social security, the report recommends.

Social security primarily refers to social welfare service concerned with social protection or protection against socially recognised conditions including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others.

Ends

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