Unemployment allowance bill moves ahead

Published On: September 14, 2016 12:30 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Sep 14: Parliament has taken forward a bill proposing allowances for the unemployed, with a plan to duly endorse it after completing all the remaining procedures.

Parliament has sought amendment proposals to the bill, which has been pending at the parliament secretariat for a year. The bill had been registered by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.

Once the bill is passed, the government will have to provide an unemployment allowance from state coffers to all unemployed citizens who complete the application procedures.

Clause 8 of the bill has specified the criteria for securing an unemployed identity card.

“Any Nepali citizen who has completed 18 years of age and is below 60, is not enrolled in any academic institution and is unable to find any employment can apply for an unemployment identity card at the ward office of village development committee concerned,” reads the clause.

The bill proposes providing an unemployed citizen an amount equal to one-fourth of the minimum wage for four months in a year. The government has fixed Rs 10,800 as the minimum labor wages for a month. 

Article 33 of the new Constitution has ensured the right to employment for all citizens.

“The terms and conditions of employment and unemployment benefits shall be as determined by federal law,” reads the Constitution. 

So far, the government has been providing social security allowances only to people above 70 years and to single women above 60. 

“The government has been spending Rs 15 billion annually for such allowances from its development budget. The bill has also proposed managing such allowances from contribution-based social security funds,” said CPN-UML lawmaker Chudamani BK Jungali, who is also a former trade union leader. 

The government has been spending Rs 60 billion per year on pensions for retired civil servants, security forces personnel and teachers. Under the contributory provident fund now proposed, an employee will pay 10 percent of his/her salary into the fund and the government or the private agency that provides the employment will contribute the equivalent of 20 percent. The employee will get the money refunded as social security after retirement. 

The bill has included unemployment, maternity protection, medicines and treatment, accident security, old age security and  other categories of benefits under the contribution-based fund. 

Though the government has been collecting 1 percent of salary from all people working in government or at private institutions, the fund has remained unused due to lack of related laws and procedures. According to lawmaker Jungali, over Rs 10 billion has been collected in the fund since 2010. 

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