Filtered By: Pinoyabroad
Pinoy Abroad

Bicam-approved bill to make SSS coverage compulsory for OFWs

A bill waiting for the ratification of the Senate and the House of Representatives and President Rodrigo Duterte's signature will make Social Security System (SSS) coverage compulsory for OFWs.

Under the proposed Social Security Act of 2018, SSS coverage will be compulsory for sea- and land-based OFWs as long as they are not 60 years old and above.

This, however, does not include Filipino permanent migrants, including Filipino immigrants, permanent residents and naturalized citizens, whose coverage will remain on a voluntary basis.

For sea-based OFWs, manning agencies, according to the bill, are "jointly and severally or solidarily liable with their principals with respect to the civil liabilities incurred for any violation of the SSS Law."

"Persons having direct control, management or direction of the manning agencies shall be held criminally liable for any act or omission penalized under the SSS Law," the bill said.

Sea-based OFWs, the bill added, are "considered in the same manner as regularly employed persons  (with employer-employee share)."

Meanwhile, the bill tasks the SSS, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment to ensure compulsory coverage of OFWs "through bilateral social security and labor agreements and other measures for enforcement."

The DFA and DOLE are also mandated to negotiate bilateral labor agreements with the OFWs' host countries to ensure that the employers of land-based OFWs pay the required SSS contributions.

"[T]hese land-based OFWs shall no longer be considered in the same manner as self-employed persons in this Act," the bill said.

"Instead, they shall be considered as compulsorily covered employees with employer and employee shares in contributions that shall be provided for in the bilateral labor agreements and their implementing administrative agreements."

The bill likewise said that in countries which already extend social security coverage to OFWs, the DFA through the Philippine embassies and the DOLE shall negotiate further agreements to serve the best interests of the OFWs.

Also under the bill, OFWs who contracts were terminated may continue to pay contributions on a voluntary basis to maintain their rights to full benefits.

The same bill also increases the monthly SSS contribution rates from 11 percent of one's salary to 12 percent in the next two years. —KBK, GMA News