Senate bill seeks to defer 1% hike in SSS contributions

Senate bill seeks to defer 1% hike in SSS contributions
This undated image shows a Social Security System office.

MANILA, Philippines — A Senate bill seeking to postpone the implementation of the 1% hike on members' monthly contribution in the Social Security System (SSS) was filed on Monday.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, who filed Senate Bill 1965, cited economic hardships faced by both workers and employers due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Given the current employment situation of the country as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, there is a need to ensure that workers and companies are able to fully recover and have enough resources to do so,” Villanueva said.

The proposed measure would amend Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 to postpone the 1% increase of the SSS monthly member contribution this year.

The senator added that postponing the implementation of the contribution hike would allow businesses and employees to earn income amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 478,000 in the Philippines.

"Securing employment and incomes of workers to enable them to keep body and soul together should take precedence over SSS collections," Villanueva said.

He added that the Philippines' unemployment rate grew to 8.7%, which is equivalent to around 3.8 million jobless Filipinos, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Data from the Department of Labor and Employment showed that some 3 million workers have been affected by the implementation of flexible work arrangements and temporary closures.

Sen. Leila de Lima earlier criticized the simultaneous increase of member contributions in both SSS and the PhilHealth, deeming it "heartless and oppressive."

"Increasing SSS and PhilHealth contributions not only would result in less employment due to increased cost but also to possible delinquencies of members who cannot afford the additional payments required," De Lima said in a statement released Monday.

The SSS earlier declared that it would implement the increase in member contributions as provided for in the Social Security Act of 2018.

Three years ago, lawmakers approved this law to restructure SSS rates and ensure the long-term financial viability of the social security program. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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