SSS urged to extend grant of wage subsidy in Baguio

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, requested the Social Security system (SSS) Baguio branch to consider eligible private schools, training centers and other similar learning institutions operating in the city to avail of the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program for their qualified employees and to extend the period of application of the same until June 30, 2020.

In a resolution, local legislators pointed out that while the education sector has not been identified in the table of recipients for the SBWS measure, there are numerous private schools, training centers and other similar learning institutions in the city are also considered small enterprises as the same are dependent to the tuition or training fees collected from their enrollees.

Further, the council stated that since the implementation of the Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the rapid spread of the dreaded Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019, no private schools, training centers and other similar institutions have been fully operations, thus, numerous school personnel are not being required to report to work resulting to no salary for those under the no work, no pay scheme or reduced compensation for employees working in schools that are capable of providing such.

The local legislative body pointed out that while there are big and established universities and colleges in the city, there are still a good number of institutions that are considered as enterprise starters and like the other heavily impacted sectors, the same are badly affected with the prevailing crisis situation.

According to the local legislative body, the State affirms labor as a primary social economic force and guarantees the protection of labor, promotion of full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all. The State also protects the rights of workers and promote their welfare.

The council recognized the fact that in the city, all learning institutions have temporarily operation to date that impacted the financial stability of the institutions, specifically the private schools that included their employees regardless of their status.

The council claimed that the situation is made worst by the fact that schools are not allowed to expeditiously re-establish their normal operations even after the implementation of ECQ and GCQ as the new normal requires social distancing and other stringent health protocols.

On the other hand, the local legislative body stipulated that schools are now being required to do re-designing of their classrooms and learning centers based on established safety and health protocols aside from improving their Information Technology (IT) support for online learning which entails additional expenses on the part of the learning institutions.

The council said that many private schools in the city have not allegedly received assistance from concerned government agencies for various reasons, thus, the need for their workers to be included as part of the SWBS program of the SSS for them to cope with the prevailing difficult situation.

Under the SWBS original the government, through the SSS, shall provide a wage support between P5,000 to P8,000 per month for eligible employees that were enrolled by their employers.

By Dexter A. See

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