People employed in the entertainment and tourism sectors of the informal economy will be registered with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), so they can access health care through the Kingdom’s health equity fund, the government announced.

A June 12 press release said that the move represented the government’s policy that “no one is left behind”, and a vision that is made possible by the peace and political stability that the Kingdom now enjoys.

The government has launched several social protection programmes, in order to ensure the income security and financial vulnerability of the public, and prevent them from falling into poverty.

“The Royal Government will provide health care – through the health equity fund system – for people working in the entertainment and tourism services of the informal economy, especially women employed in discos, bars, karaoke lounges, beer gardens, massage parlours and spas. In accordance with current laws, the state will be responsible for the full cost,” explained the press release.

The government called on employers or business owners in the informal economy to submit their staff records to the capital, provincial administration or town or district administrations for verification, before submitting them to the NSSF for registration. Once registered, the employees will enjoy free healthcare services at public health facilities across the country.

Touch Kosal, president of the Cambodia Tourism Workers’ Union Federation (CTWUF), said some tourism workers already receive the NSSF’s social protection, which includes health care services, occupational accident insurance and pensions.

He added that several eligible employees have not yet been registered by their employers, but said that including entertainment workers could only be a positive.

“If the government provides 24-hour health care, this will provide fantastic benefits to informal workers. Currently, a serious accident of illness could cause financial ruin for them,” he said.

Kosal added that the provision of free healthcare means informal entertainment workers will no longer have to spend their own savings on medical treatment.