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Friday, May 20, 2022

Socso defends reclassifying Covid-19 as occupational disease


The Social Security Organisation (Socso) has defended its decision to change the status of Covid-19-related claims from employment injury to an occupational disease.

This is after the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) criticised it as a regressive move.

In a statement, Socso said the reclassification is in line with the country transitioning to the endemic phase of Covid-19, where a person could be infected from various sources including social events such as shopping and weddings.

However, Socso communication and corporate affairs chief Izad Raya stressed that work-related infections are covered just as tuberculosis, and leptospirosis.

He added that the reclassification is in line with steps taken by other countries too, and urged the MTUC to refer to reports by the International Labour Organisation regarding the classification of the virus.

The MTUC had argued that the reclassification was at the expense of workers.

They said processing Covid-19 related claims as an occupational disease would mean only workers in jobs that are exposed to biological agents and are in the presence of infection among healthcare workers will be eligible to apply for the benefits.

Izad said Socso could have listed Covid-19 as an occupational disease even before the transition to the endemic phase began on April 1.

However, he said the organisation chose to classify it as an employment injury to help workers affected during the pandemic.

He said as of May 14, Socso has received 181,184 applications for Covid-19 claims, from which the organisation has paid out RM161 million in benefits. - Mkini

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