On SSS membership for casual and contractual workers

During the visit of top regional officials of the Social Security System to Catanduanes last week, it was disclosed that only two (2) among the 11 municipal local government units and the provincial government have mandated SSS membership for its Job Order (JO) and Contract of Service (COS) employees.

This was stressed by SSS Vice President for Luzon Bicol Division Elenita Samblero to Governor Joseph Cua when she and other agency officials visited the capitol.

She told the chief executive that the LGU is not required to put up its share like private businesses and instead its only responsibility is to automatically deduct the premiums from its casual and contractual workers and remit them to SSS.

And the contributions are at most equivalent to a day’s wage as minimum wage earners who are self-employed have to pay only P400 per month to enjoy SS benefits, Samblero added.

Gov. Cua said that the matter has already been discussed two months earlier but no progress had been made so far.

This led the SSS to suggest that its personnel conduct an information dissemination campaign among the hundreds of JO and COS workers at the capitol in batches prior to the signing of a memorandum of agreement on the LGU’s collection and remittance of contributions.

Being SSS members will give these workers, who often serve for limited periods depending on their usefulness and political affiliation, various benefits like sickness, maternity, disability, unemployment, and retirement, while their legal beneficiaries can avail themselves of the death and funeral benefits upon the member’s death.

They are also qualified to benefit from various SSS loan privileges such as salary, housing, educational, calamity, as well as pension loans for retiree-pensioners.

Unlike before, VP Samblero stated, self-employed members are already entitled to Employee Compensation pursuant to Republic Act 1199.

Hats off to the municipal officials of Virac and Viga for encouraging their JOs and contractual workers to become SSS members.

Perhaps, the provincial capitol would make good on its promise to do the same thing and for the other nine municipal LGUs to follow in its wake.

It would be too much to expect all of the few thousand temporary employees in these LGUs to register as SSS members.

After all, most of them, or perhaps half, serve for two months or so before they are replaced by other job seekers recommended by the appointing authority’s political allies.

These short-term employees may not continue paying their SS premiums once they are out of a job.

But there’s an even chance that the certainty of enjoying SSS membership benefits could actually inspire them to really become self-employed, without having to beg for unproductive employment from politicians.

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