SSS gets new president as premium hike takes effect

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 1) — A new president and chief executive officer has been appointed to lead the Social Security System (SSS) as its members will start to pay higher contributions to the state pension fund.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed last Thursday Social Security Commission (SSC) chair Aurora Cruz Ignacio as president and CEO of SSS. Her appointment paper was released to the media on Monday.

Before heading the SSC, the governing body of the SSS, she was appointed as Assistant Secretary for Special Projects in the Office of the President and was designated as the focal person for anti-illegal drugs.

Her appointment comes as SSS members are set to pay higher premiums – from 11 percent to 12 percent.

That means that for an employee earning ₱10,000, ₱400 will be slashed from his or her pay check – an increase of ₱36.70 from the current ₱363.30. The employer, meanwhile, will now pay ₱800 instead of ₱736.70, an increase of ₱63.30 for its share.

The SSS said this one percentage point hike is "reasonable" as it will enable members to save more for retirement.

The minimum and maximum monthly salary credits will also be adjusted to ₱2,000 and ₱20,000 respectively.

Under the new scheme, the SSS said, an employee earning ₱20,000 monthly can enjoy a ₱600 sickness benefit per day, up from the current ₱480. That employee's monthly basic pension will also increase to ₱8,000 from ₱6,400.

Critics have said that the SSS should improve its collection first before implementing any contribution hike but the state pension fund said its collection capabilities have improved under the Duterte administration.

The Social Security Act of 2018, signed by Duterte in February, allowed the SSS to increase the monthly contribution of its members. It will further increase by one percent every other year until it reaches 15 percent in 2025.

Former SSS President and CEO Emmanuel Dooc resigned as his term ended due to the enactment of the law.