The link between business performance and access to social protection
The link between access to social protection and reducing poverty, containing inequality and sustaining equitable economic growth is well acknowledged globally (ILO 2011). According to the Zambia Labour Force Survey (2012) almost 90 % of the workers in the construction sector are informally employed. Without adequate social protection combined with the high fatality and injury risks of the sector, these workers become vulnerable and exposed to poverty.
Furthermore, a lack of social protection coverage results in decreased productivity among MSMEs and has direct cost implications to the business owner in the form of out of pocket compensation for workers' disabilities; hiring temporary employees; overtime pay for workers performing extra duties on behalf of injured colleagues; loss of production time; legal costs; penalties; and loss of contracts due to delayed deliveries. With proper social protection coverage, these expenditures could be avoided and finances channelled for business investments and growth.
However, notwithstanding the productivity and cost arguments outlined above, many business operators in the Zambian construction industry still view social protection as a cost to business, rather than an investment in human capital. In addition, new trends and practices such as project-based work and temporary labour agreements demand for new types of social protection packages, a demand which current schemes do not meet.
In efforts to find creative and innovative ways to achieve this, the Zambia Green Jobs Programme has joined hands with the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Workers Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) to support the promotion of productivity and working conditions through innovative work injury and pension schemes designed specifically to cover MSMEs in the building construction sector. Registering your workers with social security schemes will not only promote decent working conditions, it will also improve the quality, productivity of your workers and enhance business growth.