SC junks labor group’s plea, declares 2014 SSS premium pay hike valid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22)— The Supreme Court (SC) has declared valid the 0.6 percent increase in contributions imposed by the Social Security System (SSS) to its members back in 2014.

In a statement Monday, the high court said it denied labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno’s petition for certiorari and prohibition, which sought to annul the premium pay hike policy of the state pension fund.

The following issuances were declared valid, through the 37-page decision:

- Resolution providing for an increase in SSS’ members’ contribution rate to 11% and the maximum monthly salary credit from P15,000 to P16,000

- Resolution allowing the Social Security Commission to approve foregoing increases

- Circular providing for the revised schedule of contributions which took effect in January 2014.

Per the circular, both employer and employee shall shoulder the 0.6 percent increase in contributions.

The high court said that petitioners in the case “collaterally attacked” the validity of R.A. 8282 or the Social Security Act “by putting in issue not only the validity of the exercise of respondents SSS and SSC’s power under the said law but also the validity of the delegation of power to the SSC under the said law to fix the contribution rate by claiming the said delegation to be incomplete in all its terms and conditions.”

“To question the use of ‘actual calculations’ as [a] factor for fixing rates is to question the policy or wisdom of the legislature, which is a co-equal branch of the government,“ SC said in its statement.

In response to petitioners’ argument that the increase in contribution is in violation of Section 4(b) of the law (increases in benefits shall not require any increase in the rate of contribution), the court ruled ““that an examination of the provision and the assailed issuances reveals that the questioned increase in contribution rate was not solely for the increase in members’ benefits, but also to extend actuarial life….To disregard the actuarial soundness of the reserves would be to go against the policy of the law on maintaining a sustainable social security system.”

It added that the contribution rate increases “do not scream of unreasonableness or injustice.”