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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Law lacks provisions on unemployment insurance -- SSS

The Social Security law lacked provisions for unemployment benefits and contributions of workers were intended mainly to cover maternity, sickness, disability, retirement, death and funeral benefits, a top official said.

Social Security System (SSS) President and Chief Executive Officer Romulo Neri said a proposal to provide unemployment insurance to workers would require amending the Social Security Act of 1997.

“The contributions SSS collects at present only covers maternity, sickness, disability, retirement, death and funeral benefits of members and their beneficiaries, as provided by law,” he said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto has proposed that SSS allot a total of P6 billion as temporary unemployment insurance for up to 200,000 workers, who lost their jobs as a result of the global economic crisis.

Laid off SSS members with contribution payments for at least two years would receive a monthly allowance of P5,000 or P10,000 for six months, Recto said, adding that the SSS board must look into implementing a program on unemployment insurance.

But Neri said the government must specify how unemployment benefits of members would be funded.

“This may be from government subsidies, like what developed countries do to support their unemployed workers, or by increasing contribution payments of members to cover the additional benefit,” Neri said.

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