SSS condonation program to benefit 155K employees

THE state-run Social Security System (SSS) on Wednesday said more than 155,000 employees of employers who availed of the on-going Contribution Penalty Condonation Program which will only run until September 1.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said P1.01 billion worth of penalties were waived as 16,460 employers availed themselves of the on-going condonation program.

“SSS started receiving applications as early as March this year. Over the three-month period, about 155,112 employees will benefit from their employer’s initiative to apply for the condonation program because these workers can finally maximize their benefits and privileges as SSS members,” said Ignacio.

The SSS Chief also said that P378.71 million worth of combined principal delinquency and interest were collected from the employers who have availed of the program since it started accepting applications last March 15.

Based on established collectibles, there are still more than 115,000 delinquent employers who may avail of this penalty condonation program for unpaid SSS premiums. Ignacio noted the Filipino mentality of availing a program during the deadline.

“While we are looking at 50 percent availment rate among delinquent employers, we will intensify our marketing efforts to achieve a higher availment.  We expect the number of employers who will avail of the program to increase by August when the deadline nears,” Ignacio said in a press conference held in Malacañang Palace today.

The highest number of availees under the contribution penalty condonation program came from Luzon at 6,023, followed by Visayas with 4,072 availees, Mindanao with 3,216 availees, and National Capital Region (NCR) with 2,945 availees. The Large Accounts Division, on the other, which handles employer accounts with 100 employees and above, recorded 204 availees for the program.

Ignacio said through the program, penalties were waived following their application and proposals to pay for their delinquencies either in full or installment basis.

Ignacio further stressed that the on-going contribution penalty condonation program also covers delinquent contributions of household employers.

“This program will not only benefit regular employees of delinquent employers because household employers are also qualified to avail of the program. For example, if their kasambahay has been with them since 1993 and they haven’t paid her contributions since then, they now have the chance to do the right thing and pay for the social security protection of their household employee without any penalties,” Ignacio added.

As of March 2019, household employers registered with SSS stood at 267,478.

“This is obviously a small number. Our household employers must register their househelpers with SSS and pay their monthly contributions,” Ignacio said.

Based on SSS Circular 2019-004, qualified employers under the contribution penalty condonation program are those who have not yet registered with SSS including household employers, those with pending or approved proposals under the existing Installment Payment Scheme Program, and those with pending or approved applications under the Program for Acceptance of Properties offered through dacion en pago.

Employers with pending cases before the Social Security Commission, Courts or Office of the Prosecutor involving the collection of contributions and penalties, including those against whom judgment has been rendered either by the SSC or the regular courts but have not complied with the judgment can also apply for the penalty condonation program.

In addition, applicants who settled all contribution before the effectivity of R.A. 11199 but with unpaid or partially paid penalties for late or non-remittance as well as those against whom a Warrant of Distraint/Levy/Garnishment (WDLG) or encumbrance has been issued are also qualified to avail of the special condonation program for delinquent employers.

To apply for the Contribution Penalty Condonation Program, an employer may avail of the program thru the remittance of the full amount of delinquent contributions through any SSS branch or office with a tellering facility or authorized collection agent of the SSS and thru a submission of a proposal within the period of the program to pay the delinquent contributions in installment to any SSS branch/office or Large Accounts Department having functional jurisdiction over its place of business or household.

Upon submission of the proposal, it is also indicated in the guidelines that employers who chose the installment payment scheme should remit a downpayment equivalent to at least five percent of its total contribution delinquency.

The employer is also required to submit a promissory note committing to pay the balance of the delinquency in equal monthly installments within a period not exceeding 48 months, wherein the first monthly installment shall fall due within 30 days after the approval date of the proposal.

“Employers should be persistent in paying their obligations under this program. Failure to remit their contribution delinquency would lead to the termination of the installment payment proposal while the penalties will be reimposed from the time the contributions first became due, and will continue to accumulate until the entire delinquency is fully paid,” Ignacio concluded.

“We are strongly urging all delinquent employers to take this opportunity to settle the unpaid contributions of their employees.  When the program ends on September 1, we have no choice but to collect penalties on unpaid contributions,” Ignacio stressed.