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The Government of Nepal has introduced social security protection to provide coverage for the valuable human resources in the country. The coverage is based on participation of the social partners through a contribution payment system. This introduction is a major step forward in the government’s planned approach to reducing poverty that could result from contingencies affecting the workforce as well as supporting workers and their families. The schemes provide financial guarantees to employees and their families in the event of a contingency as well as cover their medical needs.

Social security protection is provided for maternity, sickness, employment injury, old age and retrenchment in accordance with internationally accepted principles. A medical scheme in addition cover payments for treatment of medical conditions. The schemes will initially cover the formal sector and will be extended to the other sectors gradually. The vision of the government is to provide comprehensive social security coverage to the population.

The maternity scheme covers prenatal and postnatal medical needs of female employee. Maternity benefits for 98 days paid under the scheme supports the female employee financially while relieving the employer of paying wages for the period. Male employees receive a paternity benefit as well as a maternity grant when the spouse delivers. Medical benefit to the newly born for a three-month period is designed to develop a healthy new generation.

A sickness scheme coupled with the medical scheme reduces the financial burden of families and supports early recovery. Inpatient and outpatient treatment in government hospitals covers all forms of treatment assisting to returning the employee to the workplace.

Occupational Health and Safety measures are put into place to prevent accidents. However, employment related accidents do occur and the employment injury schemes provides full coverage. The scheme covers all medical costs, replacement of earnings, rehabilitation, provision of artificial limbs and retraining of the injured employee. Dependents receive benefits for life in the event of a fatality.

An old age pension scheme would provide monthly pensions to retirees ensuring their financial independence. The scheme also covers dependents in the event of death of the pensioner. Invalidity or permanent disablement due to serious illnesses or death before retirement would be considered to ensure the protection of the families of the employee.

A gratuity scheme recognizes the contribution made by the employee to economic development and provides coverage in the event of retrenchment.

The labour force and their families through these schemes are provided with both financial and nonfinancial support. Social security coverage improves productivity, promotes industrial harmony and supports the government policy of poverty prevention. The employee receives efficient services from the Social Security Fund that guarantees the payment of benefits. Employers by complying with the requirements of the schemes transfer all their liabilities of benefit payments to the Social Security Fund and are empowered to pursue developmental human resource policies leading to greater national prosperity.

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