THE SOCIAL SECURITY System (SSS) recorded higher disbursements in maternity benefits in 2018 and expects this to pick up further this year following the enactment of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL).
In a statement sent over the weekend, the state-run pension fund said more than 326,000 members were assisted last year with maternity benefits amounting to around P7.07 billion, 15.6% higher than P6.11 billion doled out in 2017.
About 68.2% or 222,551 of the beneficiaries were employee members, receiving maternity disbursements totalling P5.98 billion.
This was followed by 81,641 voluntary members, a quarter of total beneficiaries and receiving disbursements worth around P850 million.
Some 14,692 self-employed members and 7,429 overseas Filipino workers also received maternity benefits last year, with total disbursements of around P80 million and P150 million, respectively.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said the pension fund disbursed maternity benefits to 36,550 more members in 2018 year-on-year, marking a 12.6% growth.
The pension fund expects maternity disbursements to increase further this year following the implementation of the EMLL, with its implementing rules and regulations signed last week.
For the first two months of the year, maternity benefit disbursements already reached P1.34 billion with over 62,000 beneficiaries, SSS said.
Signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in February, the EMLL increases the paid maternity leave to 105 days from the previous 60 days.
Based on the P20,000 salary credit, qualified members will receive P70,000 worth of maternity benefits regardless of the means of the child’s delivery, frequency of deliveries or miscarriage, from the previous P32,000 for normal delivery.
“We hope that through the EMLL, women workers may be able to fully enjoy their rights to health and decent work,” Ms. Ignacio said.
The SSS said last March that the net impact of expanded maternity benefits will subtract a year from its actuarial fund life.
It also proposed a new round of hikes in member contribution rates to fund its increased commitments. — K.A.N. Vidal