FORMER plantilla casuals who were downgraded into job order status by the Bacolod City Government are exempted from the compulsory coverage of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

This was the response of Mary Jane T. Javier, GSIS regional general manager, to the queries of Councilor Elmer Sy, chair of the City Council Committee on Human Resource Development, relative to the status of GSIS coverage of the concerned employees.

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Javier clarified that job order employees fall under the category of contractual employees who are not receiving fixed monthly compensation and are therefore excluded from compulsory coverage.

These employees are not required to pay for GSIS contributions now but if they will be reinstated to plantilla casual status next year, do they have to start paying GSIS all over again, Sy further inquired.

Javier said that due to the change in their employment status, they will cease to be covered by the system and they will be paid the corresponding cash surrender value (CSV) of their policy.

They can also file for Separation of Benefit based on the following conditions:

Those members who are separated from the service who have worked for at least three years of service but less than 15 years shall be entitled to cash payment equivalent to 100 percent of the member's AMC for each year if creditable service but payable upon reaching the age of 60 or upon separation if he/she is already 60 years at time of separation.

For members who have incurred at least 15 years of creditable service, a cash payment equivalent to 18 times the basic monthly pension if member is below 60 years of age, plus an old age pension benefit equal to the basic monthly pension payable monthly for life upon reaching the age of 60.

If they are reinstated as permanent or casual employees they will be again be considered as active members and therefore will be required to pay the corresponding premiums.

The City Government of Bacolod has downgraded at least 98 percent of its plantilla casuals to job order status basis due to lack of funds.

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia cited the suspension of the implementation of the city's Revised Revenue Code as the basis for lack of funds which compelled the city to downgrade the status of the affected employees.

Out of the almost 1,000 employees, only 19 plantilla casuals were retained while the rest were downgraded to job order status.