By Rey Anthony Chiu | 09:28 AM March 30, 2023

Contributions of about 30 employees totaling a million pesos in potential Social Security System (SSS) in benefits could have been a great help for their families who are recovering from the pandemic, but employers from 7 establishments in Tubigon and Calape failed to remit or report these, causing a visit by SSS leaders here.

No less than SSS Vice President for the Visayas Atty Alberto Montalbo with its Legal Department head Atty Mary Ann Chaves, SSS Bohol Field Office head Engr Alieta Basubas and other key SSS officials swooped upon these establishments, as the agency’s rebranded the Run After Contribution Evaders becomes Relief Afforded to Challenged Employers (RACE) campaign.

The SSS has changed its image, from a tough “padlocking authority” for establishments with delinquencies in their employer-employee shares of the contributions, to a more humane agency handling out easy-pay schemes for erring employers, or serving the last recourse.

“What we usually implemented as Run After Contribution Evaders, is now the rebranded RACE,” explained Atty Montalbo during a mini-press conference at the SSS Bohol after the visit to the erring and delinquent establishments, to bring to them re-settlement programs instead of the shame campaign the agency conducted in the past.

In Tubigon, the SSS RACE Team visited and offered ways to fix their deficiencies to two private educational institutions and a cellphone repair shop while in Calape, the RACE team talked to owners and administrators of a water refilling station, a gasoline station, a medical diagnostic center and a construction company who failed to register their employees and put in the funds for their benefits.

The RACE operation, the first for 2023 in Bohol, is an annual program of the SSS to engage employers to register and pay for their share as well as of the employees, as mandated by law, to allow workers a list of benefits they can avail during their hard times.

What we had today is a RACE operation, but this year, we are rebranding it, we are renaming it, we are now giving employers some relief from the pandemic like condonation programs so they can pay for their contribution deficiency.

Under Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, SSS coverage is mandatory for the employers, employees, self-employed, and OFW members, so they are required to pay the contribution.

The SSS Law also mandates employers to deduct monthly contributions from their employees’ salary and remit them along with their share of contribution to the SSS.

With the notice of violations earlier sent out, the SSS through Atty. Montalbo issued out a 15-day ultimatum for these visited establishments to fix their deficiencies, talk to the SSS and pick out a condonation package for an easy-payment terms for their obligations.

The SSS has done RACE campaigns in Tagbilaran City, Panglao and Dauis last year, and according to SSS legal Department head Atty. Mary Ann Chavez, generally, the employers implicated in the suits opt to amicably settle than proceed with the litigation.

She added that right after the SSS Race team visit, employers usually go to the SSS and settle, without waiting for the 15-days when the ultimatum ends.

Both SSS officials said that the issues of the deficiencies of employers in Bohol, however is not as pronounced as with those in other areas in the Central Visayas.

All over Bohol, we listed about 275-300 employers with SSS contribution deficiency, which is very minimal, compared to other cities and provinces in the region.

But Atty Montalbo also noted that in the past years, SSS has seen a steady increase in the number of new employers, which could also be the reason they are not captured in the system as delinquents as they may not have registered with the SSS yet.

We are also into them, looking at these business establishment owners so they will register their businesses with the SSS, report their new workers and pay for their contributions, Atty Montalbo said. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

RAISING WORKERS BENEFITS. The SSS in their rebranded RACE or Relief Afforded to Challenged Employers (RACE) is now in Bohol again to stir employer who have failed to register and pay for their employees SSS contributions, which becomes a resource pool for the government to draw employees benefits. Here, SSS VP for the Visayas Atty Alberto Montalbo explains to a gas station attendant about the establishment’s deficiency in contributions, so they can settle and assure their workers’ benefits.

By Bohol Island News

Your reliable source of news and content in the island and the rest of Central Visayas and Mindanao.

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