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No social security for 40% of labor in informal bloc

In Photo: A vendor in Manila feeds her baby on their makeshift home and store on the streets of Santa Cruz, Manila.

ALMOST half of the country’s vulnerable informal sector workers do not have social security coverage, according to a new study presented at the recently concluded 14th National Convention on Statistics (NCS).

The study, entitled “Uncovering the Social Security Coverage of Informal Sector Operators and Workers Using the Philippine Finance Survey,” said 40 percent of workers belonging to the sector are thus vulnerable to sudden changes in their employment status.

The study by Ian Miguel D. Landrito, Willa Boots J. Tolo and Christian D. Mina made use of the Consumer Finance Survey (CFS) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 2014.

The CFS covered 15,503 household and covered data on assets, liabilities and demographics.

For the purpose of the study, the researchers defined informal sector workers as those belonging to household unincorporated enterprises; own account workers, including unpaid family, as well as occasionally/seasonally hired workers; and employers owning business that may employ less than 10 employees. “Around 2 out of 5 informal workers [covered by the CFS] are not social security-covered,” the study said.

Most of those belonging to 60 percent, who do have social security protection at that time, are covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Very few of them have any retirement plan.  The bulk of these informal workers belong to the following sectors: agriculture, hunting and forestry; other service activities; and construction.

The study said the low social security coverage of informal sector workers could be addressed by providing them more information on health insurance and retirement products.

“Education level may increase the probability of an informal worker to be covered [with social protection],” the study said.  The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) held the 14th NCS earlier this month at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria to showcase data-intensive studies.

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