SSS’ campaign to register more members
posted 27-Nov-2018  ·  
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Recently, the Social Security System (SSS) conducted a forum to reiterate the value of being an SSS member before multi-sectoral representatives at the ARDCI Corporate Inn in Virac, particularly through its “Kontribusyon: Sulit na Sulit” national advocacy campaign to attract new members.

Under Republic Act 1161, as amended by Republic Act 8282 or the Social Security Act of 1997, SSS is mandated by law to promote the welfare of its members and their families, covering them with prompt, convenient, and reliable social protection that they deserve now and in the future.

Thus, millions of members have been provided protection against economic hardships caused by sickness, maternity, disability, old age and death.

But, the SSS Virac branch office stressed, such protection can only be assured for all members if they regularly pay their contributions, along with the counterpart of their employers if they are employed.

The problem, however, is that some employers are either not reporting their workers to the SSS, refusing to pay their contributions or deliberately reporting a lesser compensation level. This has prompted the SSS field officers to remind employees to exercise their obligation to check their contributions, especially if the correct amounts have been remitted.

SSS account officers have made it a routine function to periodically check on employers if they are reporting the actual salary paid, including visits to the workplace to verify data. Under the law, it is the responsibility of employers to report their employees and register them as members within 30 days from employment.

If found non-compliant, employers will receive a notice of coverage or a billing letter on the actual assessment. If the employer does not act within 15 days, a final demand is sent  by the SSS Legal Department, which gives it 10 days to reply.

Failure to comply eventually results in the filing of a criminal case before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office for violation of RA 8282, which provides for a penalty of P5,000.00 to P20,000.00 plus imprisonment of six to 12 years.

According to SSS Virac branch manager Divina Avila, more than 10 employers have already been convicted by RTC Presiding Judge Lelu Contreras, who has exercise judicial discretion and meted a lighter penalty of P10,000.00 with no jail time.

One area in which the SSS, and the legislative branch, needs to work on is the implementation of the Kasambahay Law or Republic Act 7655 which made mandatory the SSS coverage of household helpers starting from their first day of employment.

It is telling that for a province with its share of families having household helpers, particularly in the poblacion areas of the 11 municipalities, there are probably less than 200 such domestic helpers which are registered with SSS Virac.

As admitted by an account officer, the branch itself does not have a figure on the probable number of household helpers in the entire province. This could only be done through a house-to-house survey, for which the agency does not have enough funds, especially for the hiring of enumerators.

More often the not, the problem can be traced to the household helper, most of whom are not keen on staying for the long time with their employers.

As any family head would rue, some hired helpers report only for a few days, ask for an advance and then go back to their homes without permission. Another factor is that most of those employable as house help are already recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), with many preferring to wait for the payouts rather than work for additional income. The demand for household help, coupled with this reliance on the Conditional Cash Transfers, has in fact spiked hiring rates to at least P5,000 a month, over and above the P3,000 set by the labor department for first-class towns.

Clearly, something has to be done about the Kasambahay Law, so that it will not become the lone black mark on the SSS’ sterling accomplishments over the years.

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