The Ministry of Labor has responded to a plea from taxi drivers to provide them with financial aid due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their occupation. Right now drivers are encouraged to sign up for Social Security coverage, while the authorities are finding appropriate ways to help drivers over 65 years old who are not eligible for new Social Security registration.
Mr Withoon Naewpanich, President of the Commercial Association of the Thai taxi network, today met with the Minister of Labour Suchat Chomklin to follow up on the three aid requests made by taxi drivers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the meeting, the Minister of Labor said the government now provides a scheme to help independent workers including taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers affected by lockdown measures in provinces under the strictest COVID-19 controls, to receive a payout through Social Security.
This scheme provides a payout of 5,000 baht per person for those affected by the situation, which also includes other occupations such as hawkers, and waiters, singers, and musicians at nightlife venues.
To get this payout, affected persons must register for their Social Security coverage under Article 40, a dedicated Social Security category for independent workers aged 15-65 years old.
For those over 65, the Ministry of Labor will be discussing with the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) an amendment to related regulations and submission of the proposed changes to the Cabinet as quickly as possible.
The Ministry of Labor now plans to submit a list of those who have yet to sign up for their Social Security coverage to the Cabinet at the weekly Cabinet meeting on 10th August, to allow these people to get their payout on 24th August.
Mr Withoon said the meeting with the Minister of Labor allows him to understand better the roles of the government and the Ministry of Labor, and that he is now reassured the government will not leave anyone behind.
The Ministry of Labor has provided supplies of essential items donated by private firms to the foundation for taxi drivers, to be delivered to affected drivers, as well as providing financial support to the foundation to provide boxed meals to the drivers, as a way to help alleviate their hardship.
So far, around 20,000 taxi drivers have already signed up for the Social Security coverage, in the Article 40 category of the scheme. (NNT)