A BILL seeking to suspend the scheduled increase in member contributions to the Social Security System (SSS) due to the pandemic has been filed in the Senate.
Senate Bill No. 1965 proposes to amend the Social Security Act of 2018, or Republic Act (RA) No. 11199, by stipulating that the rate increases be postponed by a year, counting from the end of the pandemic.
“Given the current employment situation of the country as a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, there is a need to ensure that workers and companies are able to fully recover and have enough resources to do so,” Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“This bill seeks to achieve this by providing a reprieve to our battle-weary workers and employers through the suspension of the mandated increase in social security contribution rate.”
Mr. Villanueva, who chairs the labor committee, cited the 8.7% unemployment rate reported in the October 2020 Labor Force Survey.
This is equivalent to 3.8 million unemployed workers and is much higher than the 4.6% rate recorded in October 2019.
RA 11199 provides for an SSS contribution rate increase to 13% of the value of a worker’s salary, not to exceed P25,000, starting January 2021. The rate was 12% in 2020. The new contribution rate will be shared by the employer, which will shoulder 8.5%, with the employee paying 4.5%.
“This respite from increased expenses, arising from higher social security contributions, will provide businesses and employees much-needed income to survive and recover during (the) pandemic,” he said.
Detained Senator Leila M. de Lima also pushed for the suspension of the scheduled increase of the SSS rate as well as the hike in the monthly contribution to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
“Increasing SSS and PhilHealth contributions will not only result in reduced employment due to increased costs but also in possible delinquencies of members who cannot afford the additional payments required,” she said in a separate statement.
She also noted that the corruption allegations against PhilHealth have not yet been settled. — Charmaine A. Tadalan