Venezuela: Informal workers to receive social security

Self-employed and informal sector workers in Venezuela are to be included in the nation’s social security system, after an announcement by President Hugo Chavez on April 21.

The Law of Social Security will be changed to allow informally employed workers to register with the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS) and make social security payments.

Venezuelan vice president Elias Jaua said: “This good news means that taxi drivers, street sellers, fishermen, farmers, lawyers, dentists, all informal and self-employed workers can now claim social security and have a pension in the future.”

The announcement came as the Venezuelan government prepared to approve the new Labour Law by May 1. Among other measures, it is expected to establish a new social security fund supported by state oil company PDVSA.

The informal sector makes up 41% of Venezuela’s employment market, down from 55% when Chavez entered office, Venezuela’s National Institute of Statistics said.

Another government initiative aimed at including this sector in the social security system is the Mission Greater/Older Love program, which grants pensions to senior citizens not previously covered by social security.

Vice President for the Social Area Yadira Cordova announced on April 18 that 271,400 senior citizens have benefited from the program since its launch in December.

[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]

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