After 22 years, the state-run Social Security System (SSS) now has a new charter as President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11199 otherwise known as the Social Security Act of 2018.
“This is a huge success for the pension fund. This new law will breathe in new life to SSS so that it can continue to serve its stakeholders, members, and pensioners. And we sincerely express our gratitude to President Duterte for acknowledging the long overdue need for this amendment and signing this into law,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said.
“We would also like to take this chance to thank our dear lawmakers, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for their leadership in both chambers; our SSS Champion in the Senate, our principal author and sponsor, Sen. Richard Gordon; and our Senate and House contingents – Senators Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Representatives Prospero Pichay and Mark Go,” Dooc added.
The new law, RA 11199, repealed RA 1161 as amended by RA 8282, mainly aims to strengthen the pension fund through its salient features such as the rationalization of the powers of the Social Security Commission, the policy-making body of the SSS, allowing it to expand the investing capacity of the pension fund to generate better income for the benefit of its members and pensioners.
The law is also expected to generate additional funding for the pension fund as it imposes the implementation of the gradual increase of monthly contributions from the current 11 percent to an additional 1 percentage point starting on the year of implementation until it reaches 15 percent in 2025, and the gradual adjustment of the minimum and maximum monthly salary credit.
Further, under the revised SS Law, members will enjoy an additional benefit from the current six types with the introduction of unemployment insurance. Covered qualified employed individuals who may suffer from involuntary separation from work, will be protected from a sudden loss of income as the law has a provision for unemployment insurance.
“Under the law, displaced workers will get financial assistance from SSS in the form of cash equivalent to half of their average monthly salary credit for two months,” Dooc said.
At present, SSS members are covered with sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, funeral, and death/survivor benefits.
The law also provides protection for the growing number of Filipinos working abroad as it made social security coverage of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) mandatory.
“Filipinos who work outside the country are more prone to risks as they are engaged in unfamiliar environment while they are trying to earn for their family. Our goal here is to ensure that all OFWs will be protected under the SSS,” Dooc said.
Gordon, the principal author and sponsor of the law, said that the new law emphasizes the value of work, save, invest and prosper among its members.
“The bill does not promise an abundance of wealth but to secure people in case they would encounter unwanted situations in their lives through a lifeline that they themselves created through their contribution,” Gordon said.
Further, the newly-signed law also lowered the penalty rate for late payment of contributions to 2 percent from the current 3 percent, and condonation of penalties will no longer require Malacañang’s approval under the law.
The new law now awaits for the Implementing Rules and Regulations after its publication in the Official Gazette last Monday