kasambahay billThe Social Security Sytem (SSS) welcomed the signing into law by President Benigno Aquino III last January 18 of Republic Act No. 10361, “An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers”, or more popularly known as the Kasambahay Law. SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros, Jr. said that the Law, which took over 17 years in the making, furthered strengthened SSS’ long-standing mandate to provide social protection to household workers, which include maids, family drivers, nursemaids or yaya, gardeners, cooks, or laundry women.

“As early as September 1, 1993, the SSS had already made the registration and coverage of househelpers mandatory,” de Quiros explained. “We have made significant strides in fulfilling that mandate, but this new Kasambahay Law has more ‘teeth’ in terms of enforcing compliance and punishing non-compliance. More importantly, househelpers are given wider social protection through their mandatory membership and contributions in Philhealth, and Pag-IBIG, aside from SSS.”

Under current SSS guidelines, household employers must register their househelpers and remit to SSS their monthly contributions, the amount of which is shared between the employer and the househelper. The rate of contribution is 10.4 percent of the gross income, with the employer paying 7.07 percent and the employee paying 3.33 percent of the total 10.4 percent. Under the Kasambahay Law, househelpers earning P5,000 or less per month are exempted from being deducted for their share in social security contributions, which the household employer must bear alone.

“In terms of penalty, non-compliance to the provisions of the Kasamabahay Law carries a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P40,000. This is significantly higher than the current penalty imposed by SSS of not less than P5,000 and not more than P20,000. So, hopefully, household employers will be further deterred from not obeying the law,” de Quiros said.

Household helpers are required to secure an SS number before they can be reported for coverage under the SSS by filling out Personal Record (SS Form E-1) and submitting it to the SSS together with the original/certified true copy and photocopy of their birth certificate, baptismal certificate, driver’s license or passport. In their absence, secondary documents like voter’s ID, school ID, police clearance and other ID’s may also be submitted.

The SSS shall issue Employer (ER) Numbers to all new or first time household employers upon submission of properly accomplished ER Registration (SS Form R-1) and Employment Report (SS Form R-1A), which shall contain the SS numbers and names of their househelpers. Meanwhile, household helpers who are using their SSS numbers to pay for the contributions of their househelpers shall be allowed to do so until they are provided their respective ER numbers.

The SSS has partnered with different banks and institutions to accept payments from employers. ER payments may also be made thru Automatic Debit Arrangement (ADA) with accredited banks or over-the-counter at Bayad Center outlets and SM Business Centers.

As of December 2012, the SSS has 95,860 Househelpers in its membership rolls. As of October 2012, contributions made by Househelpers and their employers reached around P189 Million, or 0.2 percent of total SSS collections then of P78.5 Billion.

The SSS is set to release soon new guidelines to incorporate the provisions of the Kasambahay Law.