Written by Richard WeeFatin Ismail and Yashila Kesavan

They are the backbone of the family and community

— Deputy Human Resources Minister, Awang Hashim

Introduction

The Housewives’ Social Security Bill was enacted to provide social security to housewives to protect their health, safety, and well-being from certain risks. As of now the act will only come into operation once an appointed date is fixed by the Minister.

This Housewives’ Social Security Scheme (“this Scheme”) operates on a voluntary basis where any person could register a housewife to this Scheme and an elected person will be responsible for making payment (“contributions”) for a period of 12 months to entitle the housewife to certain forms of ‘benefits’ where she would be an ‘insured housewife’.

Eligibility of protection under this Act

Any housewife who is a Malaysian citizen or is residing permanently in Malaysia. 

This act does not apply to those who have attained 55 years of age  and those aged 54 years who have not made any contributions.  

Registration

Any person may register a housewife through the Social Security Organisation (“SOCSO”) which manages this Housewives’s Social Security Scheme.

Payment of Contributions

The husband shall pay the contributions to SOCSO, if he elects to do so, and such contributions will not be refundable.

If the husband does not elect to pay such contributions or if the housewife does not have a husband, she could opt to contribute to SOCSO herself. 

The payment for the contributions shall be made in advance sum of RM120 for a 12-month period in respect of their wives.

The elected person to make the contributions may request to SOCSO to instruct his or her employer to make deductions and this shall be complied by the employer. 

The contributions will cease once the housewife reaches 55 years of age or dies. 

Penalty for Failure to Pay Contributions

The husband who is responsible to make the contributions commits an offence if he fails to pay, which would make him liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both. However, in a situation where the husband is not able to pay the contributions due to monetary issues such as loss of income or any other reasons, he shall notify SOCSO 60 days prior to the next scheduled contribution. 

Likewise, employers who fail to comply with SOCSO’s instructions to make deductions for the contribution shall also be liable to the similar fine if they fail to exercise the instructions. 

This act also addresses the issue of fraud where the same liability as the above will go to those who commit any act of fraud or forgery which relates to the payment of contributions or for the claiming of benefits. 

Coverage 

Insured housewives will continue to be protected and covered under this Act until the expiry of the contribution period on;

    • Divorce;
    • Death of the husband; or
    • Husband’s inability to pay the contribution due to monetary issues such as loss of income or any other reasons. 

Once the contribution period has expired, the housewife would have the option to continue the money payable to SOCSO.

Benefits 

Insured housewives or their dependants are entitled for the following listed benefits:

  1. Medical benefits
  • This scheme provides a wide range of medical benefits from RM300 to RM50,000, depending on the severity of the injuries sustained by the housewives’. 
    • For example, based on the “Second Schedule” in the Bill, if an insured housewife sustains injury that causes a loss of her hand or foot, she would be able to receive a lump sum payment of RM30,000 as compensation.  
    • For further details/rates, one can refer to the Second Schedule.
  • Apart from that, an insured housewife will be entitled to medical attention for domestic injuries as well as rehabilitation facilities.

2. Permanent disablement benefit

  • An insured housewife who suffers one or more  permanent disablement as a result of domestic injury, will be entitled to a lump maximum sum payment of  RM30,000.00.

3. Constant attendance allowance

  • The housewife will be able to receive an allowance of RM250 monthly to provide for constant attendance by a medical person until she is fit.

4. Survivors’ pension 

  • Surviving family members, i.e. widower and children are entitled to a survivor’s pension should the housewife die or be in receipt of morbid allowance.

For further details/rates, one can refer to the Fourth Schedule.

5. Funeral benefit

  • A one-off payment of RM2,000 will be paid to the widower, eldest son/daughter or the parents of the insured housewife who dies before she attains the age of 55 years.

6. Morbid allowance 

  • This allowance would be given to an insured housewife who suffers from an invalidity (any disabilities to her). But, it will be subjected to review by a medical accessor to determine her invalidity.

A ‘dependant’ in this Act refers to a child, husband or parents of a deceased insured housewife.

Claim for Benefits

Any claim for the benefits should be made following a procedure set by SOCSO by bringing evidence and submitting for the claim within a period of 12 months from the date the injury occured. These claims are then to be reviewed and assessed by SOCSO for approval. 

A dependant will not be able to claim any benefit if the insured housewife’s passing was a result of domestic violence committed by the dependant. 

However, this Act only allows the claims of the incidents which occur within Malaysia. 

Illegal Acts

As for incidents arising from an insured wife’s own engagement in illegal acts, SOCSO has the right to reject any claim for benefits if she suffers an incident while travelling/ preparing to commit an illegal act or has committed or engaged in one.

Conclusion

As a whole, the Housewives Social Security Scheme operates on a voluntary basis and  does not seek to impose a mandatory obligation on husbands to make contributions. 

The objective of this Act is to shield housewives working hard for the care and well-being of Malaysian households. 

As per Jernell Tan of the All Women’s Action Society, “being a housewife is a 24/7 vocation”. Hence, it is only reasonable for housewives to receive some benefits and “salaries”. This scheme provides a safety net for them to fall back to in case of any misfortune such as injuries, death or accidents. 

This Act has set a presumed monthly income of a housewife at an estimated work value of RM600. It is definitely an interesting new scheme which would cover over three million housewives in Malaysia. Albeit differing views to this estimated value, these rates may be subjected to future review by the Minister.  

However such a scheme, if eventually propagated, has to be effectively regulated to ensure that the monies collated into the scheme is well invested. This scheme may be perceived as an unnecessary encumbrance upon the financial capacity of a family particularly in the current economic depression post pandemic. It is crucial to manage this perception and educate the public of the benevolence of this scheme for it to work.

 

Published on 22 September 2022.

PHOTO BY Dane Deaner ON UNSPLASH 

ALB MLA Law Awards 2021 Finalist Badge - Richard Wee Chambers

visit Us @ RWC:

NINE COURTNo 9, Jalan 22/3846300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Write To Us @ RWC:

justright@richardweechambers.com

Give us a call @ RWC :

+603-7890 4118

Whatsapp Us:

+6016-275 0025
Subscribe to our Newsletter @ RWC
Always Get Our Latest News & Events Newsletter!

Some description text for this item