MANILA - Some of the country’s largest business and labor groups urged Malacanang on Wednesday to issue an executive order deferring the implementation of the hike in Social Security System contributions.
The groups said the issuance of the EO is necessary to allow micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to continue to operate their businesses and provide jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The joint statement was signed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Makati Business Club, and the Management Association of the Philippines, as well as Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Federation of Free Workers, and Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa.
Last May, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law giving him authority to defer the scheduled increase in SSS premium contributions for the duration of the declaration of state of calamity due to the health crisis.
“However, four months after the enactment of the law, the Executive Order implementing the Act has yet to be issued, even as the higher SSS premium already took effect last January 2021,” the business and labor groups said.
SSS members’ monthly contributions were increased to 13 percent from 12 percent of their incomes at the start of the year.
SSS said the rate increase will secure the long-term viability of the pension fund, and expand coverage and benefits for members and their beneficiaries.
Business leaders have said that the increase was an added burden to firms already struggling to stay afloat amid the pandemic.
“It is in this light that we are constrained to write the President for urgent action on this pending request for the deferment. We have yet to fully re-open and many have already lost their income sources either permanently or temporarily,” the joint letter said.
The business and labor groups said postponing the implementation of the higher SSS premium will be a “critical recovery measure.”
They said this would help sustain cash flow especially of the very vulnerable medium, small and micro enterprises.
MSMEs are among the hardest hit sector by the pandemic.