THE government has finally started on Tuesday the payouts for the second tranche of Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS), a pushback from its original schedule of May 16 to 31.
But Finance Assistant Secretary and spokesman Tony Lambino told the BusinessMirror they have also moved the payment deadline to June 15 for the second tranche as they needed to make sure that there would be no duplication in payouts given that some beneficiaries under the SBWS program are also listed under the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“On May 26, payouts for the second tranche of SBWS has started. DBP [Development Bank of the Philippines] has submitted the records of 249,000 employee-beneficiaries to the banks through PESONet and PayMaya for crediting in nominated accounts, and MLhuillier for cash pickup,” he said.
Lambino explained that they needed to match the SBWS and DOLE CAMP lists because SBWS beneficiaries who are also CAMP beneficiaries will receive P5,000 less for the second tranche in the interest of fairness among beneficiaries of both programs.
“Through amendments to Joint Memorandum Circular 001-2020 on the SBWS, the payout deadline was adjusted to June 15 for the second tranche, considering the CAMP data ‘deduplication’ process, and the correction of eligible employee payout details by employers,” he said.
For the first tranche of SBWS, Lambino said the payment deadline is on May 31.
According to the Joint Memorandum Circular 002-2020, which reflected the amendments to the previous circular that stipulated the guidelines on the availment of SBWS, the first tranche of SBWS was supposed to be paid out from April 29 to May 15, while the second tranche shall be paid out from May 16 to May 31.
However, the amended circular signed on May 17 by heads of Department of Finance, Social Security System (SSS) and Bureau of Internal Revenue, stated that “the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the SBWS Program Task Force, and under highly justifiable circumstances as may be necessary to achieve the purpose of the SBWS program, may extend the payout periods.”
Based on the latest data from the SSS, he said, the government has released P21.8 billion for around 2.85 million beneficiaries from the first tranche of SBWS as of May 24.
“The DBP, our payout partner for the program, has submitted the records of 3.05 million employee-beneficiaries to the banks via PESONet and PayMaya for crediting to the employees’ accounts, and MLhuillier for cash remittance. Typically, a portion of subsidies to be credited through bank accounts is returned to SSS for correction of account numbers by the applicants. The 2.85 million beneficiaries are those who have their SBWS ready for withdrawal, or pick up, as confirmed by the partner banks, PayMaya and MLhuillier,” he said.
While matching was being done, Lambino said, employers are allowed to revise the incorrect/invalid payout details of their employees to minimize failed transfers for the second tranche.
“As of May 26, account details of 35,000 beneficiary-employees have been corrected by their employers for the first tranche. These will be re-processed for payout through PESONet partner banks, PayMaya and MLhuillier. Of these, the SBWS for 10,000 beneficiaries are available for cash pick-up at MLhuillier,” he said.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the government rolled out the SBWS program to provide around 3.4 million workers in the formal sector with salary subsidies amounting to a combined P51 billion for two months.
The wage subsidies range from P5,000 to P8,000 per month per employee for two months, depending on the minimum wage levels in the regions where the workers are employed.