New year, new burden

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    Workers will face the new year with additional deductions from their paychecks and their employers an additional expense in their books.

    The Social Security System (SSS) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will both implement an increase in the monthly contribution of workers as well as the counterpart of their employers.

    Business groups Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. have appealed to
    Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, chair of the Social Security Commission, to reconsider the planned hike in SSS contribution — to 13 percent from the current 12 percent — citing the challenges in the business environment,

    The business groups said in his reply, Dominguez cited three reasons for the increase: that it was duly mandated by Republic Act 11199 otherwise known as the Social Security Act of 2018; that it will improve the fund life of SSS to a comfortable level and ensure financial capacity to meets its obligations and; that the new coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on SSS cash flows and any delay in the implementation of the increase would imperil the SSS’ ability to provide prompt and much needed financial assistance to its members.

    PHilhealth announced last Dec. 29, 2020 the premium rate will be increased to 3.5 percent from the current 3 percent as provided for in Section 10 of the Universal Health Care Law and its implementing rules and regulations.

    Starting this year, those who have a monthly basic salary of P10,000 and below shall have a fixed contribution of P350 a month, while those earning P70,000.00 and higher is fixed at P2,450.

    Contributions of employed members shall be equally shared between employees and employers, while those of self-paying members, professional practitioners, and land based migrant workers and other direct contributors with no employer- employee relationship are computed straight based on their monthly earnings and paid wholly by the member.

    A coalition of employers organizations and trade unions which banded into a group called  the Leader’s Forum in a letter to Philhealth in early December sought for the deferment of the increase in premium contribution.

    The group consists of the three business groups, Federation of Free Workers, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

    The Leaders Forum said the increase in contribution will be an added burden to business particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises. (I. Isip)