By Karl Angelo N. Vidal, Reporter
THE SOCIAL SECURITY System (SSS) expects to collect P13 billion during the first two years of the implementation of the mandatory contributions from overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
In a press conference at its main office in Quezon City on Monday, officials said the state pension fund is looking to collect P13 billion worth of contributions from OFWs during the first two years of implementation of the compulsory coverage, which will be implemented starting June.
This is higher than the P6.35 billion collected from OFWs last year under its voluntary program.
Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 was signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last month, repealing its charter signed into law in 1997. The amended charter requires the pension fund to provide coverage for land-based and sea-based OFWs.
“In a span of two years, we’re looking at possible four million possible OFWs who will be mandatory covered by the SSS,” SSS Senior Vice-President and Head of International Operations Division Joy A. Villacorta said.
The SSS, along with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), will seek to negotiate with various countries to secure bilateral labor agreements that would allow overseas employers to shoulder their share of the OFW’s SSS contribution.
Under the amended charter, 8% of the 12% rate will be shouldered by the employer and 4% by the employee starting in April, from the current 7.37%-3.63% split.
However, land-based OFWs will be covered in the same manner as self-employed individuals for now, meaning that they will have to shoulder both employer’s and employee’s share.
“All land-based OFWs are now covered in the same manner as self-employed individuals. Being considered as such, they will shoulder both. But in the meantime, they may have the option to contribute only at the minimum salary credit of P2,000,” SSS Senior Vice- President and Chief Legal Counsel Voltaire P. Agas said.
“We are trying to negotiate now memorandum of agreement and undertaking with DoLE, particularly the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), for the collection of the SSS contribution,” he added.
Meanwhile, sea-based OFWs are already considered covered as the employer’s share are being shouldered already by their manning agencies.
Ms. Villacorta added that the previous bilateral agreements between the SSS and other counties do not cover the new provisions under the amended charter.
“It’s only under the new law that the requirement on negotiating bilateral labor agreements are mandated as an undertaking of DoLE, DFA and SSS,” she said.