Insurance scheme for workers facing layoffs

By Zainab Al Nasseri — MUSCAT: Jan. 4: Amidst the economic downturn triggered by a slump in international oil prices is a window of hope for Omani workers threatened with layoffs as a result of their companies downsizing or going belly up. The Observer has learnt that the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI) is planning to roll out an insurance scheme designed to ensure that workers facing the axe will be supported financially through monthly payments until they can be suitably re-employed or rehabilitated.
The proposed scheme is the subject of a ‘Study Lab’ due to be held on Sunday under the auspices of Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri, Minister of Manpower. Expected to attend are representatives (government, employers and employees) along with officials from Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the General Federation of Oman Trade Unions, the State Council, Majlis Ash’shura, the Supreme Council for Planning, the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), and Public Authority for Manpower Register.
Besides offering a financial lifeline to the laid-off workers and their families, PASI will also coordinate efforts with government agencies tasked with helping retrenched workers find alternative employment.
“This scheme has been included in our 5-year Strategic Plan for the 2016-2020 timeframe, and covers all insured workers and newcomers,” said an official source from PASI.
“The project study has been completed, and we hope to have it introduced hopefully within this year. Only the financing options remain to be resolved, and this issue will be discussed at Sunday’s meeting.”
Schemes insuring workers against layoffs is commonplace across the world and are seen as an important safety net for breadwinners in times of economic crisis.
It may be noted that the unemployment insurance scheme provides social protection for private sector employees when their services are terminated for reasons beyond their control. The system provides them with a source of income for a limited period of time and help them find alternate job. The system is expected to ensure more job stability for private sector employees.