THE MEASURE seeking to extend paid maternity leave will have a “serious implication” on the Social Security System’s (SSS) finances, a top official said while urging the government anew to hike its contribution rate.
During the soft launch of the fund’s Pension Loan Program on Monday, SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said the agency will have to shell out an additional P4 billion every year should House Bill No. 4113 or the 100-Day Maternity Leave Law be enacted.
“This year, we foresee na bibigat ang bayarin namin (that we have to pay more) because of the approval of the expanded maternity [leave],” Mr. Dooc told reporters.
“Based on our actuarial studies na kapag iyan ay naisakatuparan, sa isang taon madaragdagan ang aming gastusin sa maternity benefit lamang [ay] mga P4 billion taun-taon (if that is enacted, we’ll have to pay an additional P4 billion every year for the maternity benefit).”
Mr. Dooc added that the additional benefits to cover the additional 40 days of maternity leave will be on top of the P5.5-6 billion already disbursed for maternity benefits every year.
Yesterday, the House of the Representatives passed on third and final reading the bill extending paid maternity leave for female government and private workers to 100 days from the current 60 days.
As the measure provides, women employed in the private sector shall be “paid her daily maternity benefit…based on the average monthly salary credit.”
The bill’s counterpart, Senate Bill No. 1305, grants a maternity leave of 120 days and an optional 30-day extension. It has been approved on third and final reading.
Mr. Dooc said the SSS has already submitted its position regarding the measure.
“[If] they come up with additional benefit, sana mag-identify naman ng (they should identify the) source of funding where we can draw the…funds to pay for this benefit,” he said.
The SSS chief said authorities should consider increasing the pension fund’s contribution rate since additional benefits will have “serious implications” on its finances.
“They should also be open to increasing the contribution rate. We are not asking for a subsidy yet — so increase [our] rate so we can also provide more benefits.”
The SSS wants to increase its monthly contribution rate to 14% this year from the current 11% to cover for the monthly pension increase of an initial P1,000 approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in January last year.
Mr. Dooc said the contribution hike will prolong the fund life of the SSS to 2044 from the current 2032.
Senate Bill No. 1753, which seeks to effectively empower the SSS to increase contribution rates by itself, is now pending second reading. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal