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SSS softens approach vs. delinquents

INSTEAD of going after delinquent employers, the Social Security System (SSS) has changed its approach to encourage them to seek assistance from their respective SSS offices on how to fulfill their obligations.

This, after the SSS noticed a significant number of employers, particularly in Cebu and Bohol, have yet to register their businesses under SSS in 2023.

In a press conference on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, Alberto Montalbo, head of SSS Visayas Central 1 Division, discussed the rebranding of their “Race” campaign.

Previously defined as “Run Against Contribution Evaders,” Race now stands for “Relief Afforded to Challenge Employers.”

Montalbo said the campaign rebranding that began in 2022 and will be further strengthened in 2024, has produced more positive results than the previous Race campaign.

He said the campaign aims to encourage more investors to venture, especially in Cebu, and to alleviate their fear towards SSS.

Installment

Montalbo said the SSS is planning to allow employers to pay their unpaid contributions through installments.

This will enable employers to pay at least five percent of their total computed delinquency as downpayment.

The duration of the installment payment will be assessed based on the employer’s total amount of delinquency and penalties.

The new payment scheme could last up to 24 months or two years.

Employers are advised to prioritize remitting SSS contributions for employees who highly need SSS benefits while availing of installment payments.

Delinquents

Unesco Pacarro Jr., head of the SSS legal department, reported during the press conference that around 193 employers were targeted by the Race campaign in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol in 2023.

Of this number, 65 were discovered to have failed to register their businesses under SSS, 40 fully paid their delinquencies, 10 chose to partially pay their unpaid contributions, and five were found to have closed their companies.

As a result of the Race campaign, an estimated P36 million worth of unpaid contributions or delinquencies from employers were recorded.

Montalbo said as of March, the SSS already collected P30 million of the P36 million unpaid contributions from employers.

Criminal cases for violation of Republic Act 1161, or the SSS Law, were also filed against nine out of the 193 employers; while the rest of the employers availed of installment, restructuring, and condonation programs offered by SSS to settle their contribution disputes.

Employers who violate the SSS law may be fined up to P500,000 or face a minimum of six months imprisonment, or both, depending on the court’s decision.

The law requires employers to register their business under SSS, report their employees from the first day of their employment, and pay their contribution a month after employment.

Race 2024

From January to March 2024, 56 employers were subjected to Race operations in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay.

The operations recorded roughly P9.6 million in delinquencies and also identified non-SSS registered companies.

On Wednesday, a simultaneous Race operation was conducted across five SSS branches in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Talisay and the Cebu-North Reclamation Area.

The operation found that a computer supplier company based in Mandaue was the most delinquent with 17 employees, surpassing P1 million in SSS delinquencies since 2019.

The SSS ended the press conference by reminding employers to prioritize their employees’ future by providing them with SSS benefits.

The SSS said this would be advantageous to the company in the long run, as it would encourage employees to stay and perform their best for the company. / HIC

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