MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law granting him the power to defer the increases in Social Security System (SSS) premium contributions this year.
Under Republic Act (RA) 11548 inked on Wednesday, the deferment of the SSS contribution hikes will take effect “for the duration of the state of calamity” due to the coronavirus disease 219 (Covid-19) pandemic.
RA 11548 amends RA 11199 or the Social Security Act which allows the Social Security Commission, the governing body of the SSS, to implement the contribution rate hike.
A one-percent contribution increase is imposed on SSS members every two years beginning 2019 until 2025, based on RA 11199.
Meaning, the SSS members’ contribution rate will increase to 13 percent beginning January 2021 from a contribution rate of 12 percent in 2020.
However, RA 11548 includes a new phrase that states that “the implementation of one-percent 2021 increase in contribution rates and the monthly salary credits provided in this section may be suspended by the President of the Philippines for the duration of the state of calamity under Proclamation No. 929.”
On March 16 last year, Duterte signed Proclamation 929 declaring a nationwide state of calamity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The entire Philippines is placed under a state of calamity for six months, “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant,” according to the proclamation.
“The other scheduled contribution rates and the monthly salary credits herein provided shall continue to be valid,” according to the newly-signed law.
“Provided, finally, that no changes in the implementing rules or administrative procedures shall be introduced by the Social Security Commission that will defer disbursement of benefits presently being enjoyed by its members,” RA 11548 read.
The new law, which was made public on Thursday, takes effect 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation. (PNA)