SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report which reconciled the House and Senate versions on the proposal to rationalize and expand the powers and duties of the Social Security Commission (SSC) to ensure the long-term viability of the Social Security System (SSS).
The ratified bicam report on the proposed "Social Security Act of 2018" reconciled the provisions of House Bill 2158 and Senate Bill 1753.
HB 2158 and SB 1753 are principally authored by Rep. Enrico Pineda (Party-list, 1-PACMAN) and Sen. Ralph Recto, respectively.
The House delegation to the bicam conference committee was led by Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay, Jr. while the Senate delegation was headed by Sen. Richard Gordon.
One of the changes in the measure which was approved by the bicameral body was to require the Chief Actuary of the SSS to submit a valuation report on the SSS benefit program every three years or as frequently as necessary, instead of four years as originally proposed in the Senate version of the measure.
In addition, the unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefits shall be paid to a member who has paid at least 36 months of contributions, 12 months of which should be in the 18-month period immediately preceding the involuntary unemployment or separation.
Moreover, if any contribution is not paid to the SSS by an employer required to deduct and to remit contributions, the delinquent employer shall pay, besides the contribution, a penalty thereon of two percent per month—instead of three percent, as proposed by SB 1753—from the date the contribution falls due until paid.
The measure, if enacted into law, would repeal Republic Act 1161 or the Social Security Act of 1997, as amended by RA 8282, which vested the SSC-SSS with powers and duties that allow it to respond to the clamor for additional benefits to members or any threat to the sustainability of the social security fund.
The ratified measure authorizes the SSS-SSC to compromise or release, in whole or in part, any interest, penalty or any civil liability to SSS in connection with the investments authorized by the measure, under such terms and conditions as the SSS-SSC may prescribe.
The SSS-SSC shall also have the power to condone, enter into compromise, or release penalties imposed upon delinquent social security contributions when the financial position of the employer demonstrates a clear inability to pay the assessed delinquency arising from economic crisis, serious business losses, or financial reverses, or resulting from natural calamity or man-made disaster without fault on the part of the employer.
Moreover, the SSS-SSC shall be mandated to submit to the President of the Philippines and Congress an annual report on the exercise of this power to determine that the SSS is not unduly prejudiced. The report shall bear the 1) names and addresses of employers whose penalty delinquencies have been subjected to compromise or condonation; 2) amount involved; 3) amount compromised or condoned; 4) amount compromised or condoned and the underlying reasons and justifications; and 5) other facts and information.
The measure further mandates the SSS-SSC to implement the rate of contributions as well as the minimum and maximum monthly salary credits in accordance with a prescribed schedule effective January 2019.
From 2019 until 2020, the contribution rate shall be 12 percent, eight percent of which shall be shouldered by the employer and four percent by the employee. The minimum monthly salary credit sits at P2,000 and the maximum at P20,000.
The contribution rate shall increase to 13 percent in 2021. The share of the employer and employee shall accordingly increase to 8.5 percent and 4.5 percent respectively. The minimum monthly credit shall rise to P3,000 and the maximum to P25,000.
The contribution rate shall again increase by one percent in 2023. The employer share shall be raised to 9.5 percent while the employer share remains at 4.5 percent, amounting to a total contribution rate of 13 percent. The minimum and maximum monthly salary credit shall be increased to P4,000 and P30,000 respectively.
In 2025, the contribution rate shall be raised to 15 percent, 10 percent of which shall be shouldered by the employer and five percent by the employee. The minimum monthly salary credit shall also increase to P5,000 and the maximum to P35,000. | Czarina Engracia