Dubai: Filipino expatriates in the UAE and around the world will soon be required to make regular contributions to the state-run pension fund.
Failure to do so may come with certain disincentives, after a new bill has been signed by the Philippine Senate on Monday.
The upper house approved a legislation that will effectively repeal the law on the country’s Social Security System (SSS) — and mandate compulsory pension coverage for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) under the age of 60.
SSS is a pension fund to which all private sector workers in the country contribute on a regular basis. Employers in the Philippines are also mandated to give their counterpart fund.
Among the benefits that members get is a monthly pension upon reaching the retirement age.
However, since the contributions for OFWs are not compulsory, a significant number of Filipinos who have moved abroad have defaulted on their SSS payments.
According to estimates, there are only about 500,000 OFWs who are covered by the SSS.
There are an estimated 10 million non-resident Filipinos, with many of them planning to return upon reaching retirement.
Social Security Act of 2018
The Senate approved on the third and final reading Senate Bill 1753, or the proposed “Social Security Act of 2018.”
The bill was authored and sponsored by Senator Richard Gordon, head of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Enterprises.
Gordon said the bill effectively repeals the SSS law or Republic Act 1161 and extends the power of the SSS to ensure the long-term viability of the said system.
With the newly approved bill, Gordon said the SSS coverage of both land-based and sea-based OFWs to the SSS will be compulsory, “provided that they are not over 60 years of age.”
The membership size for OFWs could also expand from 500,000 to 2.5 million.
“The bill is an enhancement of the previous laws. It ensures hope that the people would not be a burden to the country, that they are partners of the government not by way of exaction of taxes but by their contribution so that their welfare is assured,” said Gordon.
“The passage of the bill would expand, protect and increase the SSS fund so that when the time comes, there would be available pension for the people.”