Employers now OK with SSS premium hike

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2012 06:17 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2012 07:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines - After vehemently opposing the increase in Social Security System (SSS) contributions, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines has agreed "in principle" to raise their share in SSS contribution of members.

SSS president Emilio de Quiros met leaders of ECOP to personally explain the need to increase the contributions to further prolong the life of the pension fund.

ECOP president Ed Lacson says it helped that de Quiros went out of his way to explain the increase.
From 10.4%, SSS wants the contribution hiked to 11% where employers' share will go up to 7.37% while employee share will be at 3.63% of the total monthly dues.

"We have agreed in principle, we just have to iron out the details," said Antonio Abad, head of ECOP's technical working group.

"We are very appreciative of the efforts of SSS to explain the numbers. It was done scientifically and artihmetically... We understand the needs of the fund and they now understand our predicament," Lacson said.

Philhealth proposal thumbed down

But if business groups are open to increased SSS contributions, they oppose Philippine Health Insurance Corp.'s proposal to increase contributions.

Last year, PhilHealth issued a memorandum informing businesses that employer contributions will be raised to P750 from P105.

"Pag masyado kasing dagdagan ang burden from government, maling signal ang nakikita ng investors," said Ernie Cecilia of the American Chamber who also attended the meeting.

According to employers, aside from the proposal not thoroughly explained to business owners, they don't think that the plan to include non-paying members in the PhilHealth program a viable option.

"So far the sentiment is no way. It is not viable. Parang patung-patong na ang gastos. This may be the proverbial last straw on the camel's back, baka bumigay yung kumpanya," says Lacson.

Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Phils threw its support to the SSS proposal to raise the premium payments of workers and employers.

TUCP advocacy officer Alan Tanjusay says after the presentation of de Quiros, the group was convinced that the increase in contribution will be good for the members in the long run.

According to Tanjusay, while it may mean additional expenses for ordinary workers, in the future, workers will be able to get bigger salary loans and pension.

As to Philhealth's proposal to raise the contributions, Tanjusay says it is still awaiting for a good and thorough explanation from the agency.

But the general principle, he says that if members want better service, they should be ready to shell out a little more.