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SSS retirees not entitled to ‘retirement bonus’?

02:53 AM November 23, 2016

Government retirees get their pensions—and these are substantial—mainly from the national budget, and only a portion from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

For example, a retired justice department official gets a monthly pension of P120,000. Only P18,000 of this comes from GSIS; the balance is retirement bonus taken from the national budget. If incumbent officials get a salary hike, he gets a corresponding increase. When he dies, his survivor gets the pension benefits.

Another GSIS pensioner receives monthly P130,000, only P20,000 of which comes from GSIS. A retired Court of Appeals justice gets about P140,000, pegged to incumbent Court of Appeals justices’ pay; again, the bulk of this comes from tax payments. Retired Supreme Court justices get much bigger retirement bonuses from “savings” that ordinarily should be plowed back to the national treasury.

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Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas retirees receive 90 percent of their regular pay; a big part of this amount comes from “income” that should have been paid to the national treasury as “dividends.” Government-owned and -controlled corporations are also similarly generous with retirement bonuses from their “incomes.” Indeed, many government agencies pay substantial monthly retirement bonuses to their retirees, from the national budget allotment.

The current administration reportedly is allocating P80 billion to arrest the ballooning military pension—an amount higher than the budget for the salaries of the present military force; GSIS is, of course, not complaining, it’s coming from the 2017 national budget.

On the other hand, private sector retirees get nothing from the national budget, just from the Social Security System (SSS). A big percentage of these retirees only receive P2,000 to P5,000 a month.

The irony is, the national budget is funded with taxes that mainly come from the private sector.

As a gesture of sincere support for the SSS members, with priority to those receiving P5,000 a month or less, an increase in their monthly pension by P2,000 should be granted: (1) by including in the national budget an allotment for SSS pensions (corresponding to the retirement bonuses being paid to government employees); (2) by amending the SSS law to increase the contribution of SSS members.

Government employees’ GSIS “contribution” is 21 percent—9 percent of their monthly salary, without a ceiling; and 12 percent from government. SSS members’ contribution is only 11 percent—3.63 percent of their salary (subject to a ceiling of P15,000), 7.36 percent from their employers.

SSS members’ contribution should be raised to 9 percent of their income, without any ceiling; and government should add 4.64 percent so that, together with the employers’ share, it would add up to 21 percent. Some employers may be in a position to increase their share, but most may not be.

The idea is: Private sector retirees should get benefits that approximate those of the public sector retirees.

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The rationale is: Since the public sector employees get substantial retirement bonuses funded with public money, which mainly comes from the private sector, government should all the more help the private sector employees.

It is unfair that the “dependents” (government employees) would be getting far better retirement benefits than their “sponsors” (private sector employees). This is not to suggest that the GSIS retirees’ benefits should be reduced and those of SSS retirees be raised.

RENE TORRES, Makati City

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TAGS: bangko sentral ng pilipinas, GSIS, monthly pension, retirement, Retirement Bonus, Social Security System, SSS
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