OFWs: Panibagong pahirap

OFWs: Panibagong pahirap
Various militant groups trooped to the Social Security System (SSS) head office in Quezon City on Wednesday to denounce the impending enforcement of the mandatory SSS contributions for land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).(Illustration: Mark Suva, Calgary, Alberta)

Militant groups denounce mandatory SSS contributions for OFWs

Manila Bulletin

Migrante Philippines Chairman Arman Hernando deplored the move fearing that OFWs will bear the brunt of paying the monthly contributions and not the employers.

He remains puzzled on how can OFWs have a secure future with the SSS if 12 percent of their monthly income “gets robbed by the government that stubbornly refuses to raise pensions.”

Hernando insisted the government should fulfill its pledge to grant the clamored P2,000 addition to the SSS pension instead of imposing higher exactions.

Migrante International pickets SSS offices in Quezon City to protest against the new rules. 9Photo: Migrante International)

However, Hernando claimed the government “so far refuses to give the remaining P1,000 pension increase despite previously guaranteeing to grant it after 2018.

In October last year, Migrante expressed its strongest opposition to the bill after its bicameral approval in the Philippine legislature.

The migrant group also said that no extensive consultations among OFWs were ever conducted by SSS even up to the time of its signing by President Duterte last month.

In the recently published draft of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Social Security Act of 2018, Rule 14 Section 5:IV stated that a land-based OFW shall pay both the employer and the employee contributions.

This is until such time that the host country enters into a bilateral labor agreement with the Philippines.

“Worst, OFWs will be forced to contribute P2,400 per month in its entirety as long as the host country does not enter into a bilateral agreement that will obligate employers to remit their contributions. This will be on top of the US$144 mandatory insurance that is also being pushed by the government. OFWs are being totally ripped off,” Hernando stated.

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The IRR mandates that SSS, along with DOLE and DFA, must ensure its implementation by the host country through striking bilateral labor agreements that will obligate foreign employers to remit their contributions.

Hernando warned last year that requiring employers to contribute on these exactions could incite their antagonism against OFWs.

The militant overseas worker’s group also recalled how SSS sparked outcry in recent years due to the fat bonuses of its executives.

Migrante has launched a petition yesterday to block the mandatory SSS exaction for OFWs.

Pension scheme for Filipinos now mandatory

Social security system entitles them to pension fund and host of other benefits



Mark Roue Oliva, SSS Representative in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It is now mandatory for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to make monthly contributions for their social security that will entitle them to a pension fund and other benefits under a new law.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law Senate Bill 1753, or the “Social Security Act of 2018”, which widens the scope of the Social Security System (SSS), extending it to all OFWs around the world. The actual date of implementation, however, and its specific details have yet to be released through the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

Currently, only around 500,000 OFWs are covered by SSS since contributions are voluntary. With the new law, SSS membership of OFWs could increase to 2.5 million.

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Mark Roue Oliva, the SSS Representative in Dubai, said the government-run provident fund will benefit both land-based and sea-based OFWs, including those in the UAE.

“Because contributions were voluntary for OFWs in the old law, most OFWs, majority of whom are from the Middle East, forget to contribute. So once they retire, they are not qualified to get pension from SSS,” Oliva told Gulf News.

In Dubai, more than 7,000 Filipinos paid their premium in January 2018.

But the average contributors for 2018 for Dubai and the northern emirates was just 4,800.

An estimated  600,000 to nearly one million Filipinos work in the UAE.

7,000

Number of Filipinos who paid their Social Security premium in January 2018.

‘It is better to be covered than have nothing’

“I would like to emphasise Senator Richard Gordon’s earlier statement that the bill [now law] does not promise an abundance of wealth but to secure people in case they would encounter unwanted situations in their lives. It is better to be covered than have nothing,” Oliva said.

“For maternity benefits for example, I process at least 20 claims in a month. I have also processed retirement claims. The processing takes roughly one month and the cheque is deposited directly to the claimant’s bank account,” he added.

The benefits vary depending on the monthly contributions. For those paying the maximum amount based on the old law of 1,750 pesos (Dh126) per month, for example, they receive a maximum maternity benefit for caesarean amounting to 41,600 pesos. For normal delivery, the benefit is 32,000 pesos.

Those with minimum contribution of 550 pesos get 10,000 pesos as benefit for normal delivery, and 13,000 pesos for caesarean.

“These contributions and benefits may change based on the new IRR. But the main message to our compatriots is not to treat SSS as an expense but an investment. Every peso they contribute will be given back to them or their beneficiaries through a pension or lump sum. This is one of the ways that they can invest in themselves and in their future.”

HOW TO PAY SSS:

  1. SSS members who want to pay should first get a Payment Reference Number by visiting the nearest SSS branch or emailing to [email protected]
  2. Payment can be made at any of the SSS-linked remittance centres namely Orient Exchange, UAE Exchange, Al Ghurair Exchange, or Al Rostamani. They can pay monthly, quarterly, yearly, or a maximum of five years.
  3. The new contribution per OFW will depend on the provisions of the new law. But officials advise OFWs to ideally make the maximum contribution to get the maximum benefit.
  4. SSS Contributions Table for Voluntary Members (Self Employed, Voluntary, OFW and Non Working Spouse)

    Range of Compensation Monthly Salary Credit Contribution
    1,000-1,249.99 1,000 110.00
    1,250-1,749.99 1,500 165.00
    1,750-2,249.99 2,000 220.00
    2,250-2,749.99 2,500 275.00
    2,750-3,249.99 3,000 330.00
    3,250-3,749.99 3,500 385.00
    3,750-4,249.99 4,000 440.00
    4,250-4,749.99 4,500 495.00
    4,750-5,249.99 5,000 550.00
    5,250-5,749.99 5,500 605.00
    5,750-6,249.99 6,000 660.00
    6,250-6,749.99 6,500 715.00
    6,750-7,249.99 7,000 770.00
    7,250-7,749.99 7,500 825.00
    7,750-8,249.99 8,000 880.00
    8,250-9,749.99 8,500 935.00
    8,750-9,249.99 9,000 990.00
    9,250-9,749.99 9,500 1,045.00
    9,750-10,249.99 10,000 1,100.00
    10,250-10,749.99 10,500 1,155.00
    10,750-11,249.99 11,000 1,210.00
    11,250-11,749.99 11,500 1,265.00
    11,750-12,249.99 12,000 1,320.00
    12,250-12,749.99 12,500 1,375.00
    12,750-13,249.99 13,000 1,430.00
    13,250-13,749.99 13,500 1,485.00
    13,750-14,249.99 14,000 1,540.00
    14,250-14,749.99 14,500 1,595.00
    14,750-15,249.99 15,000 1,6500.00
    15,250-15,749.99 15,500 1,705.00
    15,750-over 16,000 1,760.00

    SSS Contributions Table for Employers/Employed Members

    Range of Compensation Monthly Salary Credit Employer Share Employee Share SS Contribution EC Contribution
    1000 – 1249.99 1000 73.7 36.3 110 10
    1250 – 1749.99 1250 110.5 54.5 165 10
    1750 – 2249.99 1750 147.3 72.7 220 10
    2250 – 2749.99 2250 184.2 90.8 275 10
    2750 – 3249.99 2750 221 109 330 10
    3250 – 3749.99 3250 257.8 127.2 385 10
    3750 – 4249.99 3750 294.7 145.3 440 10
    4250 – 4749.99 4250 331.5 163.5 495 10
    4750 – 5249.99 4750 368.3 181.7 550 10
    5250 – 5749.99 5250 405.2 199.8 605 10
    5750 – 6249.99 5750 442 218 660 10
    6250 – 6749.99 6250 478.8 236.2 715 10
    6750 – 7249.99 6750 515.7 254.3 770 10
    7250 – 7749.99 7250 552.5 272.5 825 10
    7750 – 8249.99 7750 589.3 290.7 880 10
    8250 – 8749.99 8250 626.2 308.8 935 10
    8750 – 9249.99 8750 663 327 990 10
    9250 – 9749.99 9250 699.8 345.2 1045 10
    9750 – 10249.99 9750 736.7 363.3 1100 10
    10250 – 10749.99 10250 773.5 381.5 1155 10
    10750 – 11249.99 10750 810.3 399.7 1210 10
    11250 – 11749.99 11250 847.2 417.8 1265 10
    11750 – 12249.99 11750 884 436 1320 10
    12250 – 12749.99 12250 920.8 454.2 1375 10
    12750 – 13249.99 12750 957.7 472.3 1430 10
    13250 – 13749.99 13250 994.5 490.5 1485 10
    13750 – 14249.99 13750 1031.3 508.7 1540 10
    14250 – 14749.99 14250 1068.2 526.8 1595 10
    14750 – 15249.99 14750 1105 545 1650 30
    15250 – 15749.99 15250 1141.8 563.2 1705 30
    15750 – over 15750 1178.7 581.3 1760 30

    Due Dates of Contributions for SSS Regular and Household Employer

    10th digit of 13 Digit SSS employer number Payment Deadline (following the applicable month)
    1 or 2 10th of the month
    3 or 4 15th of the month
    4 or 6 20th of the month
    7 or 8 25th of the month
    9 or 0 of the month

    Due Dates of Contributions for SSS Voluntary, Self Employed Members (Except OFW)

    10th digit of 13 Digit SSS employer number Payment Deadline (following the applicable month/quarter)
    1 or 2 10th of the month
    3 or 4 15th of the month
    4 or 6 20th of the month
    7 or 8 25th of the month
    9 or 0 last day of the month

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