Labor group welcomes added benefits but worried over SIF sustainability

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AN ORDER issued last week by the President increasing workers’ benefits has been welcomed by a labor group, but warned against the potential impact on the State Insurance Fund (SIF).

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed on May 8 Executive Order 54 (EO 54) increasing the benefits of disabled workers from the private sector and qualified beneficiaries from the public sector.

The SENTRO ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), in an e-mail reply and a press statement over the weekend, said any benefit added to workers are “welcomed” but called for the release of data on how it would affect the SIF’s sustainability.

The SIF comes from two institutions: the Social Security System (SSS) for the private sector and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the public sector.

“We agree that increases in benefits for workers with permanent disabilities should somewhat be aligned with the increase granted to pensioners without permanent disabilities. We are, however, concerned about the sustainability of the State Insurance Fund,” said Daniel L. Edralin SENTRO’s 1st vice-chairperson for the private sector.

EO 54 states that based on actuarial studies of the SSS and GSIS, the SIF can grant the benefits to disabled workers “without affecting the stability of the SIF.”

SENTRO, however, said they are still waiting to see these results.

Both the SSS and GSIS have yet to release the results of the actuarial studies.

Mr. Edralin also pointed out that “this matter was never discussed in the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC).”

SENTRO also cautioned that this move by the administration to earn “brownie points” among the working sector could mean employees having to pay “additional premiums” later on.

EO 54 provides a P1,150 across the board increase to all disabled workers from the private sector and qualified beneficiaries from the public sector. Carer allowance from both sectors is also raised to P1,000 from P575 a month. — Gillian M. Cortez