The Labor Ministry on Monday responded to pleas from taxi drivers to provide them with financial aid due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, drivers are encouraged to sign up for Social Security coverage while authorities are finding appropriate ways to help drivers age 65 and older who are not eligible for new Social Security registration.
Withoon Naewpanich, president of the Commercial Association of the Thai Taxi Network, met Aug. 2 with the Labor Minister Suchat Chomklin to follow up on the three aid requests made by taxi drivers.
Suchat said the government already runs a scheme to help independent workers, including meter-cab 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 pays out 5,000 baht per person for those affected by the situation, which also includes other occupations such as hawkers, 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 ages 15-65.
For those over 65, the Labor Ministry will be discussing with the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council an amendment to related regulations and submission of the proposed changes to the Cabinet as quickly as possible.
Suchat now plans to submit a list of those who have yet to sign up for their Social Security coverage to the Cabinet at its weekly meeting Aug. 10 to allow those people to get their payouts by Aug. 24.
Withoon said the meeting allowed him to understand better the roles of the government and the ministry, and that he is now reassured the government will not leave anyone behind.
The Labor Ministry 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.