THE labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines on Monday urged the Labor department to go after private employers who do not remit their employees’ contributions to the Social Security Service.
It called on President Rodrigo Duterte to revisit the 1.5-percent increase in contribution of SSS members so as not to add weight to their burden.
The TUCP said the SSS must go aggressively after employer non-remittances, adding “Non-remitting employers must be charged correspondingly…there must be swift action.”
“Workers’ money that should have been invested to build up fund life is being used by employers and they are profiting from it. If properly remitted, the SSS fund life would have been enhanced,” TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said.
The labor group also said SSS could have and can still institute internal reforms to meet the pension increase so that the 1.5-percent contribution increase could be set aside.
“We thank the President that SSS pensioners will get some monthly income augmentation for their daily expenses like food and medicines. We feel that SSS management may not have laid out to the President the full range of reforms that could be done so as not to burden our workers anymore with additional contributions,” Mendoza said.
“SSS must improve its collection efficiency and stop corruption in the system. What happened to those companies which deducted monthly contributions from their employees but did not remit them to the SSS?” TUCP general secretary Arnel Dolendo also said.
TUCP also called on the SSS to first trim down its bureaucracy and staff and rationalize the remunerations and benefits for SSS commissioners and top executives who receive fat salaries, bonuses and other perks.
TUCP pointed out that a 1.5-percent increase in contributions would penalize the workers for asking an increase in pension for their old age for purchase of food and medicines basically, while those being appointed and those paid to run the system are living the high life.
“Let us put our retirees and workers first,” it said.
“The P1,000 is a paltry sum and to require more contributions in the face of the horrendous 38-percent SSS collection efficiency rate is not the solution” said Dolendo.
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III supported President Rodrigo Duterte’s grant of SSS across-the-board pension increase, saying the additional amount was a much-deserved incentive for the two million pensioners’ most fruitful years in service.
The labor chief said workers’ additional contribution to the SSS, which will fund the pension increase, should be considered as their long-term savings, and not an expense.
A 1.5-percent increase in contribution will be implemented in May this year or 12.5 percent from the current 11 percent.
In peso value, the additional total contribution will range from P15-P740, equally shared by employer and employee.
“We must bear in mind that an actively paying SSS member can avail [himself] of social benefits and loan privileges,” Bello said.
SSS is putting in place measures to ensure fund sustainability, including legal actions to reduce contribution delinquency, and executive intervention needed to improve collection.
Bello gave assurances the DOLE would observe stricter implementation of the Labor Laws Compliance System, specifically on monitoring the establishments’ compliance with mandated social benefits, specifically SSS, PhilHealtn and Pag-Ibig payments and remittances.
“This is one way of safeguarding and protecting the rights of our workers. It is also the employers’ legal and moral responsibility to their employers,” he said.