The Palace said Thursday that it will look into postponing a scheduled social security contribution hike, as requested by businesses and labor leaders.

“The proposal is now being studied by the Office of the President,” the President’s spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said at a televised news briefing.

“We are looking into the financial viability of the SSS (Social Security System) and the weaknesses of businesses and livelihoods amid the pandemic,” he added. “So, expect the decision to come out as soon as possible.”

Leaders of at least 10 business and labor organizations earlier signed a letter urging President Rodrigo R. Duterte to order a postponement of the SSS contribution hike.

They said that months after Mr. Duterte signed a law granting him power to defer contribution hikes for the duration of a state of calamity, “the Executive Order (EO) implementing it has yet to be issued, even as the higher SSS premium took effect in January 2021.”

“We were informed by the SSS that it is still waiting for this,” according to the groups, which include the Management Association of the Philippines, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Partido Manggagawa, the Federation of Free Workers. 

“Postponing the implementation of the higher SSS premium will be a critical recovery measure by helping sustain the cash flow especially of the very vulnerable MSMEs,” they said. “It will also serve as a very concrete government contribution to the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) program that is implementing with the private sector.”

The letter was also signed by leaders of the Makati Business Club, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport), the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. – Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza