There are good and bad employers as there are good and bad employees. Good employers pay the correct taxes and comply with government requirements. Bad employers do not. Among them are those who do not remit Social Security System (SSS) premiums promptly and regularly. The government, however, is not toothless. It always has effective means to run after uncaring and deviant employers.
A day before the Labor Day celebration, Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III urged the SSS to impose stricter penalties against delinquent employers to protect its members. He said that SSS should be more proactive in running after employers who fail to remit proper contributions.
Under the social security law, or Republic Act 8282, employers who fail to deduct and remit contributions from the salaries of their employees would be fined from P5,000 to P20,000 and jailed from six years and one day to 12 years.
Admittedly, contribution collection has been a huge challenge for the pension fund. But the Social Security Commission, temporarily chaired by SSS President and COO Emmanuel F. Dooc, the Coverage and Collection Committee chaired by Commissioner Gonzalo T. Duque, together with the energetic SSS management, have embraced this challenge and grabbed the bull by the horns, so to speak.
To date, SSS has three major activities under its program called Run After Contribution Evaders, or RACE. This is a campaign designed to instill awareness of employer obligation, exact employer compliance and facilitate apprehension and filling of cases against noncompliant and delinquent employers who violate the SS law.
One, posting of show-cause orders to employers who are guilty of nonremittance of SSS contributions of their employees and nonregistration for SSS coverage. The order is a stern reminder of their responsibilities under the SS law. If the delinquent employer fails to visit the SSS branch within 15 days from the time the show-cause order was posted, the appropriate case will be filed against him or her.
Two, causing the arrest of delinquent employers on the strength of a warrant of arrest from the trial courts. The SSS has partnered with the Philippine National Police for this activity. The media has always covered these SSS-PNP operations that give a strong message to the public that delinquent employers cannot evade their obligations under the law.
Three, issuance of a Warrant of Distraint, Levy and Garnishment (WDLG), which will authorize the seizure and acquisition of personal and real properties and garnishment of bank accounts of delinquent employers to pay for the unpaid SSS contributions, including interest and penalty. WDLG is seen as a faster way to collect from delinquent employers, since the rigors of filing a case in court becomes an alternative collection mechanism. Decisions on court cases usually take several years, allowing guilty employers to dispose their properties while the case for collection is pending.
The recent financial records of the SSS confirm the positive results of these collection interventions. Contribution collection has increased to P159.72 billion in 2017, from P144.36 billion in 2016. This is a huge jump from the P132.6 billion collection in 2015. On the average, members’ contribution collection has increased by about 10 percent over the past three years.
Sotto was right in saying that “Parang basketball ’yan, kung gusto mong manalo, huwag mong hintayin bumagsak ang bola sa iyo, sugurin mo.” The combination of these three mechanisms would, predictably, increase further the much-improved SSS collection. Needless to say, SSS will continue to run after the uncaring and the deviant employers.